Arizona is known for its sunny climate and dry, desert landscapes, but we also have mountains and great ski resorts like Snow Bowl and Sunrise for your winter fun. Go ahead and enjoy a weekend on the slopes, but keep in mind there is always the risk of ski injuries. We’ll describe some and give you a few tips to stay safe on the slopes.
The most injuries occur in the knee, but sprains—in which ligaments in the ankle are stretched too far or torn—are also a regular occurrence. This is not surprising, considering the number of twists and turns you put the joint through during a run, and the frequency of falls when your ski tips catch something.
Fortunately, new improvements in equipment have reduced the number of these injuries quite a bit. For one thing, the boots are typically higher and made of more rigid plastic to support the ankle better. For another, the new, quick-release bindings are less likely to wrench your ankle during a fall as the skis pop off sooner.
Firmer boots also help you avoid the second most common injury—fractures—by protecting your foot and ankle in the event of a collision with a stationary object or another person. Since fractures can also happen with a severe twist of the foot, the quicker release of the skis also helps prevent broken bones.
Other common injuries include ligament damage in the knees, dislocated shoulders and arm injuries from stretching out your arm to protect yourself from a fall, and thumb injuries when they get bent back by the poles.
The best ways to prevent ski injuries include:
- conditioning your muscles
- getting enough rest so you are fresh
- using the right equipment
- taking lessons if you are a beginner
- choosing appropriate slopes (don’t overestimate your ability)
- checking conditions on the slope before you go
- warming up
- avoiding alcohol before you ski
We hope you are able to enjoy winter sports safely in our great state, but if you sustain a foot or ankle injury, come to Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona in Metro Phoenix for treatment and follow-up care. Healing properly can help you avoid arthritis and ankle instability in the future. Call us in Chandler, AZ at (480) 963-9000 and in Gilbert at (480) 981-1800, or use our form to schedule online. Happy skiing!