EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Fitness, Health, Nutrition, Injury, and Recovery › New toSkiing/Snowboard, 10 months post ACL surgery, which is easier on the knees?
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New toSkiing/Snowboard, 10 months post ACL surgery, which is easier on the knees?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

The family wants to get into winter sports, and we are looking at hitting the slopes this winter.  I'm 10 months post ACL reconstruction.  Recovery has gone really well and I'm exactly where I need to be wrt rehab.

 

What is best/easier on the knees?  Skiing or snowboarding?  Which is easier to pick up?

post #2 of 19

In general, as regards ACL issues in particular, snowboarding is easier on your knees assuming you don't jump.

 

Depending on what type of graft you had, your particular knee may or may not be happy kneeling on the snow and/or hitting the snow, which is part of the learning curve of snowboarding.  If you decide to give boarding a try, you may want to try some sort of knee padding for a bit, just to help with this. 

 

They are both easy to pick up these days.  Part of it depends on how athletic you are.  These days, I actually tell many people that skiing may be slightly easier to pick up, because many adults are not into sitting on the snow and just deal better with skis.

post #3 of 19

the question is: do you just want to do things easier on the knees or are you concerned about the knee with the new and improved ACL?  Always consult your OS but if the knee is healed and rehab'd there should be no concern.  I'm right around the same time as you (9). 

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

I'm fairly athletic.  I've gone skating (roller version/in-line) several times last month for 1-2 hours each session and though the knee is a bit sore, it's not too bad (one good night rest it's back to painless).  I'm up to running about 20 miles a week, 5-8K per run.  Just started lateral exercises (suicides etc...) and do TRX/Wii Yoga (don't laugh, my PT introduced both to me) religiously.  Would it be accurate to say snowboarding is a bruising type of sport (like skateboarding), while skiing is a bit more flowing?  @ CTKook, I had a hamstring graft.  @ Finndog, haven't talked with OS specifically about skiing, but he's been into pushing me into activities quickly (he just about forbid me to wear a knee brace/curtches from about 2 week post surgery, running on a treadmill at 3-4 weeks).  The one thing that worries me is that I hit 40 this year (tore the ACL last year playing soccer with a bunch of 20-something brits in the village).

post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by gooseewo View Post

... TRX/Wii Yoga (don't laugh, my PT introduced both to me) religiously.  Would it be accurate to say snowboarding is a bruising type of sport (like skateboarding), while skiing is a bit more flowing? ...

Wii Yoga is a neat concept in terms of how they do it.

 

I'd say both sports can be flowing, and modern snowboard instruction takes a lot of the hard falls that people used to take as part of learning to snowboard out of it...most of the time.  You probably are still more prone to take truly jarring falls on a snowboard, but less prone to injure your knees while doing so. 

 

As far as skateboarding goes, if you are familiar with longboard skateboarding -- the kind you see people using for transportation on the street -- that is probably more accurate for what snowboarding is like, assuming you don't choose to do things that make it more like the "trick" kind of skateboarding you see in skateparks. 

 

If you're already comfortable on inline skates, you're probably going to have a shorter initial learning curve on skis.  The residual greater risk of another ACL from skiing, relative to snowboarding, is a tradeoff.

post #6 of 19

Welcome to EpicSki!  Where are you thinking of getting on the slopes?  How often do you think you would be on the snow?  Would the other family members be beginners too?

 

Can't say much about your question of snowboarding vs skiing because I've only been on skis.  Have heard to expect to fall a lot during the first three days learning to snowboard.  Can tell you there are lots of skiers way older than you who are skiing a year after ACL surgery.  Also those who ski without an ACL, which is what I'll be doing this winter for the first time.

 

Sounds like you would pick up skiing pretty fast.  Especially if you take lessons from the start.  I doubt you'll need many to get the basics figured out in order to be safer while going from a beginner to an intermediate.

 


Have you talked to your OS about getting a custom functional brace?  For experienced skiers, some use a brace for the first season or so after ACLr surgery and rehab.  Seems like it would be a good idea for a beginner.
 

If you decide to give skiing a try, here are a couple relevant threads:

 

Tips for older beginners

http://www.epicski.com/t/114722/tips-for-beginners-over-40-or-50-or

 

Knee Friendly Skiing

http://www.vermontskisafety.com/kneefriendly.php

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gooseewo View Post

The family wants to get into winter sports, and we are looking at hitting the slopes this winter.  I'm 10 months post ACL reconstruction.  Recovery has gone really well and I'm exactly where I need to be wrt rehab.

