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Prevention and Management of Injuries in Winter

This time of year marks the middle of the season for a lot of our winter sports including, soccer, footy, hockey, and netball.

The snow is also starting to fall and therefore everyone is now gearing up for the season ahead.

Image: Balance Massage and Core Fitness

However, unfortunately along with all the fun of our favourite winter sports occasionally we get injuries.

As physiotherapists we see a lot of these injuries in our clinic including, sprains, strains or fractures. So we wanted to give you some tips on prevention and management of injuries, early fatigue, discomfort and stiffness this winter.

Most winter sports injuries can easily be prevented if you prepare for your sport by keeping in good physical condition. So hopefully you have already done some pre season training, but if you haven’t it’s not to late to get your body in better shape. Although accidents happen and you can never guarantee an injury won’t occur, we do know that different sports are more susceptible to different injuries due to their physical demands. Consequently, by identifying the risk factors involved you can reduce them by implementing training and prevention strategies that are specific to the sport.

For example, we have chosen a few exercises based on the physical demands of skiing or snowboarding that will help to improve your leg, gluteal and core strength and endurance. By incorporating a program similar to this into your routine approximately 6 weeks before hitting the slopes you may reduce your chances of early fatigue, body stiffness, hip, knee or ankle injuries just to name a few.

Give these exercises a go and build up slowly:

o Leg Strength: With long periods of standing and squatting you need strong legs with good alignment. Sit with your back at on the wall, legs shoulder width apart, knees aligned with second toe. Start with 15 seconds and gradually build up.

o Balance: Skiing requires a high level of balance and shock absorption when doing turns, moguls and landing jumps. Practice standing on one leg, gradually increasing the time and then try jumping side to side with legs together.

o Bridging: Lie on your back with feet apart. Roll up spine segment by segment with activation of your core and buttocks muscles. Lower slowly. Repeat 20 times.

o Plank and side plank: Challenges abdominal, oblique and spinal muscles. Start with 10 second holds and gradually work up as you get stronger.

We also recommend always warming up before playing or participating in your sport as cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are more vulnerable to injury. And as well as preparing our bodies, don’t forget to check your equipment e.g. skis or snowboard to make sure nothing is faulty and is always fitted properly by a professional.

In summary, like all sports, prevention is key!! If you have found this information useful but want to find out more about prevention and management, consult an allied health practitioner who can guide you a little more into a safe and preventative exercise program.

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