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Skis for ACL and knee injuries (past injuries and prevention)

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Full disclaimer: As you can tell by my username, I'm kind of part of the company that makes these....but I really think so many people will benefit from these skis that hopefully no one is offended by me posting this.
HDS skis are the best skis ever made for knee injuries and ACL injuries (and, without loss in performance).
We have tons and tons of customer reviews from people with ACL and knee injuries who swear by our skis. They are back out on the snow when they thought they'd have to be sitting in the lodge like a ski bunny. :)
More importantly, if you don't have an ACL injury yet, these skis are the best thing you can do to prevent them.
Check out our website for a full description of why HDS skis are especially good for knees and ACLs:
Don't just take my word for it, read the reviews:
A recent article by Otto Wiest in Vail Daily about ACL injuries (he specifically mentions HDS Skis...we used to be called Flo Skis):
Here's to speedy recoveries, and more body-friendly equipment. See you all on the slopes!
post #2 of 4

Here's my response to the above-noted letter in the Vail Daily, which response of mine was published in the Vail Daily one week later, Feb 27, 2013:




In contradiction to the recent letter in the Vail Daily about skiing and ACL injuries, long tails of alpine skis are not (by themselves) the main cause of this leading injury.

In the combination of peer-reviewed medical papers by leading ski injury researchers, Professor Robert J. Johnson M.D. (University of Vermont), Professor Jacques DeGuise (University of Montreal), we find the following:
Purely rear-weighted loading through the tails of skis, called “boot-induced anterior drawer,” has a prevalence of 10 percent to 15 percent of all skiing ACL injuries.

All of us longstanding skiers know that back in the 1970s, boots and long-tailed skis allowed us to exert massive rear-weighting if we inadvertently formed a “jet turn,” but few of us ever sustained a skiing ACL injury from a jet turn.  Longitudinal studies show that, indeed, despite diagnostic deficiencies during the 1970s, there were few skiing ACL injuries in the 1970s.  Rear weighted-loading with long tailed skis (alone) has been around for a long time without causing skiing ACL injuries.

However, the introduction of a large “abduction force” (a lateral force applied to the medial edge of the ski near the projected axis of the tibia) acts over the length of the tibia to generate “valgus torque” about the knee — in combination with rear-weighted loading — causing “phantom foot” (or “slip catch”) loading that has a prevalence of 70 percent to 80 percent of all skiing ACL injuries.

The combination of valgus torque plus boot-induced anterior drawer [rear weighted] loading produces maximal strain across the ACL.

Why are we seeing more abduction loading (that causes valgus torque) plus rear-weighted loading during the past 20 years?

Because of shaped skis (I love shaped skis ).

Before shaped skis, when a skier caught an inside edge during large rearward loading, one end of the ski would slide out.  Torque about the tibia was produced. Binding toe pieces avert tibia torque and they have performed well since the mid-'70s.  That's why there are now few tibia fractures (prevalence of 2 percent to 3 percent of all skiing injuries) since the mid-'[8]0s.

However, with shaped skis, when a skier catches an inside edge during large rearward loading, one end of the ski does not slide out.  Both ends bite, causing the lateral components of the two forces formed at the tip and tail to become superpositioned into a single abduction force located under the projected axis of the tibia.

During this condition, the ski does not rotate about the long axis of the tibia.  It translates laterally, or in an equal [magnitude] and opposite [direction] context, the ski remains trapped while the skier's center of gravity moves laterally.  A large abduction force is produced that generates valgus torque about the knee. The combination of valgus torque plus rear-weighted loading equals ... pop.

How can combined valgus and rear-weighted loading (that's a consequence of a trapped shaped ski) be averted?  Lateral heel release.  I expressly developed non-prereleasing lateral heel release bindings to address this proven situation, [such as the Howell™ Ski Binding].

This way, we can have it both ways:  We can mitigate (never eliminate) the leading cause of ACL injuries and enjoy our (long-tailed) beautifully shaped skis.

Rick Howell
[Howell™ Ski Bindings]
Stowe, Vermont
End of response-letter in Vail Daily, Feb 27, 2013
post #3 of 4

Putting aside for a moment the lateral release binding, which sounds like a great thing.


What if shaped skis were shaped in such a way that the greatest width were at one extremity (the tip section say) of the ski only? Could the overall side cut be maintained and would this, in conjunction with a a longitudinal softening of the ski, perhaps in the forefront of the ski, produce a safer ski that might deliver some of the benefit of shaped skis (While simultaneously allowing for tail skidding at times when it might be desired)?


Just a thought.

post #4 of 4
That has kind of been done by salomon with the bbr skis this year, not that I have skied on them. The problem with softening longitudinally is the resulting loss of performance. i did my acl in that 10% of purely rear losing the back of a stiff gs ski whilst in stiff race boots, but don't regret using such stiff gear as it was needed for the task gs racing. It was my fall and getting back up again that got me in the position for my acl to go, not the equipment.
Out would be interesting to hear from someone who has been skiing the bbrs?
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