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Why soooo many injuries?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Hello fellow snow gliders!

There has been an interesting shift in threads over the past few months.

Early in the season, many of the threads were related to fitness and health...how to ski better, stronger legs/core and the prevention of injuries.

Dominating the discussion board now are bunch of injuries. Our question is:

What were the cause of these injuries?
  • Lack of preparation/conditioning?
  • Too long of a ski season (we wish we had this problem )!
  • An "overtraining" effect by skiing so much?
  • Collision with another person/object?
  • Self inflicted...a weakness in the body could not handle what was being performed?
  • etc.??
Could these injuries have been avoided?

We know that not all injuries can be avoided, but we do know that the probability of getting injuried may be reduced with proper preventative training/conditioning.

We are curious to hear what you guys have to say about this ever growing topic.

Train Hard and Ski Harder!
The SNOtrainers
post #2 of 32
Early season = not many snow days = not many injuries.
Late season = many more snow days = many more injuries.
post #3 of 32
In may case (ACL), I was just skiing and fell going about 35 mph or so down a fairly steep slope. Unfortunately, I went head over heels (twice) and on the first cartwheel my ski hit the snow hard nearly perpendicular to the fall line and my knee was unable to absorb the shock.

I don't attribute the injury to anything other than bad luck, as it's the first injury I've had in 44 years of skiing.

I am going to use the rehab process to get in the best shape of my life for next season, so your point is well taken.

Mike
post #4 of 32
Sh&T happens, aggressive skiing takes its toll on the body. Just look at football players and hockey players as the season goes on, more injuries. With skiing, Spring's warmer weather creates heavier snow which brings about a much higher rate of injuries, especially with novice and inermediate skiers and boarders. just ask any patroller.
post #5 of 32
This is the perfect opportunity to test the stats!

3 "wrecks" injuries that require treatment, per 1000 ski visits.

I got 28 days and no injuries this year!

CalG
post #6 of 32
someone should study this. Are they increasing?

I always suspect speed, since force increases expotentially with speed (where's Physicsman when you need him 1/2 mv^2 I think is the equation. So it could be mass (weight gain) but that's not as high of a factor.

I wonder if with the new better skis people go faster because of additional confidence. Then when things go wrong they REALLY go wrong.

Or it could be average age is getting older leading to more injuries? Just don't know - someone should look at this (does PSIA or other organization have stats?)
post #7 of 32
post #8 of 32
post #9 of 32
Hey Alex! great to "see" you here again. It was fun meeting up with you in Colorado! You pose a question that has definitely been a cause for concern. Although I've posted about this a number of times, it's been awhile, so...

I spent over 25 years in the fitness industry being unbelievably resistant to injury. We are talking about teaching a high impact aerobic class a few hours after running the New York City Marathon, and still coming away without injury. In the same way, my New York City students, many of whom were pro dancers and athletes, also seemed to be resistant to injury.

Even when I first learned to ski, although I was actually pretty bad at it, I did not get injured. In fact, when I was living in Boston and getting at the most 20 ski days a year, I still did not get hurt.

When I moved to Colorado, it was like being in a candy store. Although I still taught my classes, I was more hands on, and not doing enough of my own workout. Instead, I was at the slopes almost every day of the week, and religiously taking lessons every Sunday. Ironically, when I tore my ACL, my ski technique level was at its highest, but my ski specifc fitness level was at its lowest.


These are some of the common factors I have seen amongst "injured parties" in the past few years:
  • People who have progressed very quickly: Some people seem to have an amazing aptitude for the sport. They progress at speeds faster than I could have ever hoped for myself. However, since my MA skills will always be infinitely superior to my actual ski skills, in everyone of these people, I have always noticed some "glitches" in their technique that I predicted would soon get them into trouble. In some cases, folks would be over-powering their movements. In others, there was a marked tendency to lean into the hill. On easier terrain, this might not have been fatal. But when people who have only been skiing for six months start skiing the bowls and half pipes without the proper balance, there's bound to be trouble.
  • Compulsion to continue progressing too quickly: Self explanatory.
  • Ski-Specific Fitness levels: The people who I know who have torn either their ACLs or MCLs were not involved in any sort of ski-specific injury prevention program. They might spend many days at the Rec center working on the free weights and weight training equipment, but they will rarely use the balance training equipment.
  • Skiing no matter how bad the conditions are, or how crowded the slopes are. This is "Colorado Newbie Syndrome!"
  • As far as weight gain goes, the body types have been all over the map. I've seen injuries in overweight people, as well as injuries to people who are at their ideal weight. With females, I've seen injuries of women in late that 40s, early 50s who are exceptionally thin, possibly, judging by teeth and skin tone, anorectic or bulimic which could have an adverse effect on bone density. Thus, what should have been a minor injury turns into something major.
post #10 of 32
Thread Starter 

Great to be back Lisa!