 

What is best/easier on the knees?  Skiing or snowboarding?  Which is easier to pick up?

post #7 of 19

goosee, I'm almost 49 so age isn't an issue. Your rehab protocol is another example of how varied they can be but as long as it works out in the end; it's all good!  If you have ben running and riding and I assume doing balance training and other stuff that requires you to use adductors and hip muscles? Been training calf muscles? have you been doing Plyo? -  if yes, I have to think you are ready; you have already stressed the knee and seemingly have no problems?

 

I guess I am still unsure of your concerns. Why are you concerned about falling? Do you feel the knee isn't totally ready?   Its totally normal to have some aprehension about getting back into the saddle but if you are really concerned, you need to speak with your OS.

post #8 of 19
If you go for snowboarding, have your good knee forward. I.e. If you had ACL repair on your right knee, ride regular. If it's on your left knee ride goofy. Set the stance back on the board, that way more of your weight will be on the front (good) knee and the weak knee gets a bit of an easier ride. From that perspective an asymmetric (free ride) board where the stance is already a bit back is a better option than a symmetric (park) board where you are right in the middle of the board. Carving then requires equal distribution of weight between the two legs.

The front leg gets more load anyway. When you hit a bump it tends to take more of a beating and when you are on a chairlift the weight of the board is all on the front leg unless you completely unbuckle and carry the board (which is a nuisance). But the back leg is unbuckled and can take it easy. It's the same on drag lifts, the front leg has a hard time, but the back leg can relax a bit more.

Unfortunately for me I ride goofy but I wrecked my right knee with a tibial plateau fracture, which is the "wrong" knee for me. I didn't ride at all last season for this reason. I am going to try this season. but I will switch my stance to regular. i can ride that way but it still feels "backwards". I guess I will get used to it.

The way you can adjust your setup to put more weight on one leg than the other on a snowboard by moving the stance is kind of neat.

Mark
post #9 of 19

OMG  hopmad.gif  sorry, but if you rehab correctly there is ZERO reason to change anything.  You may have an issue due to the fracture not completely knitting and becoming structurally as sound but the new ACL is actually stronger than goosee's "original" one.  That's why you went through all of that.  So unless there is something else involved, there is no reason to change anything. 

post #10 of 19
Since the OP hasn't been snowboarding before the choice of regular or goofy is an open question. It's not a case of changing anything, it's a question of making an apprpriate decision about the stance from the start and choosing suitable equipment. Seems like a sensible strategy to me....

An argument based along the lines of "if rehab has been done correctly there will be no problem" doesn't seem to me to address the OPs questions and concerns. It's a statement that begins with a big "if" and is also predicated on the operation being 100% successful. Of course rehab is important, but the bottom line is that getting out on to the snow is a critical step.

Naturally over time as the joint proves itself strong and stable the setup can be altered. The OP can move the bindings to another mount position, buy another board, ride switch, whatever.

One question. Do you ride yourself?
post #11 of 19

I pulled this from a presentation I gave last year:

 

 

Skiers:

n33% knees
n14% head/face
n9% shoulder
n8% lower leg
n5% wrist
n5% thumb
 
nSprains: 48%
Fractures: 17%

 

Snowboarders:

n25% wrist
n14% head/face
n13% shoulder
n12% knee
n6% ankle
n5% back
 
nSprains: 28%

Fractures: 32%

 

 

Reference: http://www.ski-injury.com/injury-statistics/stats1

 

Elsbeth  

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperkub View Post

Since the OP hasn't been snowboarding before the choice of regular or goofy is an open question. It's not a case of changing anything, it's a question of making an apprpriate decision about the stance from the start and choosing suitable equipment. Seems like a sensible strategy to me....
An argument based along the lines of "if rehab has been done correctly there will be no problem" doesn't seem to me to address the OPs questions and concerns. It's a statement that begins with a big "if" and is also predicated on the operation being 100% successful. Of course rehab is important, but the bottom line is that getting out on to the snow is a critical step.
Naturally over time as the joint proves itself strong and stable the setup can be altered. The OP can move the bindings to another mount position, buy another board, ride switch, whatever.
One question. Do you ride yourself?

 

Sometimes I don't communicate well: The bottom line is still true; he says he's 10 months post surgery and he's exactly where he should be.  10 months in in normal recovery is full unrestricted use.  If he hasn't received that OK from his OS, then he isn't at normal level of recovery. If he's still in rehab, that tells me he isn't at full. The best advice is to go by what your OS and/PT says.  Everyone is different; I was cleared to full unrestricted activity in August; I know of others who have been cleared at 6 months. That was my point; I was just being polite.

post #13 of 19
Sorry I snapped at you, I was just outlining a conservtive strategy. Mayba after my very long and painful rehab I'm just a bit too careful :-) Hopefully whether its on skis or snowboard gooseewo will have a blast.

