As the cold months of winter set in, adventurers embark on a recreational activity on the hills’ slopes. Although skiing sounds like an exhilarating activity, many individuals that participate in the sport complain of pain because of knee and other body injuries. The sport has reported a significant increase in the occurrence of distress for the past two decades. Data collected by experts in the field of physiotherapy indicates a change in the pattern of injury occurrence.
The change is linked to the adoption of new techniques and the development of new ski equipment. Among the injuries skiers face, those affecting the knee comprise about a third of the total. The individual causes of knee pains that occur after skiing have various mechanisms that explain predisposition and the injury process. Factors such as terrain, skill level, local weather condition, tiredness, and fitness influence knee pain experienced by skiers.
Poor knee positioning.
Like any other sport, athletes and occasional skiers should follow routines that focus on their body positioning, especially their knee. Athletes and amateur skiers should avoid dropping their knees too much because it leads to poor alignment when moving down the steep hill. Incorrect knee and body alignment promotes inflammation around the quadriceps tendons and kneecaps. Conversely, poor alignment causes knee pain in skiers shortly after the activity.
Excessive hip bending.
Research indicates that too much hip bending when moving at high speeds results in skiers’ knee pain. Most athletes find themselves assuming a sitting-down position, thereby challenging for the hip’s quadriceps muscles to negotiate turns. Furthermore, the form lays unmeasurable stress to the tendons and the femoral-patella joint for both legs. Therefore, the hips’ pressure causes knee pain in skiers.
Skiing in one position for long.
Although you might be assuming the correct positioning, one should change forms throughout the activity. According to sports therapist, taking one position for extended periods causes knee pain in skiers. Expert skiers advise athletes and amateurs to note the amount of time they spend on individual forms because it might harm a specific part of their body. For instance, one should avoid taking the wedge or snow plow position for an excessive period before transitioning to another form because it strains the knee joint’s inner side.
Working too hard.
Ski racers usually appear to use extreme muscular strength, especially when negotiating turns. However, this is not the case because it requires using their fine muscles in the ankle and foot to execute without suffering knee injuries. Instructors typically con the phrase “muscling the turns” to explain a situation where an amateur uses large muscles. Such movements are coherent with hyper-extension, twisting, and flexing around the kneecaps, leading to the eruption of pain on the knee joint’s inner side.
According to experts and ski instructors, ski racers should avoid fighting gravity when involved in super-advanced trails. If a person is not ready to ski down an advanced course, their body kicks into ‘fear-mode’ where their body muscles become tense and hinder them from surrendering to gravity. As a result, the overwhelming fear causes knee locking during the run.
Most amateur ski racers find themselves locking their knees during advanced runs in fear, which potentiates the chances of experiencing pain after skiing. Apart from causing pain, locked knees are a hazardous movement because it can change the athlete’s weight to their ski trails. The shift in weight causes knee pain in skiers and promotes falling during ski racing. Therefore, advanced runs should be left to professional ski racers to avoid knee damage or other serious injuries.
According to physicians, changes in the collagen levels in bone can potentiate knee pain experienced by skiers. Brittle knee cartilage found in older people has a significant reduction in their shock-absorbing properties. Henceforth, old individuals or patients with bone problems would not absorb the landing or jolting impact to the knees. Furthermore, it is a known fact that ligaments in the knee stiffen aside from the cartilage, thereby decreasing elasticity in the joint that explains knee pain experienced by skiers.
One of the causes of knee pain after ski racing is due to a re-injuring during the activity. In such a case, the person usually gets into ski racing before they heal before receiving a physician’s confirmation to get back into the sport. Additionally, most individuals reintroduce the activity vigorously without allowing their bodies to adjust to the condition. The most common injuries involve tearing of the anterior cruciate ligaments and the medial collateral ligament.
The mechanisms of knee injuries are varied that involve the medial collateral ligament (MCL), the anterior cruciate ligament tear (ACL), and stress injuries on the knee. Stress injuries include runner’s knee, tendonitis, and bursitis. Recreational ski racing activities indicate that ACL’s valgus-external rotation injury mechanism is more prevalent than hyper-extension, phantom foot, and boot induced mechanisms.
Tearing of the ACL causes knee twisting, followed by an inflammation that would require serious medical attention to regain full joint motion. Conversely, an MCL is a sprain that does heal in weeks without the need for surgery or prolonged bracing. Additionally, unlike ACL, MCL has no pop and severe pain or swelling. Likewise, Meniscal tears are mild and affect the performance of the athletes when squatting or twisting.
Patellar instability can present as dislocation where the kneecap moves out of position because of too much twisting stress. The injury can occur due to direct contact with other athletes or hitting an object. Kneecap dislocation is joint in women and young athletes than males and older ones. Treatment options for the sub-luxation include bracing, surgery, and physiotherapy.
Poor ski equipment.
Inadequate ski equipment is implicated for knee pain or damage in athletes and amateurs. However, it is a lesser-known cause but remains an issue skin racers have to know and prevent. For instance, non-fitting boots can cause low foot movements that eventually lead to avoidable foot pain. Additionally, it is advisable to avoid too stiff bindings or narrow boots that can incur unnecessary pain.
In the event you plan to go for a ski race, you can contact our physiotherapists in Singapore to assist you navigate the ins and outs of the sport. We can help you exercise how to assume correct positioning, prevent avoidable injuries, and make recoveries. Our physiotherapists are here to answer any question you might have concerning causes, symptoms, types, and treatment options for knee injuries.