A skiing holiday can be a fantastic experience, one that even the least-sporty person can enjoy. Despite how it may look to someone who has never skied before, it is actually a relatively easy sport to pick up. But it is also a fast-paced sport, one that involves sliding downhill over snow that could be concealing rocks, ice, or ditches. Even as a non-contact sport, serious injuries can happen suddenly. In this blog, we’re going to look at what some of the most common injuries are, and how they occur.
Whether you’re an experienced or a first-time skier, it’s easy to slip and fall as you make your way down a mountain. While a lot of the time the snow will cushion your fall and you will be able to resume immediately, you could just as easily strike a tree or rock if you lose control.
If a person has been concussed, they will appear drowsy, confused, unable to stand, and may vomit. If a person has injured their head and displays any of these signs, it is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Most concussions will be treated with fluids, painkillers, and bed rest, though the more serious cases may require surgery.
Another common result of a fall when skiing is a dislocated shoulder. There are two main reasons this happens. The first is that the skier outstretches their arms when falling. Although this is an instinctive response, it puts you at serious risk of injury, as you are pushing you arm against all the downward force of your fall. The other reason is that the skier’s pole gets stuck or wrapped up in their body when they fall, and force the arm into a bad position.
A dislocated shoulder will swell up, feel loose, and give off a dull pain. It may be a painful experience, and could take you out of action for the rest of the holiday, but most dislocated shoulders can be treated by popping them back in place and wearing a sling.
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is at the front of your knee in the middle, and prevents the knee from extending or twisting too far. It can rupture if your ski snags, forcing your knee to twist too far. If this occurs, it will feel and sound somewhat like cracking your knuckles, and will feel quite painful. If the ACL does rupture, the knee and leg will feel quite weak, and will swell up significantly, which may last for weeks.
A similar injury can occur with the Medial Collateral Ligament, also located in the knee. While this will also involve swelling and may appear similar to an ACL rupture, someone with an MCL injury can still place weight on their leg, which would not be possible with an ACL rupture.
Skier’s thumb occurs when a skier falls while holding their pole, which can force the thumb back very suddenly. This can tear the Ulnar Collateral Ligament at the base on the thumb. While a partial tear may only feel tender and can heal on its own, a full tear is more painful and may require physiotherapy to regain full movement.