Skiing is brilliant…
Up onto the mountain and then gliding pleasurably over the sunlit slopes. Skiing is the pure enjoyment of nature. Almost every tenth German looks forward to the skiing season every year (Source: Sports University of Cologne and the Safety in Ski Sport Foundation of the German Skiing Association [Deutscher Skiverband, DSV]). On the first day of skiing, many people are concerned about making it through the coming season without injury: Am I fit enough? Have I prepared enough for the skiing season? In order to prevent injury, you should make provisions during the summer months and consider a few points.
According to the DSV, fewer and fewer accidents are occurring on the piste. This is mainly due to continuous technical development, improved protective equipment and piste preparation. Nevertheless: Avoid dangerous situations and get your body into shape in good time for the physical challenges of skiing.
Skiing is good for body and soul
A study at the University of Salzburg in Austria has shown that skiing has a positive psychological and physical effect on people’s health, particularly in skiers over 60 years of age: improved cardiovascular capacity, better balance and increased social competence. In addition, skiing promotes muscle development in the legs and is good for fat breakdown. About 350 calories per hour are burnt during skiing and up to twice as many by the serious athletic skier.
The correct skiing gear
A complete ski equipment includes not just the skis, but also sun protection for the skin, ski trousers and jacket, hat, gloves, ski goggles or sunglasses, two poles, boots and the ski binding. The latter must be individually adjusted according to height and weight. If it is too loose, it can open while skiing fast round a curve, leading to a fall. Use the service offered by sports shops and have your skis waxed and, if necessary, the edges sharpened.
Last but not least: Buy a helmet. It protects not only from head injuries, but also from cold, sun and rain.
Caution – risk of injury!
“Break a leg!” – This well-intentioned wish becomes reality for about 43,000 skiers every year. The most commonly injured body areas are the head, knee, shoulder, thigh bone and the ligaments of the leg and hand. If your hand accidentally catches in the ski pole strap when you fall, this can lead to a torn ligament in the thumb, so-called “skier’s thumb”. Other frequent occurrences are torn cruciate ligaments and meniscal injuries in the knee. These usually occur through a sudden rotational movement of the body with the foot stationary and the knee joint bent. Falls also often lead to head injuries, a broken leg or a dislocated shoulder.
A defensive attitude on the piste and strong, warmed up muscles protect against all types of falls and injuries. Start with ski gymnastics during the summer months, warm up carefully before the first run and don’t forget to stretch. The muscles don’t just need to be strong, they also have to be able to absorb sudden forces. In order to stabilise your knees and wrists, wear protectors or supports. Wear a helmet to protect against head injury and avoid drinking the popular àpres-ski drink, Jagertee (black tea laced with rum), while still on the piste. Alcohol increases the risk of injury.
How can ski injuries be treated?
Following joint injuries, you should stop your activity immediately. Find a doctor. He/she will recommend the appropriate therapy, such as wearing an orthosis.
An orthosis, for example the Stabimed from medi, is an adjustable splint that prevents the joint from bending beyond a certain angle. Depending on the severity of the injury, the knee orthosis should be worn for about six weeks. Following a torn cruciate ligament, the leg is immobilised immediately after the operation with a medi Classic or medi Jeans, so that the swelling can heal. During further therapy, the patient can be fitted with a knee orthosis, e.g. the M.4s comfort. The M.4s comfort guides and stabilises the unstable knee during the rehabilitation phase. The 4-point stabilisation principle prevents the tibia (shin bone) from pushing forwards.
If the joints are painful during skiing, a knee support such as the Genumedi can help. It can be used in cases of mild instability, joint effusion and swelling. Thanks to its silicone dot coating, the support adheres well to the leg; the open border enclosing the patella allows a comfortable reduction in pressure.
A dislocated shoulder needs to be reduced by a doctor – and this as quickly as possible. Afterwards, the shoulder is usually immobilised for 8 to 10 days using elastic supports, splints, arm slings or a plaster cast. The shoulder immobilisation orthosis medi Arm fix and the shoulder support Omomed from medi make it particularly easy for the patient, as they can be donned without any outside assistance.
Following a torn ligament in the thumb, the Rhizomed orthosis can provide relief both before and after surgery. The skier’s thumb is rested until it has completely healed and the tendons and ligaments can recover without pain. Nowadays, modern orthoses can also be used instead of a plaster cast following bone fractures. Orthoses are easier to handle and are more comfortable to wear: They offer the best prerequisites to let you recover quickly and get back on the piste.
Help after skiing injuries
After injuring a joint you should stop what you were doing immediately. Consult a doctor. He will recommend suitable treatment for you, for example, wearing a knee orthosis.
If the cruciate ligament has ruptured the leg is immobilised immediately after the operation. The patient can be fitted with a knee brace, e.g. the M.4s, in the further course of treatment.
A knee support like Genumedi can help if the joints hurt while skiing.
A dislocated shoulder may only be reduced by a doctor – and as quickly as possible. This is generally followed by immobilisation for a few days with a shoulder support, such as the medi Arm fix.
Rhizomed from medi is a thumb brace for reliable immobilisation of the saddle joint and/or basal joint (metacarpophalangeal joint). This can prevent movement-related pain.