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ACL Tear = New Equipment ??

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I had an ACL repair (cadaver) in April 2010 and will be testing my knee on the slopes in the next few weeks.   After speaking over the phone to the guys at Telluride Boot Docs....


I am debating moving to a ski that is a little bit shorter, softer, and narrower.  I am also considering the Knee Bindings or the Look Bindings that come with the Dynastars as the Markers on the Kastle aren't ideal for the knee (according to the guys at Telluride boot docs).  I a a good skiier but no longer look to go too steep or too bump !  I am more than happy crusing at good speed down some double blues or on courderoy !


I have Kastle MX-88 and was looking at the Dynastar Sultan as a new ski.  It is a little softer and more forgiving albeit only very slightly shorter and narrower. 


I live on the East Coast but only ski out west ( about ~ 20 days a year).  I only want to own one pair of skiis so I would be selling/giving away the Kastle's (to my brother) if I did buy the Dynastars. 


Does this make sense or am I wasting my time/money ? i

f I get new skiis....I gotta get new boots too  :-()

Edited by IanSki - 12/9/10 at 7:04am
post #2 of 14

I think that if you are a recreational skier you probably would be a bit safer with a somewhat softer, more forgiving ski. I bought the Knee bindings for my wife last season (she's 10 years out from an ACL repair), and she loves them, which is to say that they work fine as bindings and they make her feel like she's doing something to protect her knee, somewhat, maybe, perhaps. The thing is, the Knee bindings are feel-good insurance, and they may well be a big help, but in fact you will never know if they've ever saved you (though perhaps you might know if they don't). But they seem like a wise thing to do.

post #3 of 14

An ACL repair means new technique which might thus mean new equipment.  You probably will be switching to being more of a finesse skier relying less on strength.  I wouldn't go dumping the Kastle's yet since they are suppose to be a very versatile ski.  Their familiarity might actually be a plus as you get back into skiing.

post #4 of 14

I'd hang onto the Kastles, in that they are not the stiffest out there, are comparatively forgiving as long as you stay out of the back seat (which you should do with or without an ACL), and lend themselves to finesse skiing (own a pair). What length, and what do you weigh?

As far as the Knee bindings, can't say, there were some long threads last year. My own experience with bad knees suggests that rehab and strengthening key muscle groups, then some lessons to make sure you're minimizing strain, is a lot more important than dramatic changes in gear. Markers are actually decent, prerelease is now your friend... You might want to reduce your DIN a bit, and assume you'll be wearing a brace on the slopes. That's enough. 

post #5 of 14

Hi there,


Disclaimer: I do not know ANYTHING about the best way to approach ACL rehab or what's involved.


That said...


Wouldn't a shorter ski make your ride potentially more squirrely, any bumps in the terrain more bumpy, and give you more of a jolt forward when you hit something unexpected? I would imagine a longer ski would give you the stability you need... again, I know nothing about skiing post-ACL rehab. Just putting this out there as a question. 

post #6 of 14

I had an early ACL repair in 1980. Its still going strong. Here is what I have gleaned over the years. Try and get the muscles in the back of your thigh (hams) as strong as the front. It protects the joint. You are more likely to re-injure in a fall with the knee very flexed and weight going backwards, so beware of trying to recover when you are in the back seat and going down. If knee bindings release in a straight backwards fall, then that sounds like a good idea. I have not changed my style or my skis other than the recovery thing above and no re-injuries although I ski much more demanding stuff now than then. My only problem is that they took a bunch of cartilage too and I am starting to get arthritis.



post #7 of 14



What would you suggest for ham exercises? I tore my ACL and media meniscus in May, had surgery in June and I am planning on skiing a couple times this season if I can get the muscles in my leg strong.





post #8 of 14

I go to the gym and use the cybex machine.

- O
post #9 of 14

Hey IanSki, here's a thread that you may want to look at & I jumped in towards the end and gave my experience. In terms of the skis, I'm not sure going softer will help as the skis you liked before worked for you for a reason.


As for length, I can understand the thought going a size down. However, it really depends on the skis you buy. Since if you go & buy a rockered ski, then they will ski shorter anyway. I would demo some skis and go with what feels best. You may end up staying with the ones you have since you are so comfortable on them.


As for becoming a finesse skier, I definitely agree for this year you will be more of a finesse skier for at least this season. The one thing for me becoming more of a finesse skier due to ACL surgery, it actually helped me become a smarter & more complete skier. Once I had my strength back I surprisingly  was a better skier.


Read the thread and let me know if you have any questions.



post #10 of 14

Steven and IanSki:


I'm a blown-out knee survivor, so if you don't mind, as with Sugahloafo, I’ll add my opinion and experiences. 


It’s only been about 7 months since your injuries and surgery.   Just my comment that you really should have instructions from your doctor and physical therapist (not from us folks on the internet) about resuming skiing and also the specific exercises that will aid rehabilitation.   If you haven't been instructed, book an hour and get it.   What's the cost?  .... Maybe a bit more than a day's lift ticket?  


