Skiing is an extreme sporting activity that involves as much danger as the adventure it offers. Going off to mountains in winters to enjoy descending the white slopes makes many take their guard down and forget about protecting their bodies. Whether you are a Sunday skier or a professional skier, you need to protect certain parts of your body. The most affected body parts, if left unprotected, can be your knees, two of the main joints in your legs, making them prone to knee strain and injury, especially when skiing.
Finding the Best Knee Support Options for Skiing
Knee injuries make up about 35% of skier injuries, and therefore it is extremely important to protect them. But what right knee support do you need for skiing? To answer this question, this article shares an exhaustive list of the best knee support for skiing to help you choose and equip yourself with the right protection for your upcoming venture!
But let’s first discuss why your knees are at the most risk during skiing and why you need to protect them!
Knee Injuries: The Most Common Injuries in Skiing
Nearly one in four people are currently affected by knee problems. A knee sprain is a textbook case in sports trauma and orthopedics. According to the accidentology of winter sports, knee injuries are the most common in skiing and account for 30-40% of the overall injuries. The recent statistics show that more than half a million people suffer ski-related knee injuries every year, mainly in downhill skiing.
Using knee support is the best way to protect your knees in skiing from injuries resulting from accidents and freezing temperatures. The knee support, also called an orthosis or knee brace, protects by ensuring greater support and better stabilization. But which knee support to choose? Knee ligament or patellar? How to know which one is for a certain type of activity? Below are the answers to all these questions. Let’s discuss them one by one!
Before we start, it is important to mention that different knee supports are available for different pathologies and sporting activities. A knee brace used for a painful knee is different from what you generally need to protect them on the slopes but can be similar if you’re already experiencing pain in your knees. So, it all depends on your needs.
Knee injury due to sprain or fracture, rupture of the ligament, meniscal injury, tendonitis of the knee, osteoarthritis of the knee, chondrocalcinosis, etc., are all pathologies that need specific knee supports. There are several types of orthopedic knee roughly to the amplitude of movement, including the knee flexion:
- The sports knee and maintenance (called proprioceptive)
- The knee patella
- The knee ligament
- The knee immobilizer ( or knee brace)
It is essential to consult your doctor or knee specialist after trauma to make a clinical examination and a correct diagnosis before choosing your knee brace and knowing the type and intensity of the support necessary for the prevention or good knee recovery.
Wearing a knee brace is also necessary after surgical treatments. The orthopedic surgeon will determine the type of knee brace to wear during the healing period. If left untreated, it can recur or even worsen the pathology. Too long immobilization can lead to stiffening of the knee, which will then need more rehabilitation. A knee pad helps you continue the movement with the right support.
In general, the knee pads are suitable for both the right and left knee. To choose the appropriate size, measure the circumference around the knee. If the knee is swollen due to edema or swelling, measure the other knee.
In case of slight joint pain, ligament instability, or sprain sequelae, the sports knee brace and flexible support are the most suitable for providing light support. The activity level will determine the type of knee brace. If you’re involved in activities with little or no intensity where the risk of sprain recurrence is low, a soft support knee brace will be suitable. However, if you’re involved in linear sports that place a little more stress on the joints, such as a downhill skier who moves in a straight line down the slope in a particular body position, you need reinforced support.
In such a case, you need an elastic knee brace with class 3 compression. Such knee braces have a better proprioceptive effect, that is, the perception of the body in space, and a greater feeling of support, compared to plain or elastic knee pads. Common elastic knee supports do not offer a guaranteed level of compression or any real increase in proprioception.
It is commonly believed that wearing a knee brace for protection during sports activities compensates for or reduces the muscle functions affecting your overall performance. This is a wrong perception. Proprioceptive supports contract the muscles, better protecting the joints, preventing the risk of any muscle wasting around the knee. In fact, it facilitates your performance.
For sports with moderate physical activity, an elastic knee brace certified as a medical device is recommended. Indeed, a class 3 compression knit guarantees proprioception that increases vigilance, muscle performance and strengthens the joint by limiting the intensity of rotational and twisting movements.
Finally, if you’re involved in linear or pivot sports, a knee brace with reinforced support is recommended as it produces a stronger proprioceptive action.
Flexible and Rigid Ligament Knee Brace for Skiing
A ligament knee brace offers additional support to your knees during extreme sports either through their straps that reinforce the compression and support level or through rigid boning that consolidates the knees stabilization mechanism. There are two types of ligament knee supports: flexible and rigid.
A flexible ligament knee brace is suitable to resume activity after a sprain or prevent its recurrence in sports. It comes with straps suitable for contact sports such as football, basketball, rugby, etc. In contrast, a ligament knee brace with rigid boning is suitable for high-risk sports such as skiing and other extreme sports that put the knees under stress.
