US Olympic Ski Team Physician Sanjeev Bhatia, MD Provides Ski and Snowboard Safety Tips

With ski and snowboard season finally here, Mercy Health Physician and orthopaedic specialist Sanjeev Bhatia, MD has provides the following ski and snowboard tips to keep you healthy and on the slopes this winter.


“Having the right equipment is crucial to reducing the risk of injury in any activity in which you participate,” says Dr. Bhatia, who serves as a team physician to the US Olympic Ski Team. “The most important equipment skiers and snowboarders can have is an appropriate helmet.”


Helmets reduce the risk of serious head injuries in the case of fall or collision with a skier, fellow snowboarder or an object such as a tree, building or other structure. The right helmet should fit snugly, not wobble and feel comfortable. Make sure it fits over your goggles. recommends helmets that meet the European (CE) Standard EN1077 or the American standards ASTM 2040 or Snell RS-98.


“Snowboarding leads to thousands of wrist injuries each year. Because a snowboarders feet are fixed to a board, the snowboarder can’t easily correct a balance issue and tends to fall. Because we instinctively put our hands out to break falls, snowboarders’ wrists are vulnerable to fracture,” says Dr. Bhatia.


To reduce the risk of fracture or other wrist injuries, snowboarders should consider wearing long, flexible wrist guards that protect both the palm and top sides of the wrist. There are a number of wrist guards and gloves available specifically for snowboarders and skiers.


“Skiers need poles because they provide balance and help a skier propel forward on flat snow,” says Dr. Bhatia. “It’s important to have ski poles of the appropriate length and to hold the poles the right way to avoid skiers thumb. Skiers thumb is an injury to the small ligament in the thumb that occurs when a skier falls and his or her thumb is tangled in the pole strap.”


To avoid skier’s thumb, Dr. Bhatia recommends that skiers either avoid using the strap or ensure that their entire hand goes through the strap and that they then grip the pole over the strap.


Finally, it’s important to have the right type of binding for your ski.


“If you fall, the binding should pull away without hurting your knee or causing a ligament injury. You need to ensure your binding is appropriate to your skill level and weight so that the binding releases at the right time to help you avoid injury,” says Dr. Bhatia.


Dr. Bhatia practices from Mercy Health - Cincinnati Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center, Montgomery, located at 10663 Montgomery Road, Suite A, Cincinnati 45242 and Mercy Health - Orthopaedics and Spine, Blue Ash, 4701 Creek Road, Suite 110, Cincinnati 45242.


To learn more about his practice or to make an appointment, please call 513-981-ORTHO (981-6784).