Hi – I’m John Springer-Miller from KneeBinding.
Whiteroom - thanks for clarifying why KneeBindings can mitigate knee injuries where others can't. And thanks, also, for your suggestions. We're taking your ideas to heart, and we're working hard on such things as "shelf appeal." Like most, you already know that KneeBindings are safer than others. But - also like most - you seem unaware that KneeBindings also provide performance and retention that is at least as good as - and usually better than - any other binding.
There is still a lot of confusion about how different bindings affect the rate of knee injuries, so I thought I’d jump in and clarify:
First – the problem: Knee injuries ARE the number 1 issue on skis, accounting for 1/3 of all reported injuries. There are over 70,000 ACL tears and ruptures on skis each year, worldwide. Nearly 1 in 4 of these people never ski again. It is the worst medical issue the sport has ever faced. Most (close to 75%) of these injuries occur in a backward-twisting fall scenario, but the backward-twisting isn’t what actually causes the injury! Try this: sit down (hips and knees bent!) and take your left foot and put it on your right knee. Your leg does move THAT way. Then try pulling your left foot straight sideways to the outside. You'll quickly see that too much force would injure your knee. Being in the back seat almost always causes you to bend your hips and knees – setting you up for the injury. Counter-rotating (twisting) also increases the risk. But the actual injury occurs because of the lateral movement (“abduction”) of the lower leg. Typically, the ski bites into the snow and pulls your foot directly sideways. It can happen to every kind of skier on every kind of terrain.
It has long been understood that the only proven way to mitigate this injury is to allow the binding to release directly sideways at the heel before the force is great enough to injure your knee. That’s what KneeBindings were created to do. Imagine the force pushing your foot straight sideways. A toe will NOT release in this situation, because there is not enough twisting force. Don’t confuse this with twisting your body (counter-rotating). For the toe to release, the ski has to twist around the lower leg. But the force that injures knees does not cause the ski to rotate – it causes the ski to move directly sideways.
There have certainly been other attempts by others - the most recent was the Line binding (Reactor/Pivogy). But like all other prior attempts, this binding had massive pre-release issues, and was rapidly pulled from the market. KneeBinding was able to create technology that REDUCES the kinds of pre-release associated with most ordinary bindings. Skiers who are used to cranking up their heels to keep from coming out, for example, usually find that KneeBinding allows them to ski at their recommended DINs without unwanted releases. We not only release when others can't, we retain when others don't.
Neither “diagonal” nor “turntable” bindings offers any way to reduce knee injuries. “Diagonal” bindings (i.e. Tyrolia) must release upward before releasing sideways. Most knee injuries occur when the skier is rear weighted, and these binding heels cannot release sideways in a rear-weighted fall. “Turntables” or "side-lug" bindings (i.e. Look PIvot and Rossi FKS, Silvretta, others) also don’t help. Check one of these out and try to imagine the heel moving sideways while the toe stays in place. They can't do it for several reasons - most obviously because the boot heel is "blocked" by the side bars/plates. A turntable is NOT a lateral heel release - it merely provides a rotation point for the lateral TOE release.
KneeBindings, of course, allow the boot to pivot at the heel to facilitate a toe-twist release. And they DO release up and forward at the heel, just like all ordinary bindings. These two release mechanisms are standard on ALL bindings. BUT KNEEBINDING HAS A THIRD MECHANISM THAT NONE OF THE OTHERS HAS. This provides an additional method of release (lateral heel), with an ADDITIONAL spring and cam system, and an ADDITIONAL DIN setting. When you set the DIN on an ordinary binding, you set it in two places. With a KneeBinding, you set it in THREE places.
One way to know for yourself that KneeBinding is the only "knee-friendly" binding is to notice that NO other binding company claims they can reduce knee injuries. In fact, all other binding companies make a point of warning consumers that they cannot. The only proven way to mitigate this kind of knee injury in skiing is with a pure-lateral heel release – and only KneeBinding has it.
KneeBindings offer better performance and better retention than ordinary bindings – AND the world's only PureLateral heel release. That’s why KneeBinding has been winning so many awards - including "Brand New Award" - ISPO, "Best Innovation in SnowSports" - SnowPress, "Best Alpine Binding" - Women's Adventure, "Skier's Choice" - Powder, and just recently - "Gear of the Year" from SKI Magazine.
Sorry about the lengthy posting! If you have any questions or thoughts, I look forward to hearing them - we are ALWAYS looking for constructive advice. Also - feel free to e-mail me, if desired.
Chairman, KneeBinding Inc.
Edited by Chairman - 1/15/10 at 12:49pm