This year’s abundant snow may be a boon to Northern California. However, that high snowpack also increases the number of patients we see with snowboarding and skiing injuries. Knees, backs, hips and necks often suffer from miscalculations and simple physics. If you’re heading up for a spring break on the slopes, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Avoiding Snowboarding and Skiing Injuries
Snowboarding and skiing are serious sports with injury risks. That’s why you can’t expect your body to perform like a pro if you’ve spent the past few months binge-watching Netflix. Being in good cardio shape counts. But, you must also consider the condition of your musculoskeletal system. A consistent routine of stretching and core training – including those important squats and lunges –prepares your body for twisting and stabilizing in ways not experienced on a treadmill or in spin class.
Your movement after winter sports becomes just as important. Many maximize their vacation time by heading straight from the slopes to the car for the return drive. Keeping your body in an immobile, seated position for hours after exercising increases discomfort and muscle stiffness. This holds especially true for your paraspinal lumbar muscles and your hip flexors including your psoas. Plan your return trip with enough time to break up the ride and stretch those muscles on the journey home. Typically, normal overexertion soreness should improve significantly within two days. Any time longer than that may indicated a more complex problem.
When Gravity Happens – What If You Wipe Out?
Let’s think about most falls in snow sports. Skiers have a tendency to wipe out by falling forward or on their side. Snowboarders tend to fall backward. The results necessitate that your body, and particularly your spine, absorb an unusual amount of shock.
Your first priority should always be identifying any signs of head trauma. Using a helmet helps minimize concussions. However, if you have even the slightest concern about a blow to the head, seek immediate medical attention. In other situations, absorbing the energy from a fall can cause vertebrae to become misaligned and soft tissues strained. This causes both immediate discomfort, as well as continuing issues from shifting your body to avoid pain. Many realize right away that they sustained an injury and seek help. However, if you’re assessing whether or not an injury is significant enough to seek care for two weeks, the answer is yes.
Snowboarding and skiing injuries place a damper on your holiday, but also day-to-day movement upon your return. Contact us and schedule an exam to see if you left your vacation with more than just a great snow selfie.