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Prevent a Knee Injury this Ski Season

With winter well & truly set in, it can only mean one thing…. NSW ski season begins.

Skiing allows us to let loose down the slopes at high speeds, enjoy the sights but most important of all leave the hussel and bussel of the city and have fun. But in saying that accidents can happen while you’re down there and unfortunately it may lead to an injury. As the winter rolls on we begin to see more and more skiing-related injuries & although some of these can be prevented through undergoing training in the summer months, whether it be Pilates or gym work for most of you; some injuries can be accidental and just plain unlucky.

Knee injuries to the ligaments that surround the knee account for a large proportion of the ski-related injuries that we see in the clinic; with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture being a common sight. Ski-related injuries can also include bone, muscle or cartilage damage. The repetitive twisting and turning of the knee while skiing as well as for some; the variety of ways to fall over and land on the knee could lead you to stress or strain the structures in and around the knee.

A recent visit to a prominent knee surgeon in Sydney who specialises in ACL’s, mentioned that a simple on-field warm-up program can reduce non-contact ACL injuries. Primarily it should be targeted at people who have undergone an ACL reconstruction in the past or those who compete in sports which are known to lead to significant knee injuries. He advocated for the “PEP Program” which stood for; Prevent injury Enhance Performance.

This program was developed in the USA through assessing and treating 1435 female NCAA student-athletes who had ruptured their ACL. The program has 5 principals involving a warm up, stretching, strengthening, plyometrics and agility drills. It was found that this program reduces non-contact ACL injuries by upwards of 70% and for those with a prior ACL injury; it reduces the risk of a recurrent non-contact injury by 5 times (Gilchrist 2008).

Before you head down to the slopes take a quick moment to look at the video, it runs for 4 minutes demonstrating each component of the program. It is a useful injury prevention tool for all those people young and old who will be venturing down to the snow this winter and with fingers crossed don’t come back into see us with a knee injury.

Happy Skiing!