Dr Stuart Myers

12. Prevention of Injury

I.   Ski Pole straps
II.  Thumb Splints
III. Steering wheels / driving


I. Ski pole Straps:

It is best to avoid using ski pole straps altogether. It greatly increases the risk of sustaining a Skier’s thumb in the event of a fall. While Skiers should be taught to consciously discard the ski pole during falls this is often not practical.

However many people use the straps for practical reasons because it reduces the chances of losing the stocks in a fall. This is particularly relevant when skiing on steep terrain and in deep powder snow. Their correct use is vital to reduce the risk of injury.

Correct pole grip.

Pass the hand UP through the strap from below and grip the pole handle


This is an incorrect grip:

Here the hand has been passed DOWN through the strap. On falling if the pole is released it will fall between the thumb and first finger and increases the risk of causing thumb or finger injury.


II. Thumb Splints / Strapping

For most sports preventative taping is of marginal benefit. If you have previously sustained a Skiers thumb then it is highly desirable to strap your thumb whenever playing ball sports such as rugby league , rugby union, basketball or AFL. Preventative taping can be very effective in improving thumb joint stability and preventing further Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries. Also for skiers the use of a thumb splint or strapping is indicted if you have previously injured your thumb.


III. Grip on Steering Wheels

You can prevent thumb injuries during a motor vehicle accident by keeping your thumbs on the outside of the steering wheel along with your fingers. This is particularly seen when the tyre hits the curb and the steering wheel rotates rapidly.


This new routine will require a conscious effort because most drivers are taught to grip the steering wheel in a fashion similar to a ski pole.


LAST UPDATED ON 28 / 2 / 15