Ski First Aid

O.K. I’m ready,this year. I’ve done all my fitness training, I’ve got excellent equipment, my boots feel really good, bindings are just right. I’ve had expert tuition all through the first morning, everything is set. The sun is shining, conditions are great….. so where did that guy come from ! completely out of control ! straight across the back of me, next thing I know I’m sliding down on my back, legs akimbo and my knee is really hurting I’ll give it a couple of minutes rest and see how it feels… not too bad, so let’s ski on down.

Imagine that’s you, by the end of the day that knee is aching rather more and feels quite stiff, going up and downstairs is difficult and feels sore. You’ve got four more days to ski, what should you do ?

Remember you are likely to experience some muscle fatigue and a few general aches and pains after the first day but there’s a difference.The symptoms may vary but basically if it doesn’t feel right by the end of the day it’s best to take some action.

What happens if you just wait and see ?

Well most of us spend the evening sitting (and drinking), then perhaps slipping and sliding back to the chalet, you might even have a bit of a thrash on the dance floor – not necceassrily the best medicine !

Sadly alcohol increases the swelling in the injured soft tissues, making things worse. Of course a little takes the pain away but – can you believe it – an excess actually increases pain ! The other activities listed are, hopefully self-explanatory.

The sensible approach is to make sure you have something to eat and rehydrate. Then…

Rest the knee,
ice the knee – regularly, through the evening, ten minutes at a time – every hour would be very keen;
compress the knee – with a firmish bandage and elevate it – adequate elevation means resting with your leg supported – up – higher than your heart
Rest is the recommended first aid protocol for any soft tissue injury if you want to give it the best conditions for repair. Soft tissue does not recover completely overnight but healing will start if you let it.

If you’re still limping the next day, your best bet is to check with the local doctor. The diagnosis can be anything from a strained thigh muscle to a cartilage or ligament tear. It can be confusing, the serious damage is not always the most painful, so it really is better to check.

You may be in two minds about it, you might be thinking “yes it’s sore but I can tough it out”, well you might be right , mentally you may be tough, but muscles don’t always get that message, it’s only when you get off the ski-lift and push your weight through your legs that you realise one of them just isn’t working and – yes that’s when you risk wrecking the other leg !!!

Does this all sound far too sensible, are you just out for fun and a bit of a laugh ? Well, it’s only advice and it’s up to you whether you follow it.

Of course you might find that if you do the right thing, one day’s rest is all it needs, then off you go, no problems for the whole of the rest of your trip.

If you do get a bit of an injury while skiing and it doesn’t completely clear up by the time you get back, then it may well lurk, almost forgotten in everyday activity but definintely not 100 % when you do anything approaching exercise – like running for the bus or leaping up a few stairs at a time. That’s something that needs to be checked out by your local physiotherapist. You can get advice on an appropriate course of treatment or home exercises to get it right – ready for the next trip !

Richmond Physiotherapy,
Lawton Gate House
7 Hill Street
Richmond TW9 1SX

Tel: 020 8332 1132

Lawton Gate House,
7 Hill Street, Richmond,
London, TW9 1SX

020 8332 1132

clinic@richmondphysio.co.uk