Skiing injuries in children, adolescents, and adults

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1998 Jan;80(1):25-32.


We prospectively gathered data on skiing injuries that had been sustained at the Sugarbush North ski area since 1972 and at the Sugarbush South ski area since 1981. The purpose of the current study was to document the overall rates of injury in children, adolescents, and adults participating in alpine skiing. We also sought to determine the ten most common injuries in each age-group. Finally, we analyzed short-term and long-term trends to determine if changes in equipment had had an effect on the frequency or pattern of injury. From the 1981-1982 to the 1993-1994 season, there were 2.79 injuries per 1000 skier days: 4.27 injuries in children, 2.93 in adolescents, and 2.69 in adults. During the last eight years of the study, the most common injuries were a contusion of the knee in children, a sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb in adolescents, and a grade-III sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament in adults. The short-term trends revealed that, in children, the frequency of tibial fractures decreased 10 per cent while that of fractures of the upper extremity increased 8 per cent. The long-term trends showed that, in adults, the rate of tibial fractures decreased 89 per cent while that of injuries of the anterior cruciate ligament increased 280 per cent. The overall rate of injury decreased 43 per cent from the beginning of the study in 1972 to the end of the study in 1994; the decrease was 58 per cent in children, 45 per cent in adolescents, and 42 per cent in adults. Data on the types of equipment and the binding-release values were collected prospectively from injured skiers and from 2083 non-injured skiers. Of the fifty-nine skiers who sustained a spiral fracture of the tibia, forty-two (71 per cent) had binding-release values that were higher than the average for the uninjured group. We believe that the use of properly functioning modern equipment will decrease the rate of injury, particularly in children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ankle Injuries / epidemiology
  • Ankle Injuries / etiology
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Contusions / etiology
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology
  • Fractures, Bone / etiology
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / epidemiology
  • Knee Injuries / etiology
  • Leg Injuries / epidemiology
  • Leg Injuries / etiology
  • Medial Collateral Ligament, Knee / injuries
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rupture
  • Skiing / injuries*
  • Sprains and Strains / epidemiology
  • Sprains and Strains / etiology
  • Tibial Fractures / epidemiology
  • Tibial Fractures / etiology
  • Vermont / epidemiology