The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the four main ligaments of the knee, and contributes to about 90% of total knee joint stability. It is one of a pair of cruciate ligaments (the other being the posterior cruciate ligament) in the human knee that create stability and hold the femur bone and the tibia bone in a stable alignment, but still allowing the knee to bend and compress like a shock absorber during skiing and snowboarding.
How does ACL injury happen?
Rotation and valgus forces (sideways) on the knee, typically applied between the femur and tibia with the foot fixed, is the most common mechanism. This poor alignment, combined with a heavy force applied to the lower limb (eg force= someone skiing at faster than walking pace) commonly causes the Anterior Cruciate Ligament to sustain forces far greater than its physical properties allow (shearing and tensile characteristics) which ultimately ends in the ligament failing, tearing or rupturing to various degrees.
Reducing Risk of ACL injury
Poor alignment plus force can happen in many different ways during snowsports, the three main ones in skiing being:
- Poor technique
- Environmental changes (eg jump landings, avalanches, trees, sticky wet snow etc)
- Poor ski boot, binding & equipment fit
Rotational and Lateral forces are created when your skis leverage off poor alignments, and having the correct alignment, equipment and fit are key to minimising the risk of suffering an ACL injury.
How can Footpro help?
Correct alignment is improved from our highly experienced and technical bootfitters and the use of pressure and alignment assessment technology.
A Footpro custom insole / footbed is the foundation for a strong, well aligned and biomechanically efficient ski stance. Without the custom insole, every ski stance is inherently unstable and will rely on continual compensatory movements that place further stress and pressure on the knee joint.
Other suggestions to reduce the risk of ACL injuries
– Strength and conditioning of the muscles that support and stabilise the knee. Single leg strengthening and other functional exercises that relate to movements similar to skiing are advised.
– Select ski bindings that have innovation and design that allow for better rotational release values.