Kootenai | Kootenai Health | Issue 4, 2019

Sports injury? Kootenai Health Rehabilitation Services can help get you back on your feet. Visit KH.org/rehab or call (208) 625-5311 to learn more. How can I strengthen my knees to prevent injuries this ski season? Don’t look now, but ski and snowboard season is fast approaching! In light of the impending resumption of winter sports, we should think about preparing for the season. Skiing and snowboarding are dynamic activities that place high demands on many structures and systems throughout the body, especially the legs. In fact, the knee is one of the most injured areas of the body for all skiers, with the ACL, MCL and meniscus being the structures most often involved. Luckily, there are many ways to help prevent injury to the knee during ski and snowboard season. Many knee injuries happen, in part, because of strength deficits, muscle imbalances and decreased endurance in the hip, leg or core. To limit the likelihood of injury, addressing these contributing factors will help. I suggest enrolling in an exercise plan to help prepare your muscles and joints for these activities. Walk, run, bike, swim or perform other cardiovascular exercise to help prepare your body for the cold and the exercise inherent in skiing and snowboarding. Also, strength and agility training focused on the hip muscles, legs and core can be beneficial. In particular, performing squats, lunges (both forward and to the side), box jumps, step-ups or stairs, and calf raises can help prepare your legs for the rigors of winter sports. These will help stabilize and protect the knee from changes in terrain and forces from multiple angles. Abdominal and core strengthening is also important to limit balance loss and unnecessary falls. Some options include planks, crunches, trunk rotation, and pulling and pushing activities such as pushups and pull-ups. The bottom line is to be active and prepare your body for the sports you enjoy via a combination of cardiovascular, strength and agility training. Ask the Expert Q Lucas Hammond, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT Kootenai Health Rehabilitation Services, Riverstone 22