• Nuffield Hospital Leeds

    2 Leighton street, Leeds, LS1 3EB
    Main switchboard: 0113 388 2000
    Out-patient bookings: 0113 388 2067

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    BMI The Duchy Hospital Harrogate

    Queens Road, Harrogate, HG2 OHF
    Main switchboard: 01423 567136
    Out-patient bookings: 0808 101 0337

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    Spire Methley Park Hospital

    Methley Lane, Methley, Leeds, LS26 9HG
    Main switchboard: 01977 518518
    Out-patient bookings: 01977 518518

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  • Skiing Injuries

    The knee specialists at The Yorkshire Knee Clinic are kept busy
    in the winter and spring months with injuries from the ski slopes.
    Female skiers are particular at risk from ACL injures.

    Although a third of all skiing injuries affect the knee it is important
    to recognise that given the number of people who enjoy skiing and
    other active winter sports, serious injuries are uncommon.

    Preventative Measures

    • Perform pre-trip exercises for six to eight weeks before departure (these can be provided by a specialist physiotherapist).
    • Ensure all equipment (especially ski bindings) are professionally fitted and well-maintained.
    • Moderate alcohol during the day, as research has shown that excess alcohol contributes to a higher percentage of hospital admissions after lunch.
    • Beware of fatigue and don’t do that last run if you’re feeling tired.

    If you are unfortunate enough to pick up an injury, it is vital that you get a proper diagnosis as soon as possible from a specialist to avoid further damage. With the exception of fractures, immediate surgical treatments are rarely necessary and in the case of ACL reconstruction, early surgery can result in poorer outcomes. A simple brace and crutches are usually enough to protect the knee during travel. It is vital to get clear diagnosis from a specialist upon return home.

    Most Common Injuries

    Most ligament injuries whilst skiing are sustained by falling and the ski not releasing.

    MCL (medial collateral ligament) sprain/tear

    Simple sprains can be managed actively with the help of a physiotherapist and early mobilisation. More major tears however require a hinged brace (splint), which needs to be provided within a week or so. With bracing most MCL injuries heal and patients make an excellent recovery. Delays in diagnosis, however, can lead to an unstable knee sometimes requiring knee ligament surgery with less predictable results.

    More on MCL/PCL & Complex Ligament Injuries

    ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) rupture

    A rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the most serious ligament injury, can cause the knee to become unstable particularly when twisting – a key action for turning on the slopes. Longer term, it increases the risk of the knee wearing out early (osteoarthritis). These injuries can be managed with physiotherapy alone or a combination of physiotherapy and ACL reconstruction surgery. Early knee specialist advice is critical to make the best possible recovery but beware of being pressurised into ACL surgery abroad.

    More on ACL Injuries

    Knee Meniscus (cartilage) tears

    The twisting nature of skiing falls can lead to tears in one of the two menisci (cartilages). These can vary from small tears which cause discomfort but no locking to larger tears which can lock the knee. The small tears can heal and symptoms settle down but if discomfort continues to limit activities over 4-6 weeks then treatment including knee arthroscopy (simple keyhole surgery) may be advised. ‘Locked’ knees which cannot be fully straightened require urgent assessment within a week or two and often early arthroscopic knee surgery is advised to try to save the meniscus and/or to restore movement.

    More on Meniscal Cartilage Injuries