A rigid ligament knee brace provides the right protection needed in extreme sports. You can use it in resuming activity after a sprain for high-intensity sports. In certain cases of chronic instability during the practice of extreme sports, you can also use them.
The rigidness in the ligament knee brace offers stabilization to prevent lateral rotation and torsion movements. Contrary to popular belief, these knee supports do not stop the knee’s natural movement of flexion and extension. For rigorous support, you can also opt for these knee braces for skiing.
Now that you know the different types of knee supports suitable for different types of sports, without further ado, let’s discuss the best options available in the market to make it easier for you to choose.
6 Best Knee Support for Skiing
1. DonJoy Performance Bionic Knee Support Brace, with adjustable kneecap support, for lateral or medial ligaments, for soccer, basketball, skiing, hockey, running, or water sports.
Donjoy’s Bionic Knee Support Brace provides reinforced support with boning. It has high-end and ultra-qualitative properties with a system of straps and semi-rigid articulated sidebars for optimal mechanical stabilization of the knee. It is has a Bilateral Polycentric structure for optimal knee stability. It offers a precise fit due to the elastic top and bottom with TPR Pull Tabs. It is made of high quality neoprene material that is more comfortable for the skin. In addition, it comes with two adjustable velcro straps that hold from the top and bottom
2. Shock Doctor 872 Knee Brace, Knee Support for Stability, ACL/PCL Injuries, Patella Support, Prevent Hyperextension, Ligament Sprains for Men & Women
Shock Doctor’s knee supports are one of the best options in the market. This specific model is made of Neoprene material. Its tempered aluminum stability provides rigorous support thanks to its side stays and suspension straps. In addition, its non-slip silicone integrated into the knitting is popular with athletes, especially skiers.
3. Shock Doctor Bionic knee brace with compression sleeve: Semi-rigid aluminum hinge for men and women, left or right side
In the most extreme cases, for example, freestyle or freeride skier resuming activity following a sprain, the fragile ligaments should be protected even more with a knee brace that firmly stabilizes the entire joint. This Bionic knee brace with a compression sleeve, with its semi-rigid aluminum hinge and tibial shell, enables the support to stay in place regardless of the intensity level of your activity. Extreme athletes and skiers highly appreciate it.
The fabric is breathable that absorbs sweat and keeps you dry and more relaxed without compromising the elasticity and water and air permeability function. In addition, the double silicone loops make it stable and offer excellent fit and good support.
4. Decompression knee brace, stable knee support by GONAIREY
The decompression knee brace by Gonairey is one of the best options for high-level athletes and sportspeople. It has three-dimensional compressive knitting with reduced pressure at the ends for optimized comfort. Besides being the best knee brace for knee pain, its side stabilizers and metal steel plates provide optimal support and cushioning for knee joints during skiing and other extreme sports. The fabric is a breathable mesh that absorbs sweat and keeps you dry. In addition, you can adjust the pressure with a velcro buckle.
The knee brace protects the patella, stabilizes and keeps the joint aligned.100% rolling stability and even dispersion of knee pressure, provides optimal protection against overexertion during intense physical exercise. It is a guaranteed and certified safe knee support for all sports.
5. McDavid 429X Knee Brace, Maximum Knee Support & Compression for Knee Stability
McDavid 429X Knee Brace is among the best ones that offer high-level support. Besides improving medial and lateral stability, it prevents you from injuries and also aid in recovery from strains. The elastic straps are for maximum compression and cushioning, supporting the lateral and cruciate ligaments of the knees. It offers level 3 protection thanks to the hinges placed on both sides to add stability without compromising movement. In addition, it offers thermal compression due to the latex-free neoprene material. The kneecap gets further support from the padded 360 degree opening.
6. Z1 K6 Knee Brace – Best Knee Brace for Men and Women – Knee Support for Running and Sports / ACL & Ligament Injury / OA Arthritis / Knee Joint Pain Relief – (S12)
This Knee Brace by Z ONE provides maximum support for skiing. It is a low-profile, lightweight knee brace. It operates by transferring pressure from knee joint to calf protecting knees from stress or pressure during the sporting activity. The heavy duty stainless steel hinges offer phenomenal efficiency. Its neoprene lining with extra thick silicone coating give optimal support and a perfect fit. Its innovative design reduces stress on ACL, PCL, LCL and ligaments.
K6 knee brace comes with the best fit with 23 size variations making a truly customized knee brace. You can choose any size according to your knee circumference. It provides quick relief and adapts perfectly to being adjustable
Our Final Thoughts
Now that you know the best knee support for skiing available, you can go ahead and select the one you want and enjoy descending the white slopes with optimal protection and support. Do not forget to share this information with your skier friends, and let us know how it worked for you!