Alpine ski bindings and injuries. Current findings

Sports Med. 1999 Jul;28(1):35-48. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199928010-00004.


In spite of the fact that the overall incidence of alpine ski injuries has decreased during the last 25 years, the incidence of serious knee sprains usually involving the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) has risen dramatically since the late 1970s. This trend runs counter to a dramatic reduction in lower leg injuries that began in the early 1970s and to date has lowered the risk of injury below the knee by almost 90%. One of the primary design objectives of modern ski boots and bindings has been to protect the skier from tibia and ankle fractures. So, in that sense, they have done an excellent job. However, despite advances in equipment design, modern ski bindings have not protected the knee from serious ligament trauma. At the present time, we are unaware of any binding design, settings or function that can protect both the knee and lower extremities from serious ligament sprains. No innovative change in binding design appears to be on the horizon that has the potential to reduce the risk of these severe knee injuries. Indeed, only 1 study has demonstrated a means to help reduce this risk of serious knee sprains, and this study involved education of skiers, not ski equipment. Despite the inability of bindings to reduce the risk of severe knee injuries there can be no doubt that improvement in ski bindings has been the most important factor in the marked reduction in incidence of lower leg and ankle injuries during the last 25 years. The authors strongly endorse the application of present International Standards Organisation (ISO) and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards concerning mounting, setting and maintaining modern 'state of the art' bindings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / epidemiology
  • Knee Injuries / prevention & control
  • Leg Injuries / epidemiology
  • Leg Injuries / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Skiing / injuries*
  • Sports Equipment / adverse effects*