Many people, from beginners to experts, experience a fall now and then while skiing. These falls don’t typically end in any kind of significant injury, but once in a while you may land incorrectly or go down with an excessive amount of force. Twisting as you fall, landing directly on the elbow or shoulder, or trying to catch yourself with an outstretched arm can all be considered bad falls.
Bad falls may result in mild or serious injuries that require medical attention. In these situations, it is usually the shoulder that takes the hard hits, so skiing injuries are typically centered on that area of the body. Let’s take a look at some of the most common skiing injuries below.
Top Skiing Injuries of the Shoulder & Elbow
- Dislocated Shoulder. When skiing, this usually occurs when the ligaments in the shoulder have been stretched or torn in a twisted fall. A shoulder may even become unstable, slipping out of the joint in a frequent manner and causing pain. This injury will also limit the motion of the shoulder and consequently the arm. Treatment begins with physical therapy and rehabilitation, but more severe cases may require minimally invasive surgery to tighten the ligaments.
- Rotator Cuff Injury. A rotator cuff injury typically occurs when the tendons that cover the top of the upper arm are torn partially or completely. It causes pain, muscle weakness, and atrophy. Injuries of this nature can typically be treated through nonsurgical means, such as a sling, rest, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, and physical therapy. Some extreme cases, however, may require arthroscopic surgery.
- Fractures. The two most common fractures that skiers may suffer from include clavicle (collarbone) fractures and proximal humerus fractures. The most prominent symptoms of any shoulder fracture are severe pain, swelling, bruising, and limited motion. Treatment for shoulder fractures of any kind varies greatly on each case, ranging from nonsurgical to surgical means.