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With the winter months bringing those great NW swells to the SoCal beaches, you might think more about surfing accidents than skiing injuries at this time of year. However, with Snow Summit about two hours away by car, and Mountain High even closer, many people love taking a break from all that sun and sea to test their skill on the snowy slopes. All the more reason, then, to gen up on the injury risks of skiing.

Even with the newer ski boot designs—rigid plastic that goes up to mid-calf—ankle sprains are still the most frequent injury. Sprains often happen during falls, despite the newer multi-directional release bindings now available. They involve an overstretching of the ligaments that hold the ankle joint together.

The sometimes violent twisting and turning as you ski can cause fractures of the foot and ankle, the tibia, and even the thigh bone, although the new equipment has reduced this somewhat. However, while fractures have decreased, the new technology may be placing more stress on the knees, with ligament damage in that joint on the increase. A backwards fall or “catching an edge” can both result in this type of injury.

If you are heading out to the slopes this winter, make sure you have the proper equipment, and that it fits you properly, too. It’s amazing how a seemingly small problem like an ingrown nail from too-tight ski boots can put your whole weekend on hold.

Make sure to dress for the weather, with moisture-wicking sock liners next to your feet, covered by a thermal sock to keep you warm.

Get the proper training, and start out on a slope appropriate to your skiing ability level. If you do injure yourself, don’t try to tough it out. Wait for help getting off the slope, and use RICE therapy as first aid until we can examine you.

Visit Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists in Ladera Ranch, CA for the best of treatment for a skiing—or any other sports—injury. It’s something we do very well. You can reach us by phone at (949) 364-9255 (WALK), or set up an appointment online using our contact form.