How to keep safe while skiing
As skiing holidays are in full-swing and some of you are planning to take a family holiday during the upcoming February half-term break, I wanted to look at how to stay safe while skiing.
As with any sport, there is a risk of injury. After the introduction of releasable bindings 30 years ago, the rate of leg fractures dropped by 90%. However, knee sprains such as anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) and medial collateral ligaments (MCL) are on the rise, accounting for 30% of all knee injuries.
There are several simple things to keep in mind if you want to reduce the risk of injury, and a few things to know if you do get hurt.
Before going skiing:
3-4 weeks prior to your holiday, prepare your body by strengthening your core (planks) and your leg muscles (squats), starting 3-4 weeks before the holidays. This will allow you to keep skiing for longer without getting tired. Heartcore in St John’s Wood offers Barre 55, Strength + Conditioning and Dynamic Pilates are great classes for this purpose.
If you already have knee problems, consider seeing a physiotherapist to strengthen your muscles around the knee for better support.
At the start of your skiing holiday:
Most of the injuries happen early on a trip when skiers overestimate their ability (after a year of not-skiing) or towards the end of the day as they are getting tired.
End of the day may also bring more collisions as people have a drink or two with lunch.
With this in mind here is your checklist:
1) Do a little warm up before skiing in the morning – even few squats are better than nothing. A warm up can increase your body elasticity by 20% and get your synovial fluid going in the joints.
2) Check yours and your family’s equipment: helmets, skis (make sure they are adjusted to your weight), boots (fit in well), etc.
3) Don’t be shy to take a lesson on your first day to refresh your technique.
4) Start at the easier slopes and build up gradually.
5) Ski with a buddy (especially if visibility is not perfect).
6) if you are a beginner or an intermediate skier, stay on the marked territory and don’t go off-piste.
7) If you have older children who are going to ski with friends but they do not have well developed technique, insist on having a skilled adult with the group. Children (especially boys) are likely to take higher risks in a group of friends or feel pressure to do something reckless.
8) Take a break if tired.
9) Avoid alcohol before you finish skiing for the day.
After skiing – if you did have an injury
Nobody puts it better then Mr Luke Jones , orthopaedic knee surgeon who works both for NHS at Chelsea & Westminster hospital as well as privately at Grosvenor Orthopaedic Partners, the Lister Hospital, Chelsea Bridge Road. Watch the video interview below, explaining what to do if you have injured yourself on the slopes.
Finding the right surgeon and physio therapist if you have any trauma, can make a huge difference in the recovery.
I am going to share with you London’s best kept medical secret Grosvenor Orthopaedic Partners – literally nothing will come up if you google it! Call 020 3926 5615 to make an appointment. This is a great place if you need surgery (usually with ACL tears) as you will have the same team following you throughout starting with the surgery (Mr Luke Jones for the knees or Mr Tim Sinnett for Foot and Ankle), followed up by the practice’s physio therapist using all latest technology (including zero-gravity treadmills).
If you do not need surgery and are looking for physio, check Isokinetic London and book a consultation with Dr Phil Batty. The physio centre has multi-depth aquatherapy room and a proven approach to developing programmes catered to your specific objectives.
I hope you feel more prepared for your skiing holiday. As I am off skiing myself in a few weeks, you may see me in the Barre 55 and Pilates classes in St John’s Wood!
[LJ1]Consultant surgeons in the UK are know as Mr, not Dr