Skiing and snowboarding injuries can happen to athletes and hobbyists.
Skiing Facts and Injuries
There are many types of skiing available, for people of all ages, including alpine skiing, biathlon, freestyle, and cross-country.1 Studies have found that skiing helmets “reduce the risk of a serious head injury by as much as 60 percent”. Some ski patrollers, however, are concerned that a skiing helmet may make a novice skier “feel invulnerable and engage in riskier behavior on the slopes”, while others do not wish to wear helmets due to the belief that response time would be lowered and peripheral vision and hearing would be affected. In fact, in the survey of ski patrollers, “77 percent did not wear helmets” for those latter reasons.2 Common ski injuries include knee injuries, fractures around the lower leg and shoulder, dislocations, and sprains. A knee injury from a fall is not uncommon. Many accidents could be prevented if skiers maintain good fitness levels, warm up before skiing, hydrate, and follow safety rules. Also, checking to make sure equipment is well-maintained, and skiing in a safe and marked environment, are important.3
Snowboarding Facts and Injuries
Snowboarding was inspired by skateboarding and surfing, becoming a Winter Olympic sport in 1998. One of the most important facts about snowboarding, though, is that the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that many head injuries and deaths “could have been prevented if helmets (were) worn”.4 According to Dr. Adil H. Haider, “Helmets are safe. They don’t…increase risk taking. And they protect against…head injuries.”5 Snowboarding injuries include knee and lower extremity injuries, ACL tears, rotator cuff and neck injuries, broken collarbones, concussions, dislocations, bruises, and sprains. To prevent injuries, snowboarders should consider safety gear, such as a helmet, knee and tailbone pads, and elbow and wrist guards.6
Many of the common skiing or snowboarding injuries can be treated with chiropractic care. In fact, chiropractors can help athletes prevent injuries in the first place. It is important that athletes and hobbyists do not ski or snowboard above their ability level. Resting between outings is crucial, especially if there is pain, and warming up is also important. Chiropractors often treat injuries related to snowboarding and ski accidents, such as those involving the pelvis, back, knee, shoulder, and neck.7 Chiropractic care is a non-invasive treatment method. Some athletes even seek treatment before hitting the slopes. After an injury, chiropractors can assist with rehabilitation and physiotherapy, as well as perform adjustments.8
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