It was great meeting you as well during our stay in Colorado. Thanks again for your generosity and hospitality!

Everyone poses interesting responses. As we dig deeper into this topic there are also many more questions that start to come to mind:
  • Level of skiing/riding
  • Style of skiing/riding
  • Length of season (Finndog's comparison to an athlete's season)
  • Type of conditioning (functional/core/balance work or just cardio or no training)
  • Gender
  • Body type
The list can keep going on. All in all, we all agree that not all injuries are preventable. That said, many injuries are preventable if the body has the proper stimulus from training.

For example, it has been researched that at least 80% of female ACL tears are non-contact. This is important in realizing that it was a result of "failure" of the individual's body in respect to the movement that was being performed. It should also be noted that most injuries take place in the transverse plane while decelerating (rotating and slowing down). What this tells us is that this can be trained. To prove this, it has been found that teaching someone how to jump and run, thus, how to deal with forces can and will prevent most injuries.

To conclude, it is safe to say that if you train properly, the end result is win-win...for everyone!

Train Hard and Ski Harder!
The Snotrainers
post #11 of 32
Thanks CGrandy for those links - sounds like ISSS meeting will get right into this in a couple of weeks http://www.isss2007.com/abst.htm It'd be nice to get some of the slides or information from this as many doctors are looking at this.
post #12 of 32
SNOtrainer:

I have a theory that the injuries this yr had something to do with a short season. Alot of built up anticipation and energy, mediocre snow, and going for the gusto once it came.
post #13 of 32
Anticipation to use my new gear after waiting longer than usual for the season to really kick in got me doing 50+mph in questionable terrain before fully getting my ski legs back. The outcome was my multiple bone breaks and end of said season. I was also in far worse physical shape than I normally am; this may have been the deciding factor.
post #14 of 32
Is there a sport worse than skiing for "warming up'?. Cold weather, cold chair rides, push off the summit, and you need to be at your best and on your toes. Often the most difficult stuff is right off the top. Then a bit of a sprint, You are huffing and the legs are burning, the snow is pushing a little heavy. At the lift line, Stand around , ride a cold chair....etc. Repeat until you get hurt ;-)

We have the docs come by for medical training from time to time. They see the x-rays of the stuff we haul off the hill. Recent sessions included a lot about "prevention". Strengthen the core and warm up!

I think the 3 per 1000 stat still holds up well.

Check it out. Your time is at hand!

CalG
post #15 of 32
Quote:
There has been an interesting shift in threads over the past few months.

Early in the season, many of the threads were related to fitness and health...how to ski better, stronger legs/core and the prevention of injuries.
But that's perfectly normal though!

5 months ago, nobody was skiing so there CAN'T be any ski related injuries. You can't get ski related injuries without actually skiing, can you?

The east coast didn't have any snow till mid-Feb. I didn't start skiing until then. So I can't possibly got any ski injuries until after Feb...

Are there really more injuries this year? I haven't been around Epic long enough to know...
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post
But that's perfectly normal though!

5 months ago, nobody was skiing so there CAN'T be any ski related injuries. You can't get ski related injuries without actually skiing, can you?

The east coast didn't have any snow till mid-Feb. I didn't start skiing until then. So I can't possibly got any ski injuries until after Feb...

