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Stay Safe on the Slopes

Posted 2/3/2015 by UHBlog

Always get your doctor’s okay before starting a new exercise routine.

Winter is in full swing and the cold temperatures are making it easy for either Mother Nature or snow machines to cover the slopes in powder. Whether you’re a seasoned skier or snowboarder, or you’re new to these popular wintertime sports, these tips from orthopaedic surgeon Daniel Zanotti, MD, can help you stay safe on the slopes.

“One of the things that people may not realize is how physical skiing and snowboarding are,” says Dr. Zanotti of University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center, Center for Orthopedics. “Taking time to prepare your body is an important part of these activities.” Dr. Zanotti recommends stretching for five to 10 minutes before skiing or snowboarding in order to get your body loose. “During these activities, you’re engaging muscles you don’t normally use, which means you’re less agile and more prone to injury,” he says.

First, warm up your muscles and get some blood flowing, perhaps with jumping jacks, and then start stretching. Your knees take most of the impact when skiing or snowboarding, so Dr. Zanotti suggests stretching your hamstrings, quads, calves and Achilles. After you’re finished for the day, be sure to take a few minutes to stretch these muscles and tendons again. Dr. Zanotti also recommends that patients who ski or snowboard work on strengthening their core muscles throughout the year, not just during ski season. “Not only does it help you maneuver through deep snow, it helps with posture and reduces back pain,” says Dr. Zanotti.

Concussions and other injuries can often be prevented or lessened with the use of properly fitted equipment. “I’ve seen many significant injuries that may have been avoided had the patient worn a helmet,” he says. “It is extremely important to find a vendor that will properly fit your skis, bindings, boots and helmet. Without the proper fit, you can easily lose control.”

Dr. Daniel Zanotti is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine and arthroscopy. He completed a sports medicine fellowship at the prestigious Kerlan-Jose Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles. During that time he served as team physician for the Los Angeles Lakers, Dodgers, Sparks, Galaxy and Kings; as well as the Anaheim Angels and Mighty Ducks.

For an appointment with Dr. Zanotti at UH Elyria Medical Center, Center for Orthopedics, call 440-329-2800.

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