Preventing Knee Injuries on the Slopes

Injury Prevention, Knees

Injuries to the knee joint account for 30-40 percent of all skiing injuries. Did you know that most knee injuries are caused due to an inability of the skier to control the position of his / her legs while flying down the slope?

Multiple factors lead to an increase in the likelihood one will sustain a knee injury. However, by improving your muscular endurance (the ability to withstand a loaded position over a duration of time) and increasing stability at the hip and knee, you can reduce your risk of injury.

Check out these tips to decrease your chances of getting an injury on the slopes.

Know when it’s time to rest.
When our bodies are tired, we lose the ability to hold our legs in a good position. Additionally, we lose the ability to react properly to stressful situations.

Get trained by a professional before hitting the slopes.
Adequate conditioning prior to your trip, as well as understanding proper body mechanics while skiing, will reduce your chances of seeing the mountains from a ski medic’s sled.

Increase muscle endurance and proprioception.
It’s simple. Do lots of cardio! Having an improved cardiovascular endurance will assist in your overall ability to ski a long day. Additionally, performing exercises that simulate a skiing movement will train your body specifically to react to uncertainties and withstand prolonged leg work! Proprioception is defined as your nervous system’s way of knowing where your body is in space. For instance, sensory nerve endings travel from your knee to your brain when you step on an uneven surface, allowing you to stabilize and respond without falling. You can find a list of ski-specific TRX exercises on our webpage at

Build core strength and increase stability in your lower extremities.
Poor form is one of the top causes of injury. Many beginner and intermediate skiers use a snow plow or wedge, where you turn the front of your skis in toward each other, to decelerate. Our legs can fall into this same knock kneed position when we are skiing downhill, or even when we are just getting tired. A position that causes your knees to angle inward from your hips places increased stress on the medial ligaments in your knee. This can sprain and eventually tear them! Performing exercises that strengthen the muscles on the outside of your hips as well as your quadriceps will assist in avoidance of this posture.

Secondly, learning the appropriate way to land from a jump will also assist in injury prevention. Proper body mechanics include keeping your weight forward, knees over your toes and maintaining a parallel line from your hip, knee and ankle. When you land with your weight too far back in skis, it presses the calf forward, which when added to increased force, can tear the ACL.

At S2S, our interdisciplinary team of licensed physical therapists, certified personal trainers, certified Pilates instructors and certified performance enhancement specialists are striving to share with you the most current evidence in maintaining a healthy, energetic and injury-free lifestyle! From preventative to restorative, we’ve got you covered!

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