Spring Fever Injury Prevention

By Emma McDonough Physiotherapist

Summer is coming! Rathmines borders the largest salt water lake in Australia and only 30 minutes from the Pacific Ocean. Locally water sports are a common summer past time however there are many injuries that can occur with these water sports.

Water skiing, wake boarding and Surfing injuries

 santaAnkle sprains and strains account for approximately one in five of all water skiing injuries and 1 in 10 wake boarding injuries. As the feet and ankles are bound to the ski, if the ski twists it takes the bound foot with it. A lot of pressure passes through the small ankle ligaments that we use for everyday stability to stand and walk.

Other common injuries for water skiers include sprains and strains of the shoulders. One in 20 injuries on a wake board includes shoulder dislocations. The surfing shoulder is most vulnerable to overuse which can lead to rotator-cuff impingement and tendinitis, resulting in pain in the front shoulder. A chronic condition like this is most commonly seen in beginners (poor paddling technique) and older surfers (years of paddling).


Shoulder strength and core stability are very important for all water sports. Having a strong core allows you to easily stand and ski when being towed behind the boat as well as having strong shoulders to withstand the pull of the tow rope.

Your core is also needed with other balance water sports including surfing and wake boarding where the muscle works to hold your body stable to withstand the unpredictable nature of water and waves.

Below are a few examples of suitable exercises to perform to get you ready for an increased demand on your body. If you are experiencing pain or unsure of the exact technique please seek advice from your physiotherapist.


 Front and Side plank keep core tight. Hold for 1 minute

Can you hold longer than 1 minute? Don’t let pelvis drop!


Rotator cuff

Using a stretchy band attached to your door handle, rotate arm in and out 20 times.



Push upushupsps

Fantastic for core, chest and shoulder strengthening. Try sets of 20.



Core stability exercises for children.bridge

Bridge– Raise bottom off ground and slowly extend right leg. Hold for 5 seconds- don’t let your bottom fall down. Repeat 10 times, repeat left side.


singlelegSingle leg balance with Eyes closed– Can you balance for 30 seconds? This is also very important for your ankles! Try and beat mum and dad


This simple precaution will save your body from injury and improve your performance. Include it in your routine before you ski or surf. Spend 10 minutes going over safety precautions and skier sign language before you ski or checking out the best break before you surf. Use this time to stretch your shoulders and legs.


Triceps Stretch

Hold 30 seconds

Repeat Both Sides


stretch2Rhomboid Stretch

Hold 30 seconds

Repeat Both Sides


Calf stretch. Keeping heels on ground lean forward until you can feel the stretch in your calf.calf

  • Repeat with back leg bent.
  • Repeat both sides
  • Hold 30 seconds

These exercises can help you be stronger and more flexible reducing your chance of injury on the water. These exercises are not specific for everybody. Other important injury prevention measure for water sports include:

  • Having two people in the boat — a driver and a spotter. 
  • Always checking the towline before skiing to make sure it is neither caught in the propeller nor wrapped around the skier. 
  • Keeping a reasonable speed.

If you would like a personalised stretching and strengthening routine please call 4975 1622 to make an appointment with a physiotherapist. Stay safe this summer!