Best Knee Support for Ski Season
There is a reason millions of people travel to the mountains every winter, despite the heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures. Regardless of where you are from, there is a simple allure to these peaks around this time of year–we all love skiing.
Ski season is a favorite for Olympic-level athletes all the way down to the family from Florida looking for a snowy getaway. It is an incredibly fun and exhilarating activity that is also relatively easy to pick up. Within a skiing trip or two, most of us can at least say we are adequate enough to ski at least half of the mountains out there. Sadly, this does not mean that we are out of harm’s way.
The knees are probably the most strained area during skiing. It is an activity performed predominantly in a slight squatting position, while your legs constantly absorb bumps and holes in the terrain ahead of you. This puts consistent stress on one of our body’s main shock absorbers–the knees.
Luckily, knee braces and sleeves can help you deal with the injury threat of activities like skiing. Here are some of the best options your knees will thank you for when you hit the slopes this winter.
Hinged braces feature a hard frame that surrounds the outside of the knee, yet still allow the wearer to have flexibility. This framework is usually composed of metal or carbon fiber and is meant to minimize any lateral movement. This is why hinged braces are most common for people who are recovering from, or who have a history of, ACL, MCL or PCL injuries, which are major ligaments in the knee. They are often fitted for a person’s specific knee, ensuring that there will be no more threats of further injury. The rapid and dynamic nature of skiing makes it very dangerous for those looking to avoid any side-to-side action. If you are recovering from surgery or have had a major knee operation in the past, it is best to don a solid, hinged knee brace.
Compression sleeves focus on keeping a certain area warm and tight, which helps increase circulation to the body part. This increases its functionality, which in this case would be the knee. The compression sleeve is not meant for skiers who are recovering from or have had serious knee injuries but it is a great way to quell any soreness felt following a long day on the slopes. It also helps protect against the typical nagging ailments, such as arthritis and tendonitis. Plus, unlike hinged braces, sleeves can be worn on the right or the left leg. Simply pull it up on whichever knee is bothering you the most and enjoy a full day of skiing. They are flexible, warm and quick to put on/remove, making it an easy buy for skiers this winter.
A knee support is very similar to an ordinary compression sleeve. It is easy to put on and take off and works its magic using the same type of compression to direct blood to help circulate more in a certain area. However, supports also offer some additional padding. The pads are usually centered around the patella (knee cap) and are generally made out of a thick, sturdy, rubbery gel-like substance that does wonders during an impact. Every skier has fallen, and you are no different. A knee support decreases your risk of injury by absorbing much of the blow when you inevitably go crashing into something.
Knee straps are by far the smallest of these products. This strap simply wraps tightly across the patella and around the circumference of the knee. The knee strap is meant for those dealing with some tendonitis in this area, as it provides a little extra support when crouching down and when elevating (both very common in skiing). It is easily adjustable via a strap and is the most portable piece of equipment to take on your next skiing trip.
Don’t Risk It
Please, resist the urge to be a hero during upcoming ski season. You are gaining nothing by refusing to protect yourself with the proper equipment and are only putting your own body in danger due to being stubborn. A proper knee brace can be the difference between calling it quits after the first day of skiing and making it to the finish line with a clean bill of health.