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Expert Advice: Preventing Skiing, Snowboarding Injuries

With the thrill of skiing and snowboarding comes the risk of sports injuries. In a recent Newport Daily News article, Dr. Staebler shared the following advice on how to avoid common skiing injuries.

Whether you’re a skier or a snowboarder, understanding common injuries associated with each sport is essential. Skiers often face injuries to the knees, legs, and head, with tears to the ACL, MCL, and meniscus being frequent. On the other hand, snowboarders commonly experience upper body injuries, such as elbow and wrist sprains and fractures. A less common but potentially serious injury is a type of ankle fracture involving the talus bone, it is often dubbed as “snowboarder’s ankle.” Head injuries, regardless of the snow sport, remain a significant cause for concern.

As with any sports injuries, prevention and body conditioning are key. 

First, mastering the art of falling may seem unusual, but it is a valuable skill in preventing injuries. Closing fists during a fall reduces the risk of hand and wrist injuries, while bringing arms in further minimizes harm to the upper body. 

Secondly, regular exercise focusing on quads, hamstrings, and core muscles is crucial for injury prevention. 

Thirdly, protective gear is non-negotiable – helmets are essential for skiers and snowboarders to prevent head injuries. Additionally, sunglasses or goggles, appropriate clothing, and well-fitted equipment, including wrist guards, offer added protection.

Despite precautions, injuries can still happen during winter sports activities like skiing and snowboarding. It’s crucial to prioritize safety on the slopes, but in the event of an injury, swift action is key. 

If you should injure yourself while on the slopes, be sure to seek out appropriate medical attention. For serious emergencies such as head trauma, spine injuries, or open fractures, please call 911 or head to the nearest emergency room. For injuries like sprains and broken bones, University Orthopedics has same-day and next-day appointments available at OrthoDirect locations in East Greenwich, East Providence, and Mansfield. 

About Dr. Staebler

Michael P. Staebler, MD is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in Sports Medicine. His areas of interest and expertise include operative and non-operative treatment of sports injuries in children and adults at the recreational, collegiate, and professional levels. His surgical skills include minimally invasive arthroscopic treatment of shoulder, knee, and ankle injuries but also performs hip and knee replacement, and custom partial knee resurfacing in older athletes with arthritis.

Dr. Staebler is a team physician for several area high schools, Roger Williams College and Salve Regina University. He is a member of the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.