Let's Hit the Slopes
Snow skiing and snowboarding are popular winter activities, but both come with inherent risks. Modern equipment helps lessen the number of injuries; however, there are many ways to be injured while skiing, including falls, collisions with objects and other skiers, and ski lift injuries.
Knee injuries are common in snow sports, especially in the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
MCL injuries most often occur when a skier stays in the snowplow position for lengthy periods of time or from a twisting fall. Sprains of the MCL can, in most cases, be treated conservatively with rest and bracing.
ACL injuries can occur by falling backward while the lower leg moves forward or when the lower leg is twisted. Some ACL injuries can be treated with conservative methods such as bracing and physical therapy, but they are more likely to require surgical treatment than MCL injuries.
In general, before skiing or snowboarding, be sure to adequately warm up, stretch, and ensure that you are in good physical shape.
Hydration is important for all sports. Skiing and snowboarding are no exception. Be sure to drink water before, during, and after skiing or boarding.
Check that all equipment is properly maintained and fitted before you ski or board, and dress in loose, waterproof layers so you can maintain a comfortable temperature the entire day. If you are new to the slopes, try taking a skiing or snowboarding lesson to learn the rules, safety tips, and how to fall correctly to minimize injuries.
See a Specialist
To consult a sports medicine provider, please request an appointment online, or call 888-660-2663.
Once you have scheduled your appointment, please use the link below to obtain our new patient forms and browse through our tips and preparation suggestions for your appointment.
“I'm an active 52 year old and love to run, bike and cross-country ski. In February, I fell while skate skiing at Mt. Spokane. Not realizing the extent of my injuries, I continued to cross-country ski and fell again several weeks later, injuring the same knee. I stopped all serious activities because my knee felt unusual. I convinced myself that time would heal my knee. I started walking and biking instead. My husband finally convinced me to go to the doctor in May and an MRI showed a complete ACL tear. My longtime running friend, Erin, who is a Physical Therapist recommended Dr. Kody to do my surgery. She had previously observed a surgery with him while in physical therapy school. I have been very impressed with the skill and professionalism of Dr. Kody, Nicole, and the entire staff at Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists. My ACL reconstruction (hamstring graft) went well and I'm currently undergoing rehabilitation at Parkside Physical Therapy. I have some hard work ahead of me, but I'm convinced I'll be good as new. Within the athletic community, I will recommend Dr. Kody to everyone I meet. His professionalism, sense of humor, and good listening skills make him an excellent surgeon. You can tell that he enjoys what he does for a living. From easy parking to minimal wait times, my entire experience at Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists has been great. Thank you Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists for turning what could be a difficult time into a pleasant experience.” — Ann H.
“I first met Dr. Padrta the night I shattered my leg and ankle in a hockey game. He told me the night he met me that I might consider amputation. He didn't sugar coat the fact that my break was one of the worst he had seen. I had a compound comminuted fracture of both my tibia and fibula, which required seven surgeries and a grueling recovery that lasted nearly two years. Since my bone had come in contact with my hockey pads, I developed a staff infection, which threatened me being able to keep my leg. But Dr. Brian Padrta never lost hope and tenaciously worked his magic with the help of his sidekick and physician assistant Todd Ostle. Together, they knew my leg and ankle intimately. Through the seven surgeries, I underwent the implantation and eventual removal of 34 screws, three metal plates, and other fixation hardware. I fought the infection with picc-line antibiotics; two bone grafts, and a lot of dedication. Near the end of my ordeal, I was faced with the option of fusing my ankle, or a below the knee amputation. I was in such severe pain that I seriously considered the amputation. But Dr. Padrta's recommendation was that I fuse the ankle and that is the option I chose. I am so happy to say that 8 months after my fusion, I am back to walking without pain. And I mean without pain. I have biked all spring and summer, building back the muscles in my leg. Just last week, I returned to my passion in life, which is hunting chukar partridges in the Salmon River breaks. I am sharing a picture of this past weekend and I want you to see what I did. I climbed up from the river 2,000 feet to the ridge we hunted on uneven and rocky terrain. I walked and hunted for miles this trip, including experimenting with a 45-pound pack that I hiked out 3.5 miles, including a 2,500-foot gain in elevation. This winter, I intend to return to snow skiing after a two-year hiatus and I can't wait to strap on my skis. I will say that my days of playing in the men's hockey league are over, but I intend to ice skate with my daughters this winter when our lake freezes over. To Dr. Padrta, Todd Ostle, nurse Barb, and all the rest of the team who helped me through my ordeal, I owe you a huge debt of gratitude. When I was at my lowest, you propped me up, and never lost hope. Your expertise is amazing. I thank you for my functioning leg. I am really glad it is still here.”— Patrick L.