Ski season is here. For most of us from Southern California, we get to ski for only a handful of days per year, whether a 1 week trip to Lake Tahoe or Mammoth or a single day trip to the local slopes. Thanks to improvements in ski equipment and bindings, lower extremity fractures have become much less common. The most common injuries now are ligamentous injuries to the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee.
MCL tears usually occurs when the lower leg moves out in relation to the knee with the ski moving in an outward rotation while twisting the knee out with it. ACL tears usually occur because of a rotational force to the knee when turning, or a hyperxtension injury. Most MCL ligament can heal on their own but ACL tears are more problematic and may require surgery. In an ACL tear, the person usually hears a snap sensation deep in the knee joint. ACL tears are usually accompanied by MCL sprain or tears and meniscal tears. They will also contribute to early osteoarthritis of the knee joint.
Must do things to reduce chance for injury (especially for most of us weekend warriors including me!!):
Make sure you began training your skiing muscle 4 weeks prior to your ski trip. These include the hamstrings, quadriceps and adductor muscles.
Aerobic training, running, or bicycling is a great way to build up stamina of your ski muscles and be able to handle a few days on the slopes.
Make sure you stretch consistently in the weeks prior to your trip and every morning before skiing for 15-20 minutes.
Rest!!! Most injuries occur when your muscles are fatigued. Make sure you get enough rest between sessions, or even take a day off when you are skiing many back to back days.
Being an MSK radiologist, I love to learn more about the mechanism of injuries with different sports. Take a look at this great article form the American Journal of Radiology about sports and knee injury patterns.
Posted on behalf of Advanced Healing Institute
22972 El Toro Road
Lake Forest, CA, 92630
Phone: (949) 239-3206