Have a great time in Steamboat!

Mark
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by evaino View Post

I pulled this from a presentation I gave last year:

 

 

Skiers:

n33% knees
n14% head/face
n9% shoulder
n8% lower leg
n5% wrist
n5% thumb
 
nSprains: 48%
Fractures: 17%

 

Snowboarders:

n25% wrist
n14% head/face
n13% shoulder
n12% knee
n6% ankle
n5% back
 
nSprains: 28%

Fractures: 32%

 

 

Reference: http://www.ski-injury.com/injury-statistics/stats1

 

Elsbeth  

 

One follow-up thought re: this is that, for snowboarding, virtually all wrist injuries are preventable assuming people don't go in the park.  Of course, they've had some success in reducing ACLs for skiers, too.

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

All,

 

Thanks for you advice/inputs.  @ Finndog, great advice.  My OS has left it to me, as of 3 months ago, what to do/not do.  It's a confidence thing.  But one thing that I have learned now is to be cautious of my activities and set myself up for succes, not failure.  Thus the question I asked...What would be easier on the knees, snowboarding or skiing.  I think evaino's data is great.  Seems that snowboarding is not has hard on the knees as skiing.  @hypercub,  good points if I choose snowboarding and which leg takes the brunt of abuse.  @marznc...my OS is totally against braces. He believes you become reliant on them, and don't learn proper coping mechanism's.  Thus why he pulled my brace and crutches within weeks of surgery.  And in honesty, I totally agree with my OS.  The human body is highly adaptable, and by giving it 'crutches', via knee braces, crutches etc...you are limiting your body's ability to properly adapt. 

 

All, I'm psyched to hit the slopes.  Now just need to buy a jacket and pants, and can't wait to get to the Zugspitze!!

 

-gooseewo

post #16 of 19

I'm not aware of an activity that has a greater incidence of ACL injuries than skiing.

 

Skiing is considerably easier to learn unless you are an accomplished surfer or skateboarder.

post #17 of 19

There is a difference between using a brace during knee rehab and during a higher risk activity, especially in the first year after being cleared for regular stuff.  As you said, it's a matter of confidence.  Everyone who deals with knee issues is in a unique situation.  Often it's not the knee, but the mind that's the deciding factor.

 

I intend to get a functional brace but my situation is different because I'm not doing ACLr surgery.  I'm a successful older "coper" who could rehab to full function in a few months.  So for me as an advanced skier, it's good to protect my knee against hyperextension.

 

Have fun!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gooseewo View Post

All,

 

Thanks for you advice/inputs.  @ Finndog, great advice.  My OS has left it to me, as of 3 months ago, what to do/not do.  It's a confidence thing.  But one thing that I have learned now is to be cautious of my activities and set myself up for succes, not failure.  Thus the question I asked...What would be easier on the knees, snowboarding or skiing.  I think evaino's data is great.  Seems that snowboarding is not has hard on the knees as skiing.  @hypercub,  good points if I choose snowboarding and which leg takes the brunt of abuse.  @marznc...my OS is totally against braces. He believes you become reliant on them, and don't learn proper coping mechanism's.  Thus why he pulled my brace and crutches within weeks of surgery.  And in honesty, I totally agree with my OS.  The human body is highly adaptable, and by giving it 'crutches', via knee braces, crutches etc...you are limiting your body's ability to properly adapt. 

 

All, I'm psyched to hit the slopes.  Now just need to buy a jacket and pants, and can't wait to get to the Zugspitze!!

 

-gooseewo

post #18 of 19

MarzNC- my PT and Dr prefer that I don't ski in a brace.  They want me to be skiing and riding as normal; since it is. 

 

Goose- I will say this- ski, run, ride with confidence, do not start to act tentatively. that's a recipe for disaster. You have to trust the knee if you feel its solid. 

 

I had the surgery so I wouldn't have to wear a brace or worry about it slipping. ThisThat's why I went through all of this. Trust me I have had many surgeries and I don't have any intention of doing this again. ever biggrin.gif

post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
All,

Thanks for all the advice. We all had a blast. Knee did well, though weakened significantly by third day, so just watched the kids tear up the kid slopes (they had a conveyor belt to take them up the hill). I highly recommend garmische ski area for anyone wanting to ski the alps. Inexpensive, family friendly, easy access, and a huge variety of slopes from super easy to extremely challenging, some with slopes up to 2700m, incredible views.
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