Knee braces for skiing and snowboarding injuries


Knee braces for skiing are essential when considering that knee ligament injuries are at the top of skiing and snowboarding injuries, accounting for about one-third of all skiing injuries. A knee brace increases resistance to forces applied to the knee ligaments by 30%, as well as offers extra support to injured knees and prevents knee ligament injury. Medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprains have traditionally been the most common knee injury. The prevalence of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures has been steadily increasing, though, accounting for 10%-15% of skiing injuries. This is partly due to the emergence of boots and bindings that help reduce ankle and shin injuries – the forces that once impacted the ankle and shin now affect the knee joint, especially the ACL.

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In addition to braces, skiers are advised to use ‘multi-mode’ release bindings whenever possible. The risk of ACL injury can also be considerably lowered with rear release boots. Bindings should be given professional maintenance and adjustment every year; non-adjusted or ill-adjusted bindings cause an increase in knee ligament injuries, according to previous research. Skiers should self-examine their bindings daily by stepping into the binding and twisting to the side to release the toe-piece under the control mechanism. To test the heel, the skier should step into the binding and lean forward to release the heel-piece. The toe and the heel should be released when properly adjusted.

Recommended knee braces for skiing and snowboarding injuries

·         Mueller Sports Medicine Inc Hg80 Hinged Knee Brace.

·         Body Sport Compression Knee Brace With Range-of-Motion Hinges.

·         Knee Brace Open Wrap Flexion/Extension.

Medial collateral ligament injuries

MCL sprains may take place if a skier is snow ploughing down a mountain and falls over without changing the position of their body. The faster they go, the more the risk of serious ligament injury.

·         Grade 1 sprains

The ligament is mildly damaged; it has been slightly stretched but remains able to help keep the knee joint stable.

·         Grade 2 sprains

The ligament is stretched so that it becomes loose; often called a partial tear.

·         Grade 3 sprains

The ligament has been split in two and the knee joint is unstable; known as a complete tear.


Anterior cruciate ligament injuries

Three actions have been identified as causes of ACL injuries:

·         Backward twisting fall

-        Attempting to get up while still moving after a fall.

-        Attempting to recover from an off-balance position.

-        Attempting to sit down after losing control.

·         Forward twisting fall

Common among skiers who use skis specifically designed for carving. A bending motion in which the leg twists and rotates outward. It can sprain the ACL if forceful enough.

·         Boot induced anterior draw

Occurs when a skier lands off balance with most of their weight to the rear of the skis. Extending their legs fully may lead the skier to land on the tail of the ski, prompting the back of the boot to push against the calf and shove the tibia forwards, damaging the ACL.

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