Are there really more injuries this year? I haven't been around Epic long enough to know...
Neither have I but I frequent this and the NASTAR forums and there seems to have been many more injuries this year than last....I noticed this even before I became hyper aware (usually happens when you join the club). As a matter of fact the prior knowledge of hearing about so many fellow skiers get seriously injured may have also contributed to my own injury. When I started to lose it I just let go and went down thinking I will just fall and that will be the end of it. My thoughts were dont fight it so that I reduce the chance of a leg injury (which is what most people have had). So I ended up with pristine legs and knees but a broken thumb and back.....jeez talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire.
post #17 of 32
This thread is like asking if you've ever dropped something or slipped on a wet or icy sidewalk. Everyone falls. Some people just 'fall wrong' or 'fall right, but with consequences' (ask VSP!!), and there isn't a whole lot you can do about it.
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post
Anticipation to use my new gear after waiting longer than usual for the season to really kick in got me doing 50+mph in questionable terrain before fully getting my ski legs back. The outcome was my multiple bone breaks and end of said season. I was also in far worse physical shape than I normally am; this may have been the deciding factor.
altho you seem to fit my theory classically (read your original post), sorry to hear about that, but (at the risk of post detouring) I had a question about your thumb injury, which occurred with releaseable straps:

Do you think the fact that you had straps on at all contributed to your hand injury? I wondere if the association of poles near the hand (even if by releasable straps), could still result in "skier's thumb". I personally never wear straps anymore (I've had the injury once way back when I did).
post #19 of 32
My injury came as a result of too safe and mundane an environment. Due to a lack of challenging terrain and speed thrills, I had to be creative and try to do things I should have known better than to do, instead of being alert and careful while doing something obviously dangerous. I tried to push myself over into a left turn when leaning right by using a pole plant at a relatively safe, but still too high a speed to be making contact with the ground.
post #20 of 32
40+ years of skiing, and for the first time (4 weeks ago) I broke something - tib and fib This was on a new pair of Volkl AC4s, that are rather wider at the tip than the Volkl P40s I'd been using for the last few years. Great skis. But I'm convinced that the accident was due to my 'old school' knees/ankles-tight-together style and the inside edge of the outside ski sitting on the edge of the inside ski in a fast pure carved turn and causing the inside ski to dig-in. I don't believe this would have happened if I skied with a wider stance, or if the tips were narower. I'm of the view now that an 'old school' tight-locked-together stance on skis with a 125mm tip (or greater) is an accident waiting to happen. And I'm astonished this isn't getting a far higher profile than it is, as I'm predicting loads more experienced skiers who were taught in that style (so I guess in their 40s, 50s and older) will be breaking legs at boot level as they uprade their gear to the latest wide skis.
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevescho View Post
altho you seem to fit my theory classically (read your original post), sorry to hear about that, but (at the risk of post detouring) I had a question about your thumb injury, which occurred with releaseable straps:

Do you think the fact that you had straps on at all contributed to your hand injury? I wondere if the association of poles near the hand (even if by releasable straps), could still result in "skier's thumb". I personally never wear straps anymore (I've had the injury once way back when I did).
I dont know, I had the releasable Leki straps...but here is a thread I started on the subject: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=52463
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrolet View Post
But I'm convinced that the accident was due to my 'old school' knees/ankles-tight-together style and the inside edge of the outside ski sitting on the edge of the inside ski in a fast pure carved turn and causing the inside ski to dig-in. I don't believe this would have happened if I skied with a wider stance, or if the tips were narower. I'm of the view now that an 'old school' tight-locked-together stance on skis with a 125mm tip (or greater) is an accident waiting to happen. And I'm astonished this isn't getting a far higher profile than it is, as I'm predicting loads more experienced skiers who were taught in that style (so I guess in their 40s, 50s and older) will be breaking legs at boot level as they uprade their gear to the latest wide skis.
Perhaps you should start a thread in the Technique forum?

"I don't believe this would have happened if I skied with a wider stance"

The only trouble is, that "wide stance" doesn't work off-piste or mogul. So once you learn to carve on the groom, you have to un-learn to ski off the groom!
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post
Perhaps you should start a thread in the Technique forum?

"I don't believe this would have happened if I skied with a wider stance"

The only trouble is, that "wide stance" doesn't work off-piste or mogul. So once you learn to carve on the groom, you have to un-learn to ski off the groom!
He said "Wider Stance" there is wider and there is wide. If ones ankles are pinned together one can get wider to effectively ski moguls and powder without being functionally too wide, which would make make bumps and powder more difficult.

