2018 Winter Olympics Series: Snow Skiing/Snow Boarding

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2018 Winter Olympics Series: Snow Skiing/Snow Boarding

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Snow Skiing and snowboarding are popular olympic sports that many people enjoy participating in themselves during the winter months.  Unfortunately, these sports are often common causes for trips to the ER and/or the Orthopedist’s office.  The vast majority of PT related cases for snow skiing/snowboarding are knee injuries.  There are a number of reasons for this which generally boil down to:
  • Weakness in the hip muscles
  • Poor balance
  • Attempting slopes too advanced for the participants skill level
  • Just plain bad luck
After any significant knee injury, it’s always a good idea to follow-up with a medical professional, especially if the injury occurs at a high speed like these do.  Some options for professionals to follow up with include Orthopedists, ER personnel, and now thanks to the new Direct Access law in Louisiana, Physical Therapists.  Choosing to see a Physical Therapist first following these types of injuries has proven to be a safe, effective, and cost efficient route for seeking comprehensive treatment.  
What we want to discuss today is what to do between the time you get injured and when you get in to see the medical professional of your choice.  There are few things you can do that benefit virtually any knee injury:
  1. Decrease swelling - this is best achieved through utilizing ice packs, compression garments/wraps, NSAID’s, and light exercise.  
  2. Regain range of motion - 2 good exercises for improving ROM in the knee are the supine extension stretch and heel slides:
 
 

3. Ensure good VMO/quadriceps contraction - the best way to do this is an exercise called a Quad Set:

 

Doing these 3 things will help ensure that your knee is in as good of shape as possible for your upcoming appointment which helps with both diagnostic accuracy of medical professionals as well as your eventual outcomes!