"Some experts say prevention is a better approach than switching skis. They are working on strengthening the muscles around the knee, reducing fatigue that occurs during skiing. Less fatigue means less risk of a fall, especially the kind of fall that can produce a torn ACL, according to Michael Decker, a biomechanical engineer at the University of Denver.
Decker said that asymmetry between the left and right leg may be a factor in ACL injuries.
“You are seeing big differences in right and left legs,” Decker said. “What we are finding is the non-dominant leg has been injured, especially the ACL, much more than the dominant. Females have two times the rate as males of the non-dominant leg.”
Decker has been placing probes and measurement devices on junior ski racers at Vail Resort to pinpoint which muscles are involved in turning the ski and to learn whether they can be trained to even out. Decker says training the gluteus muscles in the buttocks may be the key. The harder they work, the more the ACL is protected.
He is also testing Opedix, a new kind of stabilizing tights that fit around the hips and knees to bring skiers into a more balanced stance. Decker’s studies showed these compression tights help balance and improve turns without changing the dominance patterns of the legs.”
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