Many say that Colorado is home to some of the world’s best skiing and snowboarding, which also means our state sees a tremendous amount of ski injuries. Heavy snowfall and a vast variety of mountain terrain make Colorado ski resorts a terrific choice for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Colorado also offers unparalleled ski schools, sunshine, and historic ski towns.

Being active in sports has many positive health effects. It can help prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression, and osteoporosis. Besides the beneficial health effects of being active, sports participation is of course also associated with a risk of injuries. Being aware of the risk of injuries while skiing and snowboarding is important, as well as making sure that you are protecting yourself, whether it is a knee brace while skiing or wearing a helmet on the slopes.

Do you have knee pain while skiing? Should you use knee support?

A lot of people ask whether they should use a brace when they ski, much like some football players are urged to use a knee brace to prevent injury. After conducting further research on knee pain while skiing, we were surprised with our findings

For skiers with prior ACL injuries, there was a significant reduction in re-injury rate when using a functional, hinged knee brace. So, if you have ever hurt your ACL, stop by and we will evaluate your degree of laxity and what specific braces would be the best for you.

At Integrative Sports Medicine, we stock but do not sell knee braces, and we have no financial interest in bracing, so our advice is objective. From personal experience, I have chosen to use a knee brace while skiing after a football injury and have seen improvements in my ability to maneuver on the slopes. In addition to that, it drastically reduces the risk of re-injuring my knee due to the stability that knee braces can provide.

Human joints need stability. If you are concerned about the impact skiing or snowboarding may have on your knees, or other joints, come visits us. At Integrative Sports Medicine, we will be able to evaluate your joints and help you make the best decision to enjoy your time on the slopes.

Potential of Concussions from Skiing

In snow sports, helmets really do matter. As a fairly late adopter of helmet use while skiing, I was lucky enough to leave the slopes without any severe injuries. After seeing my navigate down Big Chute at Crested Butte, my wife mandated I purchase a helmet. As we’ve seen, many skiers and snowboarders choose not to wear a helmet, for various reasons. At Integrative Sports Medicine, we recommend all skiers and snowboarders wear helmets on the slopes, regardless of your skill level.

We tend to see the majority of concussions stemming from two groups, males and snowboarders. This statistic can be explained easily by their behaviors, and their lack of desire to change them. Over the past four decades on the ski slopes, we have noticed a slight improvement in the amount of males and snowboarders adopting helmets. An injury on the ski hill is capable of causing a traumatic injury to your brain, including concussions or even worse.

Interesting Ski and Snowboard Injury Facts

• In the terrain park, the number of turns or spins made correlates with injury more so than the distance traveled.
• Landing on a flat surface or the knuckle of the pipe increases the rate of falls.
• Staying within your ability level will reduce the risk of injury while skiing/snowboarding.
• Collisions are a major cause of ski and snowboard injuries. Find runs that are not as crowded, and are less likely to have multiple riding styles can reduce that risk.
• New ACL-Preventing bindings compliment your body’s biomechanics and can be a potential way to reduce ski injuries.

Overall, when skiing or snowboarding, it is important to be aware that a major injury can always happen. Be mindful of various risks on the slopes.

So, have a great and safe day on the slopes! Brad Abrahamson, MD

Brad Abrahamson, MD is the designated Northern Colorado Affiliate of Stop Sports Injuries. Here are some additional tips from them.