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The Effectiveness of Ski Bindings and Their Professional Adjustment for Preventing Alpine Skiing Injuries

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Summary

This article presents a critical review of the extent to which alpine ski bindings and their adjustment have been formally demonstrated to prevent injuries. It considers a range of evidence, from anecdotal evidence and informed opinion to biomechanical studies, testing of equipment, epidemiological studies and controlled field evaluations.

A total of 15 published studies examining the effectiveness of bindings and their adjustment were identified. All of these included anecdotal or informed opinion, and all but one focused on equipment design. Seven studies involved the testing of bindings or binding prototypes, 2 studies presented biomechanical models of the forces involved in binding operation, 6 reported an epidemiological evaluation of ski bindings and 2 considered skiers’ behaviours towards binding adjustment. Some of the reviewed articles relate to the study of the biomechanics of ski bindings and their release in response to various loads and loading patterns. Other studies examined the contribution of bindings and binding-release to lower extremity, equipment-related injuries, the effect of various methods of binding adjustment on injury risk and the determinants of skiers’ behaviour relating to professional binding adjustment.

Most of the evidence suggests that currently used bindings are insufficient for the multidirectional release required to reduce the risk of injury to the lower limb, especially at the knee. This evidence suggests that further technical developments and innovations are required. The standard of the manufacture of bindings and boots also needs to be considered. The optimal adjustment of bindings using a testing device has been shown to be associated with a reduced risk of lower extremity injury. Generally, however, the adjustment of bindings has been shown to be inadequate, especially for children’s bindings. Recommendations for further research, development and implementation with respect to ski bindings and their adjustment are given in this article.

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Correspondence to Caroline F. Finch.

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Finch, C.F., Kelsall, H.L. The Effectiveness of Ski Bindings and Their Professional Adjustment for Preventing Alpine Skiing Injuries. Sports Med 25, 407–416 (1998). https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-199825060-00004

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-199825060-00004

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