ACL tears often leave sufferers with enduring weakness and instability in the knee, leading many to ask, ‘can you ski with an ACL injury?’ Given that damaged knees are far more susceptible to further injury and that skiing is a high-energy sport requiring a lot of bending, pivoting and jumping, this level of caution is justified.
However, you will be glad to know that skiing with an ACL injury is possible. With the help of knee braces for skiing, you can return to the slopes feeling confident that your injury is fully supported and protected. The right knee brace minimises instability and can even enhance performance, helping you return to an activity level that is close to your original one.
Skiing with an ACL Injury: What to Remember
If your ACL tear was serious enough that surgery has been advised, we strongly recommend that you undergo the full procedure and complete the course of rehabilitation before returning to skiing. This will repair most of the damage that you sustained previously while helping to protect your knee against further injury.
Knee Braces for Skiing
If the injury was not serious enough to require surgery or you have already completed surgery and rehabilitation, a good ACL knee brace will provide you with the additional stability, protection and support that you need. This should be firm and durable to absorb the high activity impact, yet lightweight to maximise restriction of unwanted movement, with torsional support across the knee to replace the loss of control provided by the injured ligament(s).
Your knee brace needs to be completely adjustable for the perfect fit, allowing loading from the knee to be distributed evenly. At the same time, it should have adequate space to accommodate any potential muscle build. There are many great manufacturers and you should seek advice regarding the best brace for you and your style. One of the best all-round performers is the Armor FourcePoint™ brace from DonJoy, which is perfect for skiing with an ACL tear.
Preventing Further Knee Injuries While Skiing
Vermont Ski Safety, a manufacturer of niche, safety-related products for skiing, has a useful guide to reducing the risk of knee injury on the slopes. Besides ensuring that your skiing equipment is in good condition and having your bindings checked, you should also:
- Avoid needlessly high-risk behaviour, e.g. don’t jump unless you know how to land
- Routinely correct poor skiing technique, e.g. hips below the knees or arms behind your back
- Learn to recognise and respond quickly to potentially dangerous situations
Their guide explains each of these steps in full and gives examples to show how they might play out in real-life situations. This can be found here.
While this guide provides some useful tips to help you become more aware of your technique in order to reduce the risk of further injury, it doesn’t cover all the ways in which skiers can be injured, nor how to fall, when to fall, or how to stop after a fall. For at least your first few sessions back on the slopes, we recommend that you seek out a professional instructor who will be able to advise you on further strategies for preventing knee injuries when skiing.
Taking all of the necessary steps above will ensure that you’re doing everything you can to reduce the risk of further damage when skiing with an ACL injury. This in turn will help to enhance your stability and endurance, and can even enable you to improve your performance level and rebuild the muscles in the affected area(s).
If you’re in need of high quality knee braces for skiing, Technology in Motion can help. We supply ACL knee braces from DonJoy, Össur, Medi and many other top manufacturers, providing sound, clinically informed advice along every step of the way.
Call 0330 100 1800 to arrange an appointment at one of our UK clinics.