Preventing ACL Tears in Downhill Skiing

ACL injuryThough downhill skiing is a high-risk sport for injuries to the knee joint, did you know there are simple ways to protect your knees, particularly your ACL? 

The first step to preventing an ACL injury is to ensure that your ski equipment fits properly and the DIN setting is appropriately adjusted to your height, weight, age, boot size, ski style, and proficiency.  An appropriate DIN setting will allow your boot to release, thus avoiding injury to your knee during a fall.

Another way to avoid an ACL injury is to know how to respond to potentially dangerous situations.  Dangerous situations can be defined as an incident where you find yourself off-balance backwards, your hips fall below your knees, your uphill ski is un-weighted, your weight falls on the inside tail of the downhill ski, or your upper body faces your downhill ski.

Vermont Ski Safety recommends that you respond to a potentially dangerous situation by keeping your arms forward, your downhill thigh in line with the ski, your feet together, and hands over your skis.  If you have already fallen, keep your knees flexed when you fall, and do not try to stand back up!  Many ACL injuries occur even after the fall while skiers attempt to recover and stand back up—don’t do it!

One of the best ways to prevent damage to your ACL is to simply ski smart!  It is important to be self-aware.  Take a few runs to warm up at the beginning of the day, and recognize when you have become fatigued towards the end of the ski day.  Stick with trails that are an appropriate level for you.  Keep healthy and fit both on and off the slopes!

If an injury does occur, remember that you can return to slopes with proper rehab. Call the experts at Castle Pines Physical Therapy today—dial 303-805-5156, and learn how you can return to skiing with renewed strength and excitement!

Photo credit: samarttiw via

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