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Five top tips for knee friendly skiing this Easter

05 April 2018

Knees are particularly vulnerable in Spring skiing conditions, as the snow tends to melt quickly and become softer, slushier and as a result, much heavier. The ski catches in the heavier snow causing twisting forces on the knee.

Mr Henry Bourke, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon specialising in knees here at Spire Thames Valley Hospital, shares his top five tips to look after your knees this Spring on the slopes:

1. Prepare your muscles before you go
Even up to the week before you go skiing, try to get your muscles ready for your trip. The core abdominal muscles, glutei and quadriceps do most of the work. This quick work out with British skier Chemmy Alcott is excellent.


2. Get up and out early each day
At this time of year the best snow for skiing is in the morning. By midday, most of the lower slopes will be getting too much sun. Find out when you get to the resort what time the lifts open and be sure to get to the first one in the morning.


3. Adjust your bindings for Spring Snow
The DIN settings on your bindings have a number that corresponds to the force needed for the boot to release from the ski. I’d recommend 0.5-1 less than you would have normally in the Spring snow. If you catch the ski in some heavy snow and twist, the binding must release to protect your knee ligaments (particularly the ACL) from damage. Top US skiing website Evo has these excellent tips for setting your bindings.


4. Take regular breaks to avoid fatigue
When the snow is heavy your muscles work much harder to initiate the turn and as a result you fatigue more quickly. 80% of knee ligament injuries on the slopes occur in the afternoon when skiers are tired, and your technique is not as good. Try to take regular breaks throughout the day to keep the energy in your muscles.

5. Take the lift down the last run of the day
The last run of the day is always a challenge as the pistes are crowded and much of the snow is melting on the lower slopes. This becomes a dangerous time and injuries are common. Plan your last run carefully and think about taking the lift down the last bit so that you can get to your ski bus in safety with your knees undamaged!

And of course, have fun!

Book an appointment today to discuss your knee concerns. Simply call us on 01753 665 404 or contact us enquiries@spirethamesvalley.com

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