Injury Prevention Tips from Inside an Olympic Training Center

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ALEXANDRIA, VA, February 6, 2014 — "Avoiding Skiing and Snowboarding Injuries Like Olympians," is the title of Move Forward Radio's latest episode, premiering on February 6, hosted by APTA. The program features Amber Donaldson, PT, DPT, MPhysio (Manip), SCS, CSCS, an APTA member and a physical therapist at the US Olympic Complex in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Donaldson discusses how to avoid injuries while skiing and snowboarding and her role in helping Team USA prepare for the Olympic and the Paralympic games.

While proper technique will help skiers and snowboarders avoid falls, Donaldson explains that having adequate body strength will help prevent injury in the event of a spill. "If it's a small fall, your shoulder isn't going to dislocate or you're not going to really tear up your wrist if you've got appropriate strength and technique," she said. In the event of a fall, Donaldson advises skiers to "ditch the poles" and sit back when falling. She advises snowboarders to keep their fists closed and arms close to their bodies so they land on forearms instead of outstretched arms.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, 1,757 skiing and snowboarding injuries were treated at hospitals in 2012 with fractures, strains, and sprains being the most common. After conducting a study (.pdf) in 2010, the National Ski Areas Association reported that skiers most commonly injured the knee, while snowboarders injured the wrist. The study also revealed that "skiers suffered far more thigh, lower leg, and ankle injuries than snowboarders, whereas snowboarders suffered more arm and elbow injuries."

To help skiers and snowboarders prevent injuries, a physical therapist can prescribe a personalized strengthening and stretching program to help them prepare their bodies for winter sports. Additionally, APTA provides resources for skiers that include advice on preventing knee injuries, using proper technique, appropriate equipment, and conditioning exercises.

The American Physical Therapy Association represents more than 88,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Learn more about conditions physical therapists can treat and find a physical therapist in your area at Consumers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@MoveForwardPT) and Facebook.