With the Ski season now upon us people rush to the slopes for a week of adventure, alpine air and après ski . Be aware however that this is the time of year we at the practice get to see a lot of ski and snow related injuries.

Most people don't ski regularly and so go from a sedentary or inactive job to a full week of intensive activity involving lifting of skis and boots, twisting getting on and off drag lifts and lots of work on the knees and hips when actually skiing.

Skiing and snowboarding are great for fitness and activity but to prevent injuries follow a few of our tips before you go.

  • If you have any back pain, knee twinges or shoulder pains don't ignore them; visit the osteopath prior to your trip to make sure you are in optimum condition.
  • Build your fitness up before you go, this may mean taking the stairs to work rather than the lift, 20 minutes walking per day or some gym work.
  • If you have pre-existing injuries look after them, wear a knee support or brace if you have previous injuries there, warm up prior to taking to the slopes do a few stretches, keep your body warm so it's not stiff and cold.
  • Have a warm bath each night to relax your muscles particularly your legs and stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles.

Prior to your ski or snowboarding holiday do some quadriceps strengthening exercises. These muscles when strong help take some load off the knee joint. The Hamstrings and Gluteal muscles are also of importance and some strengthening exercises are explained below.

Hamstring curls
Lie on your front and gently raise your heels to your bottom one leg at a time. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
Quadriceps
Active squats - stand against a wall, keeping your back straight, lower so your knees are at 90 degrees - don't over bend or stress the knees. And hold for the count of 10, repeat 10 times. Lunges can also work to strengthen up quadriceps tone but when lunging careful not to bend the leg in front more than 90 degrees.
Calf stretches
daily perform these to improve flexibility for the lower leg. Place your toe on the edge of a step or stair, gently lower the heel and hold for the count of 10 repeat 5 times on each leg, don't bounce its a gentle static stretch.

It is important with any stretches to make sure you are doing them correctly so consult The Osteopathic Centre – Welwyn Garden City for advice on 01707 327135 or enquiries@welwyn-osteopaths.co.uk

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