Ski equipment, common upper extremity injuries and their prevention.

Skiing requires a fair amount of equipment to be able to enjoy it. After purchasing your skis, bindings and boots, you will then need your poles, helmet, goggles and gloves. In this blog series we are going to try to help you when it comes to decision making when purchasing your ski equipment.

Ski Equipment:

Ski poles:

They are an extremely important piece of ski equipment. When used properly they will help you to maintain your balance, improve your cornering and add to acceleration when needed. There are many sizes, shapes and weight of ski poles available. When choosing the pole size it is recommended to hold the pole upside down just below the pole basket, which is a round, disk like piece which prevents the pole from dipping too deep into the snow. From there your elbows should be at approximately 90 degrees or your forearms parallel with the floor. Once you get the basic size right you can then make a decision if you want to upsize or downsize. Upsizing the poles is useful for cross country skiing and if you like to turn while having your pole planted. Downsizing is useful if you like to ski in a variety of terrains or skiing in a deep snow. As you can see buying poles can be a tough decision, hence, think it through thoroughly and ask shop staff for help if you feel like you need some.


The Portland injury lawyers for hire suggest that the helmet is the key piece of ski equipment for head and neck injury prevention as they have discovered this truth by handling many cases related to ski-injuries. There are various sizes and three different types of helmets which are in-mould, hard-shell and hybrid. 

  • In mould helmet is relatively lighter, has good durability and better ventilation.
  • Hard shell helmet is great value for money, durable but has less ventilation.
  • Hybrid helmet is a great combination of both having good durability and ventilation without being too heavy.

When selecting a fit for your helmet you will have to measure your head size. To do that wrap a tape measure around your head through the middle of your forehead just above the ears. Measurements should be taken in centimetres as most of the helmet sizes are using metric units. After putting the helmet on ensure that there are no loose areas between your head and helmet and that it feels cosy and comfortable. It is also a good idea to try your helmet with goggles on to ensure that they fit together comfortably.


Are an important piece of ski equipment for performance and comfort of vision in the snow. They usually come in two shapes, cylindrical and spherical. Cylindrical lens goggles are usually carved from a flat sheet and are cheaper. They can result in some degree of distortion, a misleading view in the periphery of the vision whereas spheric lens goggles are cut from a ball shape rather than flat sheet which allows for wider peripheral vision and less distortion. The skiing weather conditions can impact the choice of your tints as more colourful tints are better in bright and sunny conditions as it reflects the sun rays more effectively than dark tint lenses. 


Must be waterproof and wind proof to allow you the comfort on the slopes and prevent ‘freezing’ of your hands as it would significantly impact your skiing. There are a huge variety of gloves to choose from, hence, our general advice is to have something comfortable that fits your skiing style. For instance, if you are a beginner, you might want to consider longer cuffed gloves as they help you to keep the snow out during falls better than short cuffed gloves. Some gloves have a variety of accessories including things such as nose wipers, retaining clips and loop.

Common upper extremity injuries:

There are few upper extremity injuries which could be related to skiing. The vast majority of injuries occur because of falling, improper use of poles and collisions. Here we will give you some general advice on how to try and avoid sustaining these injuries and show you a few exercises to strengthen the most affected areas. 

Ulna collateral ligament sprain:

Is a tear or a partial tear of the ligament on the inner part of the elbow. 

  • Symptoms: you may or may not feel or hear a pop or tear when the injury occurs (check here to know what the experts say about this). You might observe some swelling and tenderness on the inner part of the elbow. Moreover, you might not be able to fully straighten you elbow and feel like your grip is weakened. You might occasionally feel some tingling in your little and part of the ring fingers.
  • Causes: falling on an outstretched arm with the pole in your hand.
  • Prevention: Let go of the pole when falling. Try to avoid having poles with wrist straps. Be in control while skiing, try not to go too fast so that you avoid falling. 

Acromioclavicular joint separation/subluxation/fracture:

Is an injury to one of your shoulder joints. It is a small joint at the top of your shoulder which connects the collar bone to your shoulder blade. People can click to read more tips here for the best injury related lawyers. 

  • Symptoms: You might observe swelling, tenderness and bruising at the top of your shoulder. If the joint has separated you might also see a visual deformity. Moving the shoulder would be painful.
  • Causes: Falling and landing directly on the shoulder or during a strong collision directly impacting the shoulder.
  • Prevention: Skiing at the appropriate speed, working to improve your control on the snow, knowing your limits. Strengthening exercises can help to strengthen the shoulder providing with more stability, hence, reducing the risk of injury.

Glenohumeral joint anterior dislocation or subluxation:

Is a potential dislocation of the shoulder or significant strain of the joint capsule which surrounds the joint to allow it stability.

  • Symptoms: Severe shoulder pain, you will see bruising and swelling around your shoulder. You will feel weakness in your arm, hand and neck and your arm might appear to be in a wrong place.
  • Causes: Pole being caught in the snow and pulling the arm out and backwards or falling on an outstretched arm.
  • Prevention: Try to avoid using wrist straps, work on your skiing technique and know your ability. Try to avoid skiing on an unfamiliar terrains and too fast. Some exercises can also help to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder providing more stability.

We hope this information is useful for you. If you need more information about ski equipment or any of our treatments, please contact us. We are always happy to help.

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