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Many a resident of Munich waits longingly for the first snow and being able to retrieve the skis or snowboard from the basement. As soon as the first snow falls, he hits the slopes: the conditions for a downhill run are ideal! The sun is out; the atmosphere at the bar is intoxicating. Satisfied and with slightly sore muscles, a small reward for the exhilarating hours spent on the slopes, he is homeward bound.

Sounds like a perfect day for winter sports enthusiasts? However, what happens if everything turns out very differently? Skiing and snowboarding are among the riskiest of sports; slight but also more serious injuries are part of the daily routine on the slopes.

1. Ruling out serious injuries by a doctor and/or paramedic

Immediately after an accident it is important that the injury is appropriately treated and looked after. Internal injuries, head and spinal injuries, must be given medical attention immediately.

2. Muscle and ligament injuries

Alongside muscle injuries, broken bones and bruises, ligament ruptures involving the knee joint are very common. If the initial treatment was successful and serious or life-threatening injuries can be ruled out, hasty decisions should nevertheless be avoided. Instead, take time to search out all available treatment options. An injury does not always require surgery. Some ligament injuries involving the knee may not require surgery at all or may benefit from being operated on at a later stage. Make a decision regarding surgery or further treatment only after having spoken to the doctor of your choice.

3. A well-functioning knee offers better surgical outcomes

It is well demonstrated that patients who, prior to surgery, were capable of full knee extension, achieve better post treatment outcomes. Muscle function and coordination can be improved prior to surgery which offers positive effects on rehabilitation after surgical intervention. Alternatively, you may also belong to the group of so-called "copers" who, after a cruciate ligament rupture, can make a return to sports without surgery, unaffected by the injury.

4.   Return to sport and everyday life

Good rehabilitation should be based upon your specific situation and goals. It is important that, at the beginning of your rehab, the injury heals and structures are protected in order for the wound healing process to proceed unhindered. Passive measures can assist with this.  Later on, a gradual increase in weight-bearing activities becomes progressively more important to improve the function of the knee. At every stage of your rehabilitation tests should be used to establish whether targets are being met and whether deficits are evident. This helps you to specifically focus on your particular goals.