Skiing and snowboarding are both sports that put our upper limbs in harms way. It is instinctive for us to try and break any fall by using our arms. Of course, crashes can also project our shoulders and arms directly into the ground at considerable speed. Below are some common injuries that skiers and snowboarders sustain. More information on each injury is available in the conditions sections of this website.
Broken Clavicle (Collarbone)
Acromioclavicular joint dislocation
SLAP tear (Superior Labrum tear)
Rotator Cuff Tear
Broken Shoulder (Proximal Humerus)
Of course, most injuries occur during a fall or a collision. Experienced skiers will rarely fall when skiing within their limits. If you are concerned about risking injury, consider moderating your speed and ski terrain to reduce your fall risk.
Core stability, balance and endurance will also reduce your chances of falling and, if you do lose control, they will improve your chances of staying up. Before you go on your skiing holiday you may wish to fine-tune your balance and improve your core stability and fitness. Many gyms provide ski-fit classes that cater for this. Your physio will also be happy to provide advice.
If you already have an injury or an unstable shoulder and wish to go skiing, then you may wish to wear a shoulder brace. Commercially available braces aim to achieve a reduced risk of dislocation by:
1. Improving your shoulder position awareness and muscle control
People with shoulder instability lose their joint position awareness. This means they are slow to engage corrective muscle actions to prevent dislocation. A snugly-fitting neoprene brace, or taping can improve the feedback from your skin and help 'tell your brain where your shoulder is'. This can help you control your shoulder. This is the same principle that ‘K-taping’ uses (the thick adhesive tape you may have seen strapped over athletes’ joints).
2. Limiting access to the ‘vulnerable shoulder position’ for dislocation
90% of shoulder dislocations come out forwards. The vulnerable position is with the arm raised away from your body and with your forearm pointing skywards. These braces restrict the forearm rotation and therefore claim to reduce the likelihood of a dislocation. Two example braces are shown below, but several companies offer similar products
If you have injured your shoulder whilst skiing or boarding, or if you have concerns about an upcoming trip, do get in touch.
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I found Mr Granville-Chapman to be very knowledgeable and professional. He put me very much at ease and explained all the options that I have thoroughly. He also told me to look for further information on the condition and procedures that I needed on his website, which gave lots of information and detail. It was also easy to understand for those without a medical background. I would highly recommend his services to anyone that has shoulder problems and requires a solution.
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Spire Thames Valley hospital
Wexham Street, Wexham, Buckinghamshire, SL3 6NH
Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, Berkshire, SL2 4HL
BMI The Princess Margaret Hospital
Osborne Rd, Windsor SL4 3SJ