How to protect your knees for a lifetime of pain-free skiing

January 29, 2015

Beginner, intermediate or expert, backcountry or mogul—if you downhill ski, you need to take care of not only your own knees, but especially your children’s.
Did you know that skiing incidents lead to twice the number of hospitalizations as hockey? Skiing and snowboarding injuries are most commonly reported in children under the age of 10.

According to 2010-2011 statistics, 2,329 Canadians were admitted to hospitals due to ski-related injuries. Furthermore, one in three injuries were sustained by young skiers aged 10 to 19. Meanwhile, boys are the most at risk and represent 81 per cent of all ski related traumas.

How to protect your knees for a lifetime of pain-free skiing

Safety first

Do you wear a helmet when you ski or snowboard? You know what the answer should be! So why not wear knee protectors? Knee injuries are all too common, and wearing knee guards is an excellent way to minimize exposure to painful sprains and trauma. Knee protectors are a wise investment for young skiers, and good quality guards are available for $30 to $200. Even if you’re a black diamond skier, safety gear is an option you should consider.

Where to find knee guards and pads

Certain factors should influence your choice of knee guard. Performance and function vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and depend on composite materials and quality construction.

  • Consider the child’s age. Children grow quickly, so keep in mind that knee guards will need to be replaced (and maybe sooner than later). It is recommended that children be refitted for knee guards at the beginning of every ski season.
  • How much time do you dedicate to the sport? If you have a chalet or season pass and go every weekend, then it’s worth investing in comfort and durability.
  • Its function and purpose: Discuss your needs with a sales representative. Is the objective to support the knee and avoid trauma, or simply add a little padding?

What makes the difference?

Comfort and flexibility: Price tag is not necessarily an indicator of comfort. The right knee protector depends on your preference of shell construction (hard and soft) and padding. Make sure you have the right size and that it fits, because if it’s too tight you won’t want to wear it.

Size of the area being protected: Some guards cover the just knee while others extend to the thigh and shin. Greater coverage means better protection and reduced exposure to injury.

Durability and impact absorption: Today’s high-tech materials are resistant to shock and absorb impact. The best guards combine both hard and soft shells with moulded plastic and engineered foam. Hard shells are the most robust and can sustain a lot of impact, while soft shells provide less protection but offer more flexibility. Knee guards vary from model to model, but are generally very lightweight.

Material and fabric: Fabric covers also influences comfort, movement and flexibility. The benefits of breathable fabric regulate perspiration meaning the guard will stay where it should and not slip.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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