Watch Out on the Slopes

Skiing is great. Until you have actually ridden a chairlift to the summit of a slope, looked out over the dazzling whiteness, and sped to the earth under your own power, you cannot truly appreciate the allure of the slopes.

But skiing is also dangerous. We know this already: it remains one of the most common culprits for orthopedic injuries in the U.S.. This is particularly true during the high season when more Americans hit the mountain for the very first time – and the mountain hits them back.

That season is now extending, thanks in part to shifting climate patterns which have kept the snowpack high at a number of top slopes across the country this year. More families are finding time to ski than ever before, which means more injuries are appearing late in the spring season.

The best advice for kids and families is also the simplest – exercise caution:

“Because of the high speeds that are traveled, it can go from a mild injury – bruises and sprains – to severe fractures that require surgery or head injuries that lead to bleeding in the brain,” says Dr. Zaslow, in a statement. She said novice skiers and snowboarders are less likely to have mastered the skills needed to avoid obstacles and fall down safely.

I have seen a number of major ski injuries at my San Diego orthopedic surgery offices, and I can tell you that you want to avoid living with that kind of pain. Seek good instruction, stay within your skill level, and reach out to a skilled sports medicine expert if you have any concerns about the way you ski.

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