There is plenty of stance room width latitude to effectively ski bumps and Pow on skis with 125mm or wider tip without issue. In my view, fore/aft balance and A-Frame (diverging skis) with a rear weight bias is an accident waitng to happen reghardless of the shape of the ski. But obviously ankles pinned is a problem. Most folks I see who ski with ankles pinned are also almost 100% of the time in the back seat and tail sliders.
post #24 of 32
Or tail out pushers?
post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
Or tail out pushers?
Yes, or tail pushers!!!!
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post
He said "Wider Stance" there is wider and there is wide...

...Most folks I see who ski with ankles pinned are also almost 100% of the time in the back seat and tail sliders.
Maybe 'back seat and tail sliders' is an Americal thing? Most of the folks I see with ankles pinned together are of a similar age to me, and ski nice carved turns in balance. It's how we were taught (or worked it out for ourselves on 205s+) and it still works now...or at least it did.

I should ass that every time I've skied in the US and Canada quite a few folks have commented that I've skied in a 'European' style; quite a few asked if I was French; and [head getting all swolen now] when I skied into a lift line at Aspen once some chap commented 'textbook style there Sir!'. Should have got hom to write that one down!

Anyway, lets qualify what I mean by a 'tight' stance, and what I mean as a little wider. On bumps (and in truth I'm getting to old for 'proper' bumps) I have boots maybe 4" apart; powder too I guess the skis are a few inches apart...but these aren't the conditions where I broke a leg.

On pisted runs I'd ski with kneed touching, boots locked together and tips rubbing and chattering nicely. I don't have too many (any?) photos to explain this as I usually ski alone so no-one taks pics. But there's a couple I got from a ski-though camera location at Aspen http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...rolet/asp3.jpg and http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...rolet/Asp1.jpg, plus a wee photo I took of my tracks at Vail http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...olet/vail3.jpg. I don't think it's too 'back seat' or tail slidey.

So, on fast-ish piste I'd have everything tight together with weight imagined somewhere between toe and ski tip. I like to carve nice smooth turns (as I was when I had the accident) so rather than poles to any great extent an 'upweighting', when I came out of one turn I'd just flex my knees very slightly to take the weight off the skis (used to be called a compression turn, but I've not heard that used to describe a long turn technique in years!) and lead into the next turn, slide the inside ski forward, crank on some edge, and pressure-up the front section again.

I don't think this is a unique tequnique, but I guess it's fairly old school. But what I found on a 125mm tip ski is that if your boots are touching, then the new inside ski gets trapped (just by a few mm) inder the new outside ski. I had this happen quite a few times on hard snow and always managed to pull the skis apart with a it of brute force. What I hadn't anticipated was that on slightly softer snow the inside ski just digs in and you don't get the chance to recover.

Don't know if this makes it any clearer. Maybe I'll take some static photos of what happens once I'm able to get a boot back on again (many months away ). But I stand by my theory that lots more folks who ski very well indeed in a tight style on 110mm wide skis or below, will start breaking legs on 125mm and above unless they widen there stance to a couple of inches apart.
post #27 of 32
My injury was to my ribs after I got a single heel release (left) from sticky snow, while skiing at low cruisng speed. I vaulted in the air over my right ski, which stayed on, leading to a fall onto my left ribs. I might have been able to avoid the injury with better attention to wax, although this is not certain. I was on a relatively flat ski very close to the bottom of a slope on a warm day. I don't know how this relates to other equipment issues, because I think longer skis would have been even quicker to grab.
post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrolet View Post
40+ years of skiing, and for the first time (4 weeks ago) I broke something - tib and fib This was on a new pair of Volkl AC4s, that are rather wider at the tip than the Volkl P40s I'd been using for the last few years. Great skis. But I'm convinced that the accident was due to my 'old school' knees/ankles-tight-together style and the inside edge of the outside ski sitting on the edge of the inside ski in a fast pure carved turn and causing the inside ski to dig-in. I don't believe this would have happened if I skied with a wider stance, or if the tips were narower. I'm of the view now that an 'old school' tight-locked-together stance on skis with a 125mm tip (or greater) is an accident waiting to happen. And I'm astonished this isn't getting a far higher profile than it is, as I'm predicting loads more experienced skiers who were taught in that style (so I guess in their 40s, 50s and older) will be breaking legs at boot level as they uprade their gear to the latest wide skis.
Interesting you bring up the dig-in on the new style skis. I picked up some PE's this spring and got out on skis for the 1st time in years after switching to snowboarding and some time away from the mountains. Twice I caused my uphill ski unexpectedly dig a deep rail throwing me way off balance. I was able to save it both times, but it was frightening at how fast it happened and easily could have caused a nasty spill.. I never remember that problem from the straight ski days.
post #29 of 32
Thread Starter 

Hardware vs. Software!

