Snowboarders, and particularly skiers, suffer frequent knee ligament injuries. This is something worth avoiding, as any knee ligament injury is likely to end a winter holiday and will mean several weeks down time for an athlete.
A knee ligament injury can occur to either the anterior (front) or the posterior (back), with anterior strains more common than posterior.
These structures are vital in providing stability in the joint, and are often injured during sports when the foot is planted. Typical scenarios include those where:
- The leg is locked and the body pushed forward
- The bent knee is forced in the opposite direction to its natural motion
- The foot is locked and there is a twist - for example, while skiing or snowboarding
Symptoms usually include a click, followed by pain. The joint will swell due to blood from the damaged structures filling the knee joint.
The immediate thing to do is follow the RICE protocol - Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation - then get it checked out by a doctor or sports medicine specialist.
To diagnose this, the doctor will be looking for instability of the joint, examining the leg in various positions to see if it is possible to drag the shin bone forward in relation to the thigh bone.
Depending upon the extent of the damage, treatment ranges from physiotherapy to surgery. A return to competitive sport is likely to take at least six months.