Tips to Prevent Skiing-Related Knee Injuries This Winter

The most common skiing injuries happen to the lower limb, typically the knee. Knee sprains (including ACL and/or MCL tears) account  for about 30% of all skiing injuries. If you get a knee sprain while skiing this winter don’t hesitate to seek out a ski doctor in the bay area.

The most common injury is the MCL (medial collateral ligament) tear. It is typically treated without surgery. MCL tears are more common among beginning and intermediate skiers. They can be prevented by making sure body weight is balanced in the snow plow position, a common technique to slow down or stop. Also, novice skiers should stick to terrain that is a comfortable challenge but not overwhelming.

The second most common injury is the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear. ACL tears often require surgery. There are two ways that skiers most commonly sustain this injury. One is landing a jump in poor form. Learn to land safely, with your weight forward. Start with simple jumps and gradually advance to more difficult jumps.

The “phantom foot” phenomenon often happens when skiers try to stand up to prevent an unavoidable fall. An ACL injury often results from the arms and trunk rotating away from a weight bearing leg. Never try to stand up during a fall. Accept what’s unavoidable and go with the momentum of a fall while maintaining good ski technique.

Preventing injury on the slopes

Remember the keys to effective skiing technique: hands and weight forward, legs parallel, and hips, knees, and ankles flexing equally.

Stay on marked trails: Going into ungroomed territory with obstacles such as trees and rocks increases likelihood of injuries.

Following preventative measures might not spare you from ski injuries. If one occurs, you’ll want to seek out a ski doctor in San Francisco with experience healing ACL and/or MCL tears.

Getting ready for the slopes

Three to four weeks of aerobic training such as walking, elliptical, or biking can be excellent ways to build tolerance for a full day of skiing.

Make sure ski boots, bindings, and ski length are fit and appropriate for your height and skill level. Wear a helmet. Wrist guards are a good idea if snowboarding.

Learn proper technique: Take a class with a professional before you hit the slopes.

Exercises to Condition Core and Lower Extremities

A few simple exercises can prepare your core and lower extremities for skiing.

Squats

Do 10-15 repetitions, then hold midway in the squat until you are fatigued. Repeat 3 times.

Side-to-Side Skaters

Work up to doing this for 2 minutes. Don’t rush. The slower you go, the more difficult the exercise is. A resistance band around your waist can help accomplish this.

Side plank

Start by lying on your side with your knees bent, propping yourself up on one elbow. Then increase difficulty by starting with your knees straight.

Do You Do Need a Great Ski Injury Doctor in San Francisco?

Have a great time with winter sports this season and remember that even with proper equipment and technique, you may still injure your knee while skiing. Then you’ll want to see a top knee injury doctor in the bay area.  Contact Dr. Jeffrey Halbrecht for a consultation if you become injured this winter.