Winter is skiers’ favorite season; the cold temperatures bring about snow on our mountain slopes. You are fit and ready. Since you have been training all along in the summer, your gear is prepared, and it’s your season, the skiing season.
In the skiing expedition, the knee joint is crucial, and it can be easily injured. The cushioning disks called menisci separate the lower and the upper bones of our knee.
Tendons, ligaments, and muscles connect the femur, the upper leg bone, and the lower leg bones. The bone surface is surrounded by cartilage; this provides a smooth gliding surface and absorbs shock. Knee injury from skiing results from damage to these structures. Out of the four major ligaments found in the knee, three are the commonly injured which are the medial collateral ligament (MCL), the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
Whether old or young, novice or expert, one common thing among skiers is a knee injury. They make the largest proportion of injuries experienced while skiing. One thing skiers tend to ignore is the force produced at the knee while skiing. During a regular skiing session, 2.5 times your weight is put through your outside leg and knee.
The Common Knee Injury from Skiing
1. Torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament)
This injury most experienced among skiers causes the knee to bend or twist, the signs of ACL are swelling up fast, pain, and these may end up by dropping you in snow. These are experienced when the ACL is completely torn, one of the most crucial knee ligaments. This type of injury should be treated within a week by a knee physiotherapist.
2. Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) skier injury
It is a common knee injury from skiing, and it’s often associated with the snowplow position. MCL can also result from a fall, skis-crossing, and a missed landing on a snowboard. MCL healing process can be managed without surgery when adequately supervised by a physiotherapist.
3. Meniscus cartilage ski injuries
This injury causes the knee to lock due to a piece of meniscus flipped into the joint, preventing the knee’s full straightening. Most large meniscal tears can be repaired through keyhole arthroscopic surgery.
MCL can heal without necessarily going for surgery when appropriately managed. These injuries can be treated with bracing or physiotherapy for around three months or less in most serious cases. Surgery is rarely needed in MCL.
4. Knee cap dislocation (patellar instability)
This injury is the least common among skiers. Kneecap dislocation (patella), also known as patellar subluxation, is experienced when the patella, a triangular-shaped bone covering the knee, is out of place. It’s common among young female skiers.
In most cases, the kneecap (patella) dislocation occurs due to the bending of the knee. However, knee cap dislocation may occur due to direct contact. If a rapid change or a twisting movement in direction occurs, the knee’s stress can lead to the kneecap shifting out of place. For instance, if a skier changes direction all of a sudden, this force may lead to patellar dislocation or subluxation.
A knee specialist should handle this injury. Treatment depends on many factors, such as:
- Bracing physical therapy
- Surgery depending on the severity and frequency of the injury.
Successful treatment of knee injury from skiing allows skiers’ safe return to the slopes.
Knee injury is an independent condition: being one of the main joints in the limb beneath, unusual loading from the ankle/foot or hip will tamper with the kneecap’s loading. Physiotherapists in Singapore for knee injury involves the analysis of the whole body biomechanics. Our physiotherapists are experts in identifying imperfections that will add unnecessary weight to the kneecap. These commonly occur during your regular activity, such as stairs climbing, walking, or squatting.
Knee injury treatment and services that we offer
- Muscle trigger point release
A trigger point is an involuntary tender spot in a tight muscle. It may cause dysfunction or create pain within the muscle. The pressure is applied for a short 15-30 seconds to relax the muscle and release the trigger point. This type of knee injury treatment allows normal blood flow to the muscle and brings it to the normal state.
- Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES)
These are used commonly for:
- Control of edema and selective muscle restraining
- Preservation of muscle strength and muscle mass during an extended period of inactivity
- Strengthening of the muscle.
One of the common things with physiotherapists is that they identify posture faults in your daily doings. For instance, you shouldn’t keep the knee in one fixed position for long. Avoid keeping the knee in a tensed position, like locking the knee when standing on a train or bus.
- Dry needling
This therapy majorly involves the use of a thin needle that is penetrated onto the skin and treats muscular trigger points for knee injury treatment impairments and neuro-musculoskeletal pain.