With the winter weather season coming up, many of my patients are getting excited about returning to the ski slopes. When I hear this, I immediately turn my attention to reducing the risk of injury. Typically, when we learn about ski-related knee injuries many of the images we picture are those of a knee twisted in and the skis going in opposite directions. This position is often referred to as the “position of no return” and is commonly associated with the dreaded anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.
An important factor in skiing is control of the knee. This control is provided by strength of the muscles of the hip and core. The knee is designed to move in a forward and back direction with very limited rotational and side-to-side movements. The hips have greater degrees of movement and are meant to move in rotational and side-to-side directions, in turn, sparing the knee from these excessive movements. A lot of skiing is turning and moving side-to-side and resisting the skis from going too far out to the sides. Therefore, having a strong core and hips is essential to decreasing the risk of lower extremity injuries.
So, before hitting the slopes, it is important to prepare yourself by increasing your balance, core, and hip muscle strength to avoid getting an injury that may take you out of ski season early. An exercise that can be easily done is balancing on one leg. To increase the difficulty, you can balance on a BOSU ball or perform a one-legged deadlift.
Utilizing the skill and knowledge of your physical therapist at Sports PT of NY will allow you to obtain an individualized ski program and help to keep you healthy on the mountain.
About 80 percent of the US population experiences back pain in their adult life with a small percentage developing long term disability.1 Lifting the wrong way can contribute to back injuries. Lifting improperly can also cause injury to other areas like the neck, shoulder and knee muscles, joints and ligaments. To prevent injuring yourself and adapt proper lifting techniques, here are a few helpful tips:
- When lifting a heavy object from the ground…face the object you will be lifting, bend your knees into a squat position and use two hands to lift the object. You could also put one knee on the ground, pick up the object and then stand up.
- Once the heavy object is lifted…hold and carry it at your belly button region to avoid twisting your back. For example, carry your laundry basket in front of you rather than on your hip to avoid twisting your back.
- When lifting an object from above shoulder level…avoid arching yourself backwards too far. Get a stepping stool to get yourself closer to the object or stagger your legs and shift your weight onto your back leg.
- When getting out of bed…roll to your side first and then sit up instead of sitting straight up. This will decrease stress on your low back.
- When vacuuming…push and pull the handle from your belly button region to prevent twisting your back repetitively.
- When standing up from a chair…bring your buttocks to the edge of the chair, lean forward a little and push up from your legs.
If you would like one-on-one instructions on proper ways to move, you can call any of our Sports PT locations and one of our physical therapist’s can work with you. If you have injured yourself while lifting, you should call your doctor or call Sports PT and with Direct Access we can get you in within 24 hours to start your recovery.