Most knee ligament injuries that occur whilst skiing are sustained by falling and the ski not releasing.
MCL (medial collateral ligament) sprain/tear
We’ll help you manage a simple sprain with the help of a physiotherapist. Early mobilisation (i.e. moving around and using the knee) can also help. If our knee specialists diagnose a major tear you will need a hinged brace (splint) and you should be wearing this within a week or so of injury – so it’s important you see your knee consultant as soon as possible. With bracing, most MCL injuries heal and you should make an excellent recovery. Delays in diagnosis, however, can lead to the knee becoming unstable and requiring knee ligament surgery – with less predictable results.
Read more about MCL/PCL & complex ligament injuries
ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) rupture
This most serious of ligament injuries can cause the knee to become unstable particularly when twisting – a key action for turning on the slopes. Longer term, it can also increase the risk of the knee wearing out early (osteoarthritis). At Yorkshire Knee Clinic, we can manage these injuries with physiotherapy alone or a combination of physiotherapy and ACL reconstruction surgery. It’s important to get advice from a specialist knee doctor quickly, but beware of being pressurised into early ACL surgery abroad as this can be counterproductive.
Find out more about ACL Injuries
Knee 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. Small tears can heal and symptoms often settle down, but if discomfort continues to limit activities over 4-6 weeks then your knee consultant may recommend treatment including knee arthroscopy (simple keyhole surgery).
If you can’t straighten your ‘locked’ knee you should call Yorkshire Knee Clinic for an urgent assessment (within a week or two of injury) as early arthroscopic knee surgery may help save the meniscus and/or restore movement.
Read more about meniscal cartilage injuries