As winter finally settles in, droves of skiers are taking over the hills and mountains of our province. Knee sprains are frequent and painful injuries endured by experienced and inexperienced skiers alike. These unfortunate accidents have risen consistently over the last ten years. But are they inevitable? You will be surprised to learn that experts believe half of all cases of knee sprains could have been prevented.
In alpine skiing, it is estimated that one case of knee sprain out of two is attributable to improperly adjusted ski bindings. Although absolutely essential, it would in fact seem that less than one out of five bindings is properly adjusted according to the weight and calibre of the skier. Ski bindings must be tight enough to hold a skier during high-speed sharp turns, but sensitive enough for the boot to be released in case of a fall. Both the sudden loss of a ski and the non-release of a binding during a fall can have very serious consequences.
With 16,000 cases reported each year, serious knee sprains, the rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), represent half of all cases of sprains and 12% of all skiing accidents. The rupture of the ACL occurs when the body brutally opposes a change in direction, or when a skier falls backwards. It is important to know that even the latest and most sophisticated bindings cannot release in all directions. Result: the violence or impact of a fall is transferred at the level of the knees, causing the ligaments to rupture.
Having your ski bindings adjusted will only take a few minutes. At a minimum, it should be performed by an expert at the beginning of each season, and more regularly if you are a frequent skier. If you neglect the maintenance of your bindings, you could be in for a very long and painful winter indeed! So go ahead and have your bindings inspected, your knees will thank you for it!