5 Most Common Skiing Injuries
What are the most common skiing injuries?
- Head Injuries
- ACL Tears
- Wrist Fractures
- Back Injuries
- Shoulder Injuries
1. Head Injuries
It is inevitable that any type of skier, whether they are a beginner or an expert, will eventually accidentally go too fast and lose control. Although most skiers wear helmets to protect their heads, head injuries are still very common due to the abundance of trees, rocks, and hard-packed snow.
In North America, head injuries account for 20% of all skiing and snowboarding related accidents. Of all those head injuries, 22% are severe enough to cause either loss of consciousness or clinical signs of a concussion. Head injuries need to be looked at by a doctor, as some may lead to long-term brain injury or even death.
2. ACL Tears
Since skiing involves entire body movement at fast speeds, it is not surprising that ACL tears are common. When skiers are flying down the mountain on steep terrain and try to make a sudden stop, the ACL in the knee may tear. When tearing an ACL, individuals will usually hear a popping sound and immediately notice pretty large swelling.
An ACL injury may take anywhere from six to nine months until your knee is fully recovered. Some athletes may need surgery to repair the injury, and others may not. If people don’t usually exercise or aren’t considered active, physical therapy may be a better option.
3. Wrist Fractures
Although wrist fractures are more common for snowboarders, they can also happen to skiers after high impact falls or collisions. To avoid wrist fractures, it is important for skiers to know how to fall when they are losing control. The symptoms of a wrist fracture include pain and swelling in the wrist, and it is recommended that anyone with these symptoms should get it looked at by a doctor.
Beginner skiers typically are the ones suffering from wrist injuries because it is instinct for a skier to catch themselves with their hands while falling. Wrist fractures usually require a splint or cast in order for the fracture to heal.
4. Back Injuries
Similar to head injuries, back injuries can be extremely dangerous and even deadly. The typical back injury happens when a skier loses control at fast speeds, causing high traumatic force on the spine. Back injuries typically happen when skiers crash into other skiers, chairlift polls, or a tree.
Spinal injuries that become really serious can result in paralysis, which is a loss of strength and control of a muscle or muscle group in the body. The symptoms of a back injury include loss of function in limbs, pain in the back or neck, or loss of feeling in the body. If any skier believes they hurt their back, they should get it examined by a doctor before continuing to ski.
5. Shoulder Injuries
Shoulder injuries can also be very common for skiers who get involved in accidents. When the bone in the shoulder is either forced out of place or is fractured, shoulder injuries can be very painful. The most common shoulder injury is a bone fracture, which happens when a skier falls on their outstretched hand in an awkward way. Other bone fractures include joint dislocations, shoulder dislocations, and soft tissue injuries.
It is estimated that shoulder injuries account for around 11% of all skiing injuries. If someone hurts their shoulder, the two ways to repair it can either be reconstructive surgery or in less serious cases, physical therapy.