Knees and Winter Holidays


I was recently on a winter holiday.  As I broke my wrist at the beginning of January, I was not participating in some of the more adventurous winter sports leaving me lots of time to eat coffee and cake at the top of some beautiful ski resorts.

It was whilst at the top of a ski lift at Adelboden that I started watching the snowboarders.  They fell into two groups; the experienced ones who seemed to have the ability to get off of the chair lift, place their back foot on the board, although not secured in position, and slide along to the start of the run, and the others who ended up trying to manoeuvre their board with their back foot whilst the front one was strapped in place.

This looked horrible – see the picture above.

This group then further divided into two.  We shall call them the group who are going to be able to walk at the end of the day, and the group of inexperienced people who are going to go home complaining about snowboarding.

The group who are going to be able to walk at the end of the day manage to get into the position above by internally rotating their femurs.  The second group get into this position by trying to twist their knees.

I’m reminded of a talk by Leslie Kaminoff where he tried to look at how we should protect our knees by coming at it from the other angle; how would we try to damage our knees.

He suggested that the first thing we should remove is the protection that the ankle joint and the flexibility of the foot afford us.  Often on uneven ground the twists and turns never make it as far as our knee because the foot and ankle accommodate these movements.  Let’s remove that protection by clamping those joints in place.  Then let’s look at a way we can amplify those twists.  We could attach a massive lever to the end of the stabilised joint.  That would be a sure fire way to do maximum damage to the knee joint.  Obviously, what is described there is a ski boot with a ski attached.

I’m on a mission now to find a snowboard instructor and see how they explain what this movement should be to those learning to snowboard.

Is this yet another example of where a little anatomical knowledge could make life more fun?

Author: Anatomy Fundamentals

Janet Philp has spent a lifetime exploring fitness and wellbeing. Starting in group exercise, travelling through rugby to representing the UK at martial arts before including Yoga, meditation, Budokon and personal instruction. Her passion is anatomical function and educating people to use their bodies to their full potential.

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