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Great ski day at Hunter but.. knee problem?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

So I just came back from Hunter yesterday and took a lesson where I learned a bit more on parallel turns and pole planting.  I'm very happy skiing the Belt Parkway (that really long blue one from the top of the mountain) but I take a long time getting down because I like making very wide parallel turns to control my speed.  During my lesson, I mentioned to my instructor that I was experiencing some knee pain (no muscle pains which to me seemed odd) and he said it was likely from my love affair with hockey stop turns that slow me down to probably the speed of a good marathon runner, but no faster.  I recognize that my skiing improved a lot (fatigue wise) if I just skied faster but I'm wondering if my knee issues might be from boots.  I had no pain that I could feel and sized my boots as advised on the forum.  So my feet are fine, but my knees hurt today going down the stairs (not up) and I'm mildly sore with some muscles but as an athlete, it's not bad.  I iced and elevated last night, but I want to prevent this in the future.  Is the solution just ski faster or is it a boot thing?  I also didn't strap myself in too tight on the top.  I did with my ankles to hold them down but I wanted all day circulation.


Oh yes, and wanted to add that the pole plant helps so much with just the idea of turning.  I know it's not actually pushing you into a turn like your feet but I think it helped me rhythmically.  Thank you Hunter Ski School.

post #2 of 4

Well, there can be any number of reasons why your knee is hurting. First off, where is the pain? Dorsal, ventral, medial, lateral (Fancy speak for front, back, inside, outside)? That will tell a lot about what kind of issue you're having. It could be possible that you tweaked a ligament or tendon within the knee. The stresses skiing puts on the knee are different and often more extreme than any other sport. Boot fit can be an issue. If your boots' forward lean was too much or too little, it would throw your entire body out of alignment and cause undue stress upon the knee. Then again, inefficient technique can do this as well. As your technique improves, the stress could become less.


Another reason for potential knee pain is the lack of muscle strength to properly support the knee joint. As I mentioned, the stresses of skiing are much different than other sports, and the way they develop your muscles is different. I had this problem at one point. I've always skied, but before I left college, I usually only got 15-20 days on snow a year, at most a weekend every other week. When I started skiing 125-150 days a year (every day of the season), my knees would be killing me at the start of the season, but as my muscles strengthened around my knee joint, the pain would go away. I was very athletic at the time as, having spent my high school and college days as a runner and a swimmer as well. Its just that the skiing motion and the G forces involved are hard to duplicate without the act itself.


All that being said, I'm just a wacky ski instructor, and am by no means an orthopedic doctor or anything of the sort. If the pain persists or gets worse, to the doctor with you.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Frankly, I don't think I know what part of the knee.  Inside maybe, under the knee cap?  I think it was more top and outside, but it's entirely gone after two days.  I think it just may be new ski muscles/tendons stuff.  I'll have to ski again in a week or so and figure it out.  I swam and ran recently, no problems, didn't feel it.  Hopefully it's just getting used to new muscles... shall see on Wednesday I guess

post #4 of 4

There are numerous reasons why knees hurt when you're skiing and if it persists it may be worth getting it looked at. Skiing and particularly defensive skiing does, however, work the legs in ways that other sports don't. If they're not strong enough then the knee may not be supported sufficiently.


Pain walking downstairs is a classic symptom. Walking upstairs puts approximately 3 times the load on the knee that walking on the flat does whilst walking downstairs puts about 7 times the load. Not surprising then.


Apart from a general fitness plan, here are a few exercises you can try:


1) Lie on your side and keeping your pelvis stable and not rotating upwards draw the upper foot to the lower knee creating a bend in the upper leg. Now keeping the foot against the knee and the pelvis stable, raise the upper knee opening it into a kind of frog position. With the knee raised, gently kick the upper leg into extension. Now lower the upper foot to the ground then slowly return to the starting position. (Sorry it sounds complicated) Work up to 3 sets of 15


2) Tie a theraband around your knees with only a small amount of a gap. Sit on the edge of a chair. Open both knees wide and slowly then slowly close. Up to 3 x 15


3) Again with the theraband stand up and adopt a slightly flexed posture. Make repeated side to side steps 3 x 30


4) Stand on the edge of a step with one foot on the step and the other overhanging. Lower the overhanging leg dropping the hips back until the standing leg reaches no more than an angle of 90 degrees in a slow count of 2. Now return to the standing position in a count of 1.


If these make sense which I hope they do. Try them for a few weeks in addition to your fitness routine 2 - 3 times a week. They should make a difference.

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