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Get set for ski-ing: Women more at risk of knee injury

Surprisingly women may be up to six times more likely than men to suffer a serious knee ligament injury whilst skiing. This data is taken from the UK National Ligament Registry, showing that for women, skiing is the most common way of tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

As a research award winning consultant, specialising in soft tissue knee injuries and keyhole surgery privately at Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital, The Chesterfield, and locally on the NHS, Mr James Robinson, is well qualified to be on the Registry steering group, leading the collaborative knee data project.

Mr Robinson advises adequate preparation to minimise the risk of knee damage, saying, “It is pretty hard on the knees to ski all day for six days in a row, with little preparation. When you are fatigued, you are at risk of injuring your knee. A month of cardio training such as walking on the treadmill, using a cross trainer and or cycling can be an excellent way of boosting your aerobic fitness. Make sure ski boots, bindings and skis are set appropriately for your height, weight and skiing ability.

Over 40% of skiing injuries affect the knee, commonly through a combination of a sudden twist and deceleration. Typical scenarios include the skier catching the inner edge of the ski and twisting their leg out to the side or losing balance and ‘getting into the back-seat’, placing the hips below the knees, which transfers weight to the back of the skis. Any twist in this position can cause serious knee injury.
Consultant knee surgeon at Nuffield Health Mr James Robinson is a keen skier

Symptoms of ACL injury are a fall associated with a popping sensation in the knee, standing back up and immediately feeling lack of trust in the knee, then knee swelling developing over the next few hours. It is also possible to damage the joint surfaces.

If you do suffer an injury, it is advisable to be seen in the resort to exclude a fracture but then it is sensible to come home to have your knee injury treated by a specialist knee surgeon, who can co-ordinate your surgery and rehabilitation rather than having immediate surgery abroad.”

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September 2020
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