A few days ago I posted some tips on helping prevent snowboarding injuries. Since then, I’ve gotten more than a few requests for similar tips for downhill skiing. My patients have many questions that range from the proper way to fall to the best way to hold your poles.
Since skiing accidents are a common cause of skier’s thumb – an injury of the soft tissue or ligament that connects the bones of your thumb together – I thought posting the tips below would be helpful for those of you looking to hit the slopes this season:
1. The best way to prevent a fall – and an injury – is to know your limits and choose only the slopes that are at a level appropriate for your ability.
2. If you feel that you’re going to fall, make sure to release your ski poles as soon as possible. Then, fall on your uphill side with your hands slightly in front of you and above your knees. Don’t fall back on your hands or on your side on your hands. In case you feel a fall coming on, keep in mind that of primary importance is to protect the head – this takes priority over the suggestions above.
3. Use ski poles with a simple finger-groove grip for quick release. If you choose to wear wrist straps, make sure they remain loose so you have the ability to drop the ski poles quickly in case of a fall.
4. Symptoms of skier’s thumb can occur minutes after the fall that caused the injury and often include pain at the base of the thumb, swelling of the thumb or an inability to grasp between your thumb and index finger. If you experience any of these symptoms after a fall, you should contact a doctor.
I hope that these tips will help you and your family have a healthy and happy winter season and please feel free to contact my office if you have any other questions regarding winter safety.