A two-year comprehensive prospective experimental skiing injury study is presented. All skiers of two randomly chosen groups registered data of every skier day including injuries, inadvertent releases, hours of skiing, and falls.
The main objective of this study was to estimate the risk difference in skiers with a correct binding setting compared to the average binding setting in a normal skiing population. Also, the risk difference between normal ski poles with a special grip design regarding injury risk to the skier's thumb was investigated.
Nearly 18 000 skier/days were registered. Risk data regarding severe injuries show a similar range as in controlled clinical studies. In this prospective study, however, the bypass effect of unreported injuries can be avoided. Therefore, the overall injury rate including those injuries perceived by the skier as being nonsevere skiing injuries is distinctly higher. Among such injuries is the “skier's thumb” rupture of the ulnar collateral ligament of the metacarpophalangeal joint. Analyzing the injury pattern of this study shows that the most frequent injury is the “skier's thumb.”
Furthermore, many aspects of skier behavior can be shown with this study. The number of falls related to skiing ability and skiing performance and the rate of injuries per falls are reported.
The experimental design can show a distinctly lower risk of injury to skiers with proper binding settings compared to the control group. The risk of lower extremity equipment-related (LEER) injuries is about 3.5-fold lower with the properly adjusted ski bindings compared to the average binding setting we find today on ski slopes. The difference in the risk is caused by a distinct reduction of knee injuries.