How Physiotherapy Helps You Recover From Skiing Injuries

As winter approaches, many people prepare to head to the slopes for skiing holidays. Because skiing is an extreme sport that puts intense physical pressure on joints and muscles, skiers and snowboarders may suffer some injuries during skiing holidays. This article highlights some common skiing injuries and how to prevent and recover from them through physiotherapy


  1. Types Of Skiing Injuries Physiotherapy Can Help
  2. Shoulder Sprain / Strain
  3. Knee Ligament Sprain / Rupture
  4. Treating skiing injuries through physiotherapy 
  5. How To Prevent Skiing Injuries 
    1. Pre-Holiday Physiotherapy
    2. Split Squat
    3. One Leg Hop Jumps

Types Of Skiing Injuries Physiotherapy Can Help

Common skiing injuries include:

  • Shoulder Sprain / Strain
  • Knee Ligament Sprain / Rupture

Shoulder Sprain / Strain

Falling is common among beginner skiers and snowboarders. In an attempt to break our fall, we automatically spread our arms in front so as not to land on our faces. The pressure from the impact of the fall will, however, travel up your arms and cause injury to your shoulder. 

Depending on the impact of the fall, you can suffer from the following:

  • Muscle strain
  • Dislocation
  • Fracture 

It is, therefore, advisable to get assessed to determine the nature of your shoulder injury for the deployment of proper management and care.  

Knee Ligament Sprain / Rupture

The knee is the most common joint affected by skiing. One in every four ski-related injuries is a knee injury because of the increased force and stress placed upon it in movements of twisting and rotation. Knee ligaments can tear or rupture due to extreme stress from the high skiing speed combined with a fall or loss of control. 

Treating skiing injuries through physiotherapy

The number one rule in case of an injury during skiing is to get assessed. In most instances, you will only require some basic self-management techniques and advice to carry on with your skiing holiday following an injury safely.

While most injuries are mild, allowing you to continue skiing, some are so serious that you will require the help of a healthcare professional before carrying on with skiing when they happen. 

Here is how physiotherapy can help you recover from skiing-related shoulder and knee injuries: 

Shoulder Sprain / Strain

Working closely with a physiotherapist will help you quickly return to full shoulder function. The physiotherapy sessions will focus on the following for you to regain full strength, mobility and flexibility post-shoulder injury:

  • Exercise rehabilitation
  • Sports massage
  • Acupuncture and
  • Other self-management techniques

Knee Ligament Sprain / Rupture

Through targeted exercise, physiotherapy can help relieve knee ligament injuries. 

If you returned from your skiing holiday with an injury and did not manage to get it assessed on-site, make sure to book an assessment immediately. Never ignore your damage for long. Instead, ensure it is assessed, diagnosed, and rehabilitated sooner for a better outcome. 

How To Prevent Skiing Injuries 

It is a common saying, ‘prevention is better than cure.’

Here is a highlight of what to do before heading to the slopes to prevent skiing injuries:

  • Pre-Holiday Physiotherapy
  • Split Squat
  • One Leg Hop Jumps 

Pre-Holiday Physiotherapy

A physiotherapy assessment before heading to the skiing slopes can help you develop a plan for injury prevention. It is, therefore, advisable that before heading to the slopes, you should book a session with a physiotherapist. This ensures that any injury risk factors are identified beforehand and factored into your training program. 

Particularly, the pre-skiing holiday physiotherapy helps you:

  • Identify your current fitness.
  • Identify any potential risk factors, which may include muscle weakness, previous injuries, and your current training regimen. 

Physiotherapy can help professional skiers prevent skiing injuries through targeted drills that improve the following risk-reducing variables:

  • Balance 
  • Coordination and 
  • Strength 

Improving these variables would require adequate time, consistency and motivation.

You should also book sports massage sessions to:

  • Ready your muscles and joints for the intense physical demand 
  • Reduce muscle tightness
  • Flush out waste products
  • Prepare the muscles for intense activity

Sports massage is an excellent complementary treatment alongside your targeted exercise drills. 

Split Squat

Leg strength and power are key in reducing injury risks during skiing. The split squat is one of the best exercises for improving your legs’ overall strength and power.

Here is how to do the split squat:

  • Stand on one leg with your rear foot elevated on a chair
  • Bend the front knee to lower yourself down to the floor
  • Hold for a second at the bottom and then stand back up

While doing this exercise, you will feel the muscles in the thigh and bum working extremely hard. If you want to make split squats progressively challenging, start with light (preferably body weight) weights as you complete 12 repetitions x3 sets on each leg and gradually add more weight. You can wear a backpack with heavy objects inside to increase the resistance. 

Integrating this exercise into your exercise prior to your skiing holiday will stimulate muscle growth and strength. This will result in a stable knee joint. 

One Leg Hop Jumps

One leg hop jump has the following benefits:

  • Strengthen your legs
  • Improve your balance

Here is how to do a one-leg hop jump:

  • Place four cones or similar objects in a circle with you standing in the center on one leg
  • Hop forwards, backwards and side to side while maintaining your balance on one leg (x2 on each leg)

Repeat while moving the cones further away until you are fatigued. Integrating one leg hop jumps in your exercise regime helps:

  • to train your knee’s balance receptors
  • develop strong muscular around the ligaments 

While one leg hop jump exercise would be ideal to complete before your skiing holiday, it is also suitable for you if you are returning from a knee injury. 

Our Ottawa Physiotherapy Clinic has professional physiotherapists trained in sports-related injury assessment, diagnosis and treatment. Get in touch with us today for professional treatment techniques such as exercise prescription, acupuncture, sports massage, mobilization and shockwave therapy.

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