Knee injuries are the most common major injury sustained by skiers
They account for around a third of all ski injuries, with the ligaments most commonly affected. The most serious knee ligament injury is a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which results in problems with twisting and a high risk of the knee wearing out early (osteoarthritis).
Before deciding to cancel your ski trip in favour of something safer, however, it’s important to define the risk of injury – it is extremely low. The chance of a skier sustaining a serious injury is only three in every 1,000 ski-days. On average, you would have to ski for about 2,100 days to sustain an ACL rupture.
While a skiing knee injury is often just bad luck – with many ACL injuries occurring on lower slopes where a fall is not fast enough for skis to come off – there are some simple things you can do to reduce the chances of injury:
- Exercise for six to eight weeks before departure. For many people,their one week’s skiing is the most intense exercise they will do all year so their muscles are more susceptible to injury.
- Beware of fatigue and don’t attempt that last run if you’re feeling tired. Exercise advice can be provided by chartered sports physiotherapists in practice across the UK.
- Ensure all equipment is professionally fitted and well maintained, especially ski bindings.
- Drink alcohol in moderation during the day. Research has shown that excess alcohol contributes to a higher percentage of hospital admissions after lunch.
If you are unlucky enough to sustain a knee injury, early specialist advice is critical to make the best possible recovery. Many ski resorts have experienced doctors to assess and provide initial treatment, but beware of being coerced into surgery. Immediate surgical treatments are rarely necessary following skiing injuries (with the exception of fractures) and often a simple brace and crutches will allow time for reflection over the different treatment options available once you have consulted an expert.
The Yorkshire Knee Clinic can help winter sports enthusiasts return to fitness and get back on the slopes quickly following skiing injuries.
The experienced consultants, Stuart Calder (Leeds) and Nick London (Harrogate), supported by dedicated sports physiotherapists, can treat all serious injuries, often without the need for surgery. They offer fast appointment times so patients can immediately access the latest imaging (including ultrasound and MRI) and offer the most up-to-date proven surgical techniques.
Skiing Knee Injuries
When you return home, it's important to seek swift diagnosis & treatment from your knee specialist
Visit The Knowledge Hub
Helpful information about knee conditions, injuries, treatments & recovery
Here are some of our knee specialists’ most frequently asked questions for some of our most common procedures