Skiing is an enjoyable sport but it can also be dangerous if not done correctly and with the proper equipment. The knees are the joints that are usually injured while skiing due to the forces that they have to bear.
Medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries are the most common knee injuries in skiers. These injuries include MCL tears and sprains. MCL sprains, which usually affect beginner and intermediate skiers, develop as a result of excessive force being applied to the knee when the skier falls or their skis cross. Widening of the snowplough stance can also cause these injuries.
Medial collateral ligament sprains can be prevented by conditioning the quadriceps muscles, which are located on the front of the thighs, before hitting the slopes to ski. Correct binding maintenance and release settings can also prevent injuries of the collateral ligaments. In addition, if beginner skiers find that they are about to fall, allowing the fall rather than resisting it can reduce their chances of injuring their collateral ligaments and damaging the knee.
Lateral collateral ligaments (LCL) and anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) can also be damaged while skiing though these injuries are rare. Skiing while wearing knee braces and rear release boots can markedly reduce the risk of developing ligament injuries and protect the knees. Rear release boots should however not be worn when walking, since that can affect the fit and interfere with the release mechanism.
Fractures of the tibia plateau are other injuries that can be sustained by skiers. These injuries can be caused by a bad landing after a jump. The fibula is another bone in the leg which can be fractured while skiing due to the twisting forces generated by falls. These leg fractures can therefore be prevented by inexperienced skiers avoiding high jumps.
Written by: Marian Kim, FizzNiche Staff Writer