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Ski Safety

Ski Safety

Should the Sochi Olympics inspire a late-choice trip to the mountains, here are ski expert physician Simon Moyes’s top tips to prepare you for your trip.

1. Start to prepare at least four weeks before your trip, particularly if you don’t usually do much exercise. This will improve your stamina and reduce risk of fatigue and injury
2. Ensure you are aerobically and cardiovascularly fit
3. You need to have strong quads so work on quadriceps strengthening exercises before you go
4. Important to prepare your whole body, so combine squats and other strengthening exercises with balance exercises such as standing on one leg

What do I do during a holiday to avoid injury?

1. Get your bindings fitted for your skiing ability, height and weight to ensure they release properly
2. Don’t drink too much alcohol the night before. Beware – up to 30% of people on the slopes can be over the legal driving limit
3. Be aware – Most of the serious injuries are collisions between skiers and snowboarders because they have different ways of negotiating the slopes. Be as alert as possible to what is going on around you – not just below you down the mountainside but behind you as well, and always check behind before starting off.
4. Ski within your own limits. Only ski runs that you are competent on
5. Be aware of the weather conditions. A red run in sunny weather with good visibility might be fine, but with zero visibility it could be a nightmare
“If an injury does occur, look out for are severe pain, rapid swelling, bruising and inability to weight bear. The more this occurs, the more likely it is that you have a serious injury. It is important to be seen locally at the bottom of the slopes by the relevant clinic. They have great expertise but often limited imaging facilities so if you feel you have not been seen properly abroad, get yourself referred to a UK specialist on return to get your injury properly assessed and scanned.

Simon Moyes is a consultant orthopaedic surgeon specialising in arthroscopic surgery for knee, shoulder, foot and ankle problems, with a focus on sports medicine. www.simonmoyes.com

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