Elite alpine ski racing is a physically demanding sport imposing large external loads on the lower limbs while travelling at high speeds in an unpredictable environment. The extreme demands of the sport result in a high risk for lower body injury, particularly to the knee joint. In a competitive season, knee injuries account for over 30% of all alpine ski racing injuries.1 Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture is the most common form of knee joint injury in ski racing. Most ACL tears occur when pivoting or landing from a jump.1
In three consecutive World Cup Alpine Skiing competitions (2006 -2009), there were 20 cases of ACL injuries. The main mechanism of ACL injury was a “slip-catch” situation where outer ski catches inside edge, forcing the outer knee into internal rotation & valgus.2
Normally, a “pop” will be heard or felt, the joint will give way, and the knee will feel dislocated. Following the injury, the knee will swell significantly and the loss of stability will become debilitating. A sports-oriented healthcare practitioner (physiotherapist, chiropractor, orthopedic surgeon, or physician) should assess the severity of the injury as well as any structural or functional impairments that may impede full recovery. Most ACL tears do not necessarily require ACL reconstruction surgery.