The Most Common Ski Injuries and How to Treat Them

Bay Area Ski Doctor on Bodily Damage Suffered on the Slopes

Alpine (downhill) skiing continues to increase in popularity as a recreational sport. Thanks to faster ski lifts, the expansion of trails, and slope design, many more people are heading out to the snow. Ski boots have also undergone a dramatic improvement, having evolved from a soft leather cut to mid-calf plastic boots that firmly support the lower leg and ankle. Such advancements have decreased the amount of ski injuries, but not addressed them completely. There are still a fair amount of ski injuries that take place on an annual basis. Below, you will find some of the most common injuries seen by many a ski doctor.


Falls account for nearly 75–85% of all snow injuries, which leads to sprains, fractures, lacerations, and dislocations. Many skiers will experience a knee injury from time to time, such as damages to the MCL or a torn ACL. This can occur from a backward fall, or a sudden twist of the lower leg away from the upper leg. Injuries like these often require medical care and rehabilitation under the supervision of a cartilage specialist or orthopedic surgeon.

Fractures of the femur and tibia are also very common with violent twisting falls or collisions. Older skiers are prone to more fractures if they suffer from brittle bones. High speed collisions with stationary objects can cause serious injury and trauma to vital organs, thus requiring immediate emergency care and medical evaluation.

30–40 of all injuries occur to the upper extremities. The ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb is particularly vulnerable. Injury to the thumb is the most common, second only to MCL injuries of the knee. If a thumb is vigorously yanked outward, it can injure the joint. Thumb sprains are ranked in degrees: first, second, and third. Injuries to the thumb can be serious, and if not treated properly may lead to disability. No matter how serious the injury, a protective case is used in almost all cases to properly treat the thumb. The amount of cast time required depends on the severity of the injury.

San Francisco ACL Specialist is Expert in Ski Injuries

To learn the best ways to prevent ski injuries, contact a ski doctor at IASM for advice. If you are experiencing chronic pain or discomfort from a recent ski injury, call your local snow sports injury and torn ACL specialist at (415) 923-0944 for quality professional care.

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