As wonderful as downhill skiing is, it does come with some risks. One particular injury that can befall a skier is a knee injury. Building a stronger core will help decrease the chances that this happens to you.

What does the core have to do with the knees? If your muscles are strongly supporting you around your spine, pelvis and hips, your knees will not have to work as hard. There is always a weak link in the chain. If that weak link is your core, somewhere else in the body will have to work harder. If your knees are experiencing more stress than they are able to handle, injury will occur.

The good news is that there are many great exercises that can help.

First, lets look at what can happen to your knees when they are under too much load.

kneeanat
What is the purpose of the MCL?

The purpose of all ligaments is to stabilize an area between two or more bones. Your MCL helps protect the inside of the knee by allowing a certain amount of movement but not so much that the integrity is broken. So you can bend your knees in towards each other keeping all the bones and tissues intact.

This is important during skiing, especially when doing moguls. Your knees experience a great amount of stress on the insides and your ligaments are working hard to keep everything in place. If your muscles are not doing their jobs, your ligaments may pay the price.

What happens when the MCL tears?

mcl-tear-1

There are 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree tears.

1st degree

  • local tenderness and minimal pain to the medial aspect of the knee
  • some ligament fibres are torn
  • minimal or no swelling
  • function is not impaired
  • Price method (protect, rest, ice, compression, elevate)
  • takes 1 to 4 weeks to heal fully

2nd degree

  • local tenderness and moderate pain to the medial aspect of the knee
  • more ligament fibres are torn
  • swelling is evident
  • may or may not be bruising
  • pain is moderate
  • function is impaired
  • physiotherapy will aid in faster healing
  • may or may not need surgery
  • takes 3-12 weeks to heal fully

3rd degree

  • complete separation of ligament fibres
  • will need surgery for repair
  • takes 3 months up to a year to fully heal

What can you do?

The muscles around the pelvis and the hips are most important to protect your knees. The following are some great exercises to help keep you on the slopes!

  • Side Lying Leg Raise
  • One leg Squat
  • Standing Leg work on disc
  • Extreme Balance Board
  • Upper body theraband pull down keeping knee stable
  • Hip abduction keeping knee stable