Tommi and I were talking about this subject the other day inbetween some of our training clients. We think that we came up with a pretty good analogy to conclude this thread and some of the replies.

Think of your skiing equipment (skis, boots, poles, bindings, etc.) as hardware, just like in the world of computers. Hardware is the machinery that makes the operations possible, but it is useless without software. Think of your skiing technique as the software that enables the machinery to function and optimize its capacity.

Sometimes we upload a little bit too much technical information into our brains and the actual skiing movement easily becomes slightly awkward, slow or just unnatural, just like with our computers. More programs in the system is not always a guarantee of performance, speed and function or in a nutshell...more fun!

Maybe more often we have the latest hardware (equipment), but we are unable to utilize them due to gaps in our technique. More advanced skis often require more from our software. Please correct us if we are wrong?

We feel like our bodies are the same way. Just like computers, we have hardware (muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, etc.). These are the things that we have no control over (either thank or blame your parents!). Our genetics cannot be changed, even though in a computer you may start swapping our various components. Some would like to be able to do this to their own bodies! Exercise is a vital part of keeping your hardware healthy because if you don't use it you will certainly lose it. However, there is a huge variety of movements and exercises one can do. When the right type of exercises are performed, you have the equivalent of the latest software "upgrades" to use with your hardware. When a strong and durable hardware carries functional software, you have a combination that produces athletic and efficient movement.

A lot of the traditional weight lifting, bodybuilding and fitness training have been heavily based on building the hardware of the movement machinery. A focus on attenpting to change one's hardware has proved to be ineffective. So then how do I upgrade my software to compliment my high performance hardware?

We think of functional movements as programs that you can "upload" in order to make physical activity more efficient and safe. This has to do a lot with the neurological components of movement and the effects on the body. When the brain and neurological system is communicating well with the rest of the hardware, movement reaches its optimal potential.

“Traditional” training methods, Functional training, Motor skill enhancement, Movement skill training etc. can ALL help the body to produce combinations where the best possible performance can occur with the least amount of damage to the body. Providing your body (all it's systems...neuromuscular, skeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, etc.) with the proper stimulation from training will produce results that are long lasting.

Injuries will always happen, some of them could have been prevented, a lot of them certainly not. In the high intensity contact sports, such as football or ice-hockey, often the most successful and credible conditioning coaches are the ones that can minimize the amount of injuries. Prioritizing injury prevention over performance enhancement might have to be a paradigm shift that a recreational athlete should have to consider as well. After all, it might just be two different words for the same end goal.

To conclude, we all look to get into the latest gear with the best technology. Very often, our bodies are not capable of handling the large "upgrade" in gear and often results in failure (a.k.a. injury). Could we be injuring ourselves in search of the perfect setup that will make us better skiers or riders? Perhaps a better question may be...by "upgrading" our software, could we get better ski performance while using inferior equipment (or not the latest and the greatest)?

Great feedback everyone and as always -- its been very educational to get everyone's thoughts.

Train Hard and Ski Harder!
The SNOtrainers
post #30 of 32
well i'm sitting here with a damaged PCL .I have to wear a brace when skiing to protect it but i still managed to give it a serious tweak and i'm still suffering 6 weeks later. In my case it was classic cause.Had lunch , end of day tired and decided to ski down the mountain through heavy slop.Section of the mountain at the bottom required that you gained alot of speed to make it up the hill the other side .Lots of people were trudging up so i decided to get into a tuck early and really get some speed up .Lost a ski as i plowed into alot of wet snow and then it caught and twisted my knee before coming off.

basically my fault for still skiing when so tired and in crappy conditions - should have got the Gondola down with the rest of my party.Also my bindings are ramped up for off piste skiing din10 and i think if the ski had broke away earlier it would have been better
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