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Common Skiing & Snowboarding Injuries

As the 2023 ski Season gets underway and the thrill of the powdery slopes draws you to the mountains, it’s essential to be aware of the potential injuries and how to treat them.

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Knee Injuries

Acute knee injuries account for 30-40% of all injuries in alpine skiing. The most frequent and serious injuries are ligament injuries due to the twisting motion during falls or from direct trauma to the knee when skiing.

Tears in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or the medial collateral ligament (MCL) are top candidates for most knee snow skiing injuries.

With ACL tears, you may hear a pop in the knee and then experience painful inflammation that leads to a poor range of motion and soreness in the knee.

MCL tears are usually the result of impact to the outside of the knee that drives the joint inward. This usually leads to pain, swelling, instability, and weakness on the inside of the knee.

Spine Injuries

Probably the most common type of spine injury is Whiplash. This is caused when a skier or snowboarder stops suddenly by running into another skier or stationary object. The neck can bend too far backward or too far forward. In more serious cases, this can cause a fracture in the upper cervical vertebra.​  


A common injury to the lumbar spine is a burst fracture. This occurs when you land on your feet or bottom, and the force is transmitted up your spine, causing a starburst pattern fracture in a vertebra.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are common injuries among skiers, and for a good reason. A sudden, awkward pivot to stop or slow down can easily roll the ankle and send a skier to the ground. Even though ski boots often provide good support and stability, it’s not always enough for beginners who don’t have ankles conditioned for skiing. These injuries are often sustained off the slopes or slippery, uneven snow when walking on ice.

Wrist Injuries 

Wrist injuries come top of the list of the most common snowboarding injuries.  Many snowboarders, and to lesser extent skiers, will return from the slopes with significant wrist injuries. There are a couple of things that can significantly reduce the risk of injury. 

  • Take lessons to learn how to fall and to up your skill level.

  • Try and fall either by rolling backwards onto your buttocks and back, or forwards onto your knees and forearms.

  • There are also wrist guards available which reduce the chance of serious injury.

When falls occur at speed during skiing or snowboarding, three main structures in the wrist are most at risk:

  • Distal Radius

  • Scaphoid

  • Scapholunate Ligament

Typically, a broken bone is accompanied by a cracking noise. Regardless of severity, there will likely be some swelling, bruising, and pain.


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Seeking Advice After a Skiing Injury at Redrock Physio 

Resist the temptation to plough on after an injury. Ski-clinics are well-versed in treating common injuries: heeding their expert advice will help you last the season.Skiing holidays can be expensive, and having your ski time cut short by injury can be frustrating and disappointing. Following this advice can help you enjoy your skiing and make your holiday one to remember rather than one to forget.’ 


At Redrock Physio, we have a specialist physiotherapist who covers every area of the body and is a true expert in his field, if you have any concerns regarding pre-existing injuries or have injured yourself while on the slopes, please book an appointment straight away. Most insurance companies cover treatment at Redrock Physio, and we also offer self-pay appointments. Here to help!

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