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How Best to Hold Ski Poles to Avoid Injury

How Best to Hold Ski Poles to Avoid Injury

They're Doing it From Pole to Pole

pop quiz: for safety never go without your helmet

The best way to hold ski polesSo the results are in. I’ve had 96 responses to my survey asking how and why people hold their ski poles in order to avoid thumb injury.

Of the 96 responses, 48 opted for ‘B’ – exactly 50%, so whilst the clear favourite, not overwhelming!

Second place, with 23 votes (24%) goes to ‘Other’ – which was many people suggesting that straps should be removed completely.

Many thanks for all the great comments and advice also received, mostly via LinkedIn groups.

A summary of those I found most useful/illuminating/interesting follow...

  • Marty tells us that “Most people don’t realize that there is a ‘left’ and ‘right’ ski pole. The straps should be attached to the poles so that on one, the top strap overlays the bottom one to the right, - which makes that the 'right' pole - and on the other pole, to the left - so that becomes the 'left' pole.”
  • Lorenzo highlights the danger of trees; “If you are tree skiing, never use your pole straps, that is also for safety too otherwise you risk getting your arm pulled out of the socket if your pole hooks on to something your forward momentum will yank your arm right out. One should never use pole straps while skiing in the trees because of tree roots and debris under the snow it's easy to get a pole basket caught and with the momentum and force of skiing you can easily rip your arm out or some other injury to your shoulder, arm and or wrist.”
  • Steve pointed out that I have related my crashes in the powder and sore thumb to the pole strap: “I see this as a common misunderstanding. Usually we like to brace our falls with our hands. I would believe that the cause of the sore thumb is the result of using hands to brace the fall. Try keeping your hands gripping the pole, like a fist, and go with the fall much like martial arts.”
  • A few people including Robert and Ron suggested that they “ski with thumbs on top of the grips”.
  • Ralph demonstrated grip B in a video.
  • Robert, Stuart, Roel, Mark, another Robert, Hugh, Marc and Philip, among others, recommend Leki Trigger Poles, available from Snow + Rock

So where does that leave me, my sore thumb and my ski poles?

Four months after the end of my ski-season and my thumb is not quite back to normal: I, pretty much, have full movement back, but am still unable to open tight jars without the help of a man!

My take-out from all the comments is to use grip B on-piste and not to use straps at all when there are obstacles, like trees, around.

Good advice also included that I should learn how to fall ‘properly’; to avoid putting my hands down to break my fall; easier said than done!

pop trivia: “They're doing it from pole to pole” is, did you guess?, from the 1983 hit by Canadian group ‘Men Without Hats’, called... ‘The Safety Dance’.

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