Opinion of the expert in sports health
SKIING The ski season is with us so the time for giving sound advice has arrived. The reason for this is that 30-40000 people in Hungary are injured yearly while skiing. This number could be significantly decreased if people pay attention.
Skis: when buying new skis don’t be too indolent to buy new bindings as well. The new generation of safely unlocking bindings can protect our knees from injury. When choosing skis, expertise, height, weight, favorite skiing technique as well as the ski hill quality counts. With today’s stylish carving skis, ideal turns can be made the size of which are marked on the side of the ski. I suggest using skis with a smaller radius as they are more stable at fast speeds while they are more knee-protective in turns than the classic slalom skis. Special technique is necessary for the extreme carving skis and this should be learned with an instructor. I advise that snowboarding be done only with specialized gloves and boots. Bindings should be adjusted by a specialist. Our weight can change from year to year and dusty bindings can be serviced by specialists under guarantee.
Ski clothing: I am a believer in layering clothes, we can always put an extra sweater, hat or fog glasses into a backpack. Wear a helmet. Always wear UV protective eyewear against harmful sunrays. Ski gloves not only protect against the cold but also against falls. Loosen our ski boots on lifts because our blood circulation can decrease by afternoon in very tight boots. If the weather is nice and sunny, use a high SPF greasy sun cream. Hydrating creams can freeze on the peripheral skin layers in the cold.
Training: I can’t put enough emphasis on the importance of pre-training. The best method of this is bicycling or ski exercises. Training can be begun one month to a month and a half before our ski trip. Warm-up muscles on the ski hill every day before skiing. Warm-up the muscles of the thighs and trunk with movements and stretching.
Insurance: With a couple of thousand forints we can escape from paying huge bills. It is possible that not everyone is familiar with prices, but the mountain rescue in Austria delivers patients to the hospital for many euros. A simple concussion with a couple of days of observation in the traumatology department can cost as much as 200 euros. These have to be paid on the spot. If we have our ski accident under the influence of alcohol, many hospitals do testing and the insurance company will not pay our bill.
Travelling: In the first couple of days we should take things gradually and have a good time. The ski hills will still be there waiting for us. Start on easier shorter runs. Practice stopping on small and on steeper hills. Rest your muscles when tired. Injury is more common on the third ski day as general fatigue sets in at that time.
Ski etiquette: There are unwritten rules on ski hills that are advisable to follow in the interests of safety. In general: don’t stop in the middle of the hill when visibility is poor. In cases where there is a curve in the run, take rest stops on the outer edge of the curve. When arriving at the lift slow down. Watch out for skiers with less experience as their path down the hill is hard to determine in advance. If we are skiing in parallel with someone, be careful not to run into each other in the turns. Snowboarder and skiers with carving skis always turn with a wider curve.
Meals: A large amount of fluid intake is advised (2-2,5 liters) due to the high altitude. Bring chocolate and fruit juice with you. At night, eating pasta can replace the calories burned during the day. Supplementary sport: if possible go swimming at night.
Travelling home: If necessary, only buy a half-day ticket on the last day as it is unsafe to drive hundreds of kilometers when tired. If possible don’t drive home in your ski clothes. Don’t forget that arriving home is also a part of our vacation.
Prior locomotive complaints: If we have complaints with our joints before traveling, see an orthopedic specialist prior to leaving.
Insurance: Get health insurance without delay as any injury can leave us with a big hospital bill. I would like to draw your attention to a new trend that we have noticed over the years as specialists in this field. More and more endoscopic procedures are being performed in Austria for the diagnosis of knee injuries. Unfortunately in most cases ligamental tears which are revealed are not replaced at the time of diagnosis. The patient presents with these to his doctor. However, the final procedure can only be done 6-8 weeks following the diagnostic procedure. Patients lose a lot of time with this. For this reason, I suggest that patients contact their own specialist from the time of injury in the hope that final treatment will occur as soon as possible.
Most common injuries: With the use of modern ski boots, the knee is injured most often. This is followed by limb fractures, concussions, blunt thoracic injuries and different joint dislocations. Among the knee injuries ligament overextension, tears and cartilage injuries occur most commonly.