Anyway, take it real easy on the slopes.   Consider setting your bindings at almost beginner level  ... and ski conservatively to match.  Your knee likely will be very easy to re-injure again until more time has passed.   My take is that there's less chance of being seriously injured by a pre-release fall than severe damage to the knee again if you don't come out of the binding easy enough.   A second injury may not be as fixable as your first and recovery may be longer. 


Good info from Sugahloafo a way's  back.  I'll add my story.  Also about 1980, while powering hard during a turn in the moguls, I damaged my knee badly.  I heard/felt a definite pop.  I didn't fall when this occurred and I remained on my feet.   After the initial pain and shock subsided a bit.  I skied on one leg to the bottom and hobbled into the Tahoe-Truckee Hospital adjunct clinic located at the bottom of the lifts at Squaw Valley. 


Surgery a few days later revealed that I had ruptured both my ac and medial collateral ligaments.  And I even managed to stretch the other two knee ligaments almost to the point of tearing.   Fortunately, my miniscus was not damaged.   


Later I learned that the probable cause of the mishap was due to my heavy weight workouts for the quads only.  Seemed reasonable at the time.  After all, its the quads that burn during skiing, so get them strong.  But the concept was wrong since I had ignored the ham-strings.  I seem to recall that also about this time, pro and college football trainers were becoming concerned about an increase in blown-out knees.  Game films sometimes would show player's knees buckling/giving out in situations of abrupt change of direction but with no contact with other players.   What was happening is that the weight room emphasis was on the quads.   It was assumed that normal running would take care of the hamstring strength -- which actually it didn't.  The muscle strength imbalance of strong quads/weak hams caused the knee joint to become unstable in certain stress/flex situations.  The knee essentially could self destruct on its own.   I'm sure that's what happened to me.


The same surgeon that fixed Oakland Raiders' knees operated on mine.   Following was a long year of rehabilitation.  But the effort paid off.    It’s still working despite 30 years of almost daily exercise -- tennis, jogging, hiking, skiing, bicycling etc.   During the physical therapy period, the doctor and the trainers hammered repeatedly that quad exercises were forbidden totally, except for straight leg quad tightening isometric lifts.   I could work out the hamstrings as much and as hard as I wanted.  


My knee has never been quite the same since the injury and surgery.   But as above, it has served me fine.  Other than an occasional mild sprain, or some water on the knee, I haven't re-injured it.  At the gym, for every quad extension extension exercise, I do two for the hamstrings.   Bicycling and eliptical machines provide a balance to both.   Although I still ski aggressively and am expert level (however not as much so as when I was a bit younger), I have always set my bindings for intermediate level.    Pre-release only occurs in the moguls if I've gotten off balance or caught an edge.   When I'm skiing well, pre-release only rarely happens.   I would much prefer to find myself without a ski, than having to deal with an injured knee again.


Opposing muscle balance for all portions of the body is now known to be critically important to minimize the chance of injury during athletic activity.

post #11 of 14

random post-ACL thoughts:


short radius, "hooky" skis seemed to generate more stress.  used to really enjoy a 12m slalom - now 15m minimum and prefer 21+


you don't have to carve every turn at mach speed with locked up edges.  release, pivot, slip, etc.


be patient - your 1st post-op season can be good but your 2d or 3d can be GREAT


comfort on the hill is directly related to discomfort in PT - push the PT as hard as you can and then some.  +1 on the hamstring focus.


work on balance and core strength in addition to PT - fixed gear bike or if you're a runner try SLOWLY picking up forefoot running via Vibram fivefingers or Nike Free shoes. 


if you're into TV - no reason to sit on the couch, get a wobble board or balance board.


and the ultimate equipment fix: TELEMARK! (with releasable bindings - Voile CRB, Garmont 7tm, or Rotafella NTN).


post #12 of 14
Originally Posted by ts01 View Post
short radius, "hooky" skis seemed to generate more stress.  used to really enjoy a 12m slalom - now 15m minimum and prefer 21+


Truth. Also think about plates, systems, or risers that give you more leverage.


But mainly,  x2 all the comments about PT and patience. That's the ticket far more than dropping a K on new equipment. 

post #13 of 14

I had a ACL reconstruction (patella tendon) just short of 2 years ago. 


I had a stiff Dynastar carving ski (165) and recently added a Blizzard freeride ski (Titan Argos 180) with a softer flex. The longer and softer Blizzard seems to put a bit less stress on my injured knee. I've also been picking up POSE running technique during off-season to build up my calf strength, which seemed to help with my muscle timing quite a bit.


Anyway, good luck with your recovery and take it easy. It took me 2 seasons to get back to where I were before the injury.


post #14 of 14

BTW, my skis came with Look PX12 bindings and Marker 5.14 binding. I chose DIN setting for Type II skier to be reassured that they would release in a spill.

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