A woman skiing down a slope.

The season is rapidly approaching. And I’m not talking about Christmas.

I’m talking about skiing!

One of the most thrilling and exciting activities known to mankind, skiing offers tons of fun, that’s for sure, along with some unwelcome risk-taking.

I mean, did you know this?

That knee injuries and knee pain are among the most common skiing-related injuries every year?

This is exactly why having a good knee brace or sleeve for skiing can be the best solution to reduce the risk of injury.

In this article, we’ll look at the features of knee braces and knee sleeves, the different types available, and what to look out for if you want to buy one for personal use.

Extreme Sports

Skiing is an exciting and exhilarating activity, yet it can be dangerous.

It’s worth saying that if you have existing knee problems, such as weak knees or an ACL injury, skiing might not be the best sport for you.

Now, I don’t like to focus on negatives, but knee injuries are a frequent skiing-related injury. It’s a fact.

You certainly need to know what you’re doing, and if you’re a beginner, take all the advice given to you and start on the beginner slopes. 

In truth, stats show that more than half a million people each year suffer from a ski injury, with up to 40% of those injuries to the knee.

Mountains covered in snow during ski season

Injured Knees From Skiing

Here’s a rundown of common ski-related knee injuries:

  • An ACL tear
  • A Meniscus tear
  • Other ligament injuries, such as bruising 
  • Patellar tendonitis
  • MCL sprains
  • IT band syndrome
  • Muscle sprains

Interestingly, the anatomy of the knees plays a big role in preventing ski injuries.

To explain why, you need to look inside the knee and understand how some of the structures work together to create a stable knee joint.

The ACL connects the thigh bone with the shin bone, which keeps the leg strong and stable while moving around.

The meniscus helps stabilize the knee by providing extra cushioning between bones.

Last but not least, good muscle development and strength in the legs help support and protect the knees from injury.

One thing to know is that if there’s too much pressure on one side of the knee due to poor form or bad posture while skiing, say during turns or jumps, it can result in a tear.

You can surely see that the knees are well prepared to be on the slopes, but they have a limit. And that limit can rapidly be reached when you’re flying at high speeds down a ski slope…

Best Knee Brace For Skiing

A good, well-fitting knee brace or sleeve can be an essential part of protecting yourself from ski-related injuries. Some offer mild support; others offer maximum support, depending on the design.

Aside from adding support to the knee joint, they also help reduce pain and swelling, improve circulation, and decrease muscle fatigue.

(Avid skiers, semi-professional skiers, or even professional skiers know that fatigue sets in around day three or four of a weekly ski trip.)

Now, knee braces come in many different shapes and sizes, depending on what type of protection you’re after. So do knee sleeves.

Knee sleeves offer milder, softer support for minor aches and pains and minor injuries, while knee braces provide solid ‘best defense’ support for preventing serious ligament tears or helping support existing instability issues.

It’s worthwhile to note the intended use of a knee brace, as some of the heavy-duty ones may not be suitable for ski sports but could be used if they provide you with more support or confidence to hit the slopes. 

Don’t forget as well that well-fitted, high-quality ski boots play an important role in reducing injury risk.

They should be a perfect fit so they don’t add unnecessary stress to vulnerable areas like ankles or knees during turns or jumps. 

Additionally, wearing warm clothing such as ski pants (plus thermals!) and ski jackets helps reduce skin irritation caused by cold temperatures. 

Here are some other forms of protective ski wear to consider.

Off piste skiing

Things to consider when buying a knee brace

Points to consider when selecting a knee brace for your ski season are:

  • The size
  • The materials
  • The flexibility
  • The type of skiing you do (graded slopes vs cross country, etc)
  • The design
  • The price
  • The strength of support
  • Whether you’ve got an existing knee injury or not

You need to be mindful of the level of activity you plan on experiencing during the ski season; lighter movements on easier slopes require less supportive braces than intense activities like downhill racing, for example.

Braces range from low-profile options such as knee sleeves (which provide milder support) up to traditional knee braces designed predominantly for ACL tears.

The latter is often prescribed with the help of medical professionals, and it’s best to get medical advice on these types of braces if you intend to use them for skiing.

Also, consider looking out for an open patella design that leaves room around the kneecap so blood circulation isn’t restricted—especially useful if you plan to be active on the slopes all day.

Ensure any brace you purchase has adjustable straps to fit perfectly without causing pressure sores along the sides of your knees; comfort is vital.

Shop The Post: Best Knee Brace For Skiing

Bauerfeind - GenuTrain S - Knee Support - Extra Stability to Keep the Knee in Proper Position - Right Knee - Size 5 - Color Black

Introducing the GenuTrain S - Your Ultimate Knee Support Solution!

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02/19/2024 12:03 am GMT

DonJoy Performance BIONIC FULLSTOP ACL Knee Brace, Large

Introducing the HingePro Plus. Featuring hinge technology and a four-point leverage system, HingePro Plus trains users to avoid the "at-risk" position through a dampening cycle. Stay protected and in control! Experience compression and thermal heat regulation that keeps you cool and comfortable. Our anti-migration technology ensures the sleeve stays in place, providing uninterrupted support. Enjoy adjustable straps for a secure, custom fit tailored to your needs. With reflectivity for enhanced visibility in low-light conditions, HingePro Plus is your ideal companion for various activities. Perfect for sports like football, soccer, skiing/snowboarding, basketball, lacrosse, or volleyball.

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02/19/2024 12:39 am GMT

Last Thoughts

All I’ll say is – please take care on the slopes! A knee brace will for sure provide support and comfort but it won’t so much protect you from injury.

I hope this post has been informative and useful to you. Go ahead and enjoy the ski season safely!

For more fascinating knee health reads, click here

About the Author

Hi there! I’m Dr. Keagen Hadley, OTD, OTR/L. Straight out of the University of Mary, I’m all about blending my know-how in knee health, well-being, and medical technology. As a licensed occupational therapy doc, I’m here to translate complex concepts into clear, actionable insights – whether it’s knee care or groundbreaking healthcare tech.

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