Are you an enthusiastic skier, a dedicated snowboarder, or a lover of any other fall or winter sport? Renew Physical Therapy wants to ensure that you’re equipped with the knowledge to enjoy the season to the fullest while keeping yourself injury-free. We sat down with physical therapist assistant Chip Moran, PTA, to address how to prevent injury when returning to our favorite sports.


Q: What are a few of the most common fall and winter sport injuries you see? 

A: Muscle strains (hamstring, lower back), shoulder injuries (dislocations, labral or rotator cuff injuries), wrist fractures and sprains, ACL tears, Achilles tendinitis.


Q: What specific warm-up exercises or stretches do you recommend specifically for these common fall and winter activities?

A: I always recommend performing warm-ups that mimic the activity you are performing. My “go-to” exercises are lunges, clamshells, side-stepping/monster walks for the lower body and a postural series (external rotation, pull aparts, and diagonals) for the upper extremity.


Q: How can I improve my balance and stability to better my success with sports like skiing and snowboarding?

A: The best way to improve your balance and stability is to perform static and dynamic balance exercises on a stable surface and progress to an unstable surface (for example an Airex pad or BOSU ball). 


Q: Are there any protective gears or equipment that you suggest using to help with injury prevention?

A: Regarding skiing and snowboarding, I would suggest a helmet, wrist guards, elbow pads, knee pads, and a padded undergarment to protect your hips and tailbone (for novice individuals who will fall a lot).  


Q: What proper body mechanics or tips can you share to avoid injury while participating in fall and winter sports?

A: Make sure you’re not locking out your body when performing an activity. Avoid flexing your spine and properly hip hinge and bend at your knees.  


Q: How should I approach returning to my favorite winter sport/activity after a previous injury?  

A: Make sure you’re fully recovered and that you’ve performed sports specific training. Also, don’t go all out when you return to your sport. You must gradually get back into it in small increments.


Q: Do you have any tips for maintaining flexibility and preventing muscle stiffness in colder weather?

A: The most important tip is consistency. My recommendation for maintaining mobility is performing mobility exercises multiple times a week. For example, for how many decades of age you are, that’s how many days of mobility you need to perform each week.

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