When I started writing about what I thought the best knee brace for skiing would be, there were dozens of knee braces that "popped" into my head.
Can there really be a "Best Knee Brace" for anything, never mind a sport like "skiing"? Would the knee brace be the best for Snowboarding? for downhill, alpine, cross-country, alpine touring, overland, twin-tip, mogul, monoskis and jumping skis.
Having been in the orthopedic brace business for over 20 years I have spoken with and helped thousands of skiers of all levels, and with all types of injuries. Even though I am not a skier (I am from Canada and hate cold weather), I have formulated an opinion that I think has some value for anyone that has suffered a knee injury and insists on pursuing this winter sport.
There are literally hundreds of knee brace manufacturers in the USA and thousands of knee braces to choose from. When I started back in the 1990's, there were not many knee braces for skiing to choose from. Townsend and DonJoy come to mind as well as custom bracing.
As the internet grew, more and more companies began to appear as the market for bracing expanded at a very rapid pace.
Now you can choose from many styles, colors, lengths, materials and prices.
There are still some fundamentals that I would like to review before giving you my choice for "Best Brace for Skiing".
Ski Injuries: According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more than 76,000 snow skiing-related injuries treated in hospitals, doctor's offices, and emergency rooms in 2018. There were an additional 53,000 injuries associated with snowboarding.
Injuries to the MCL, LCL and ACL are very common knee injuries with skiing and snowboarding as the knee twists and hyperextends during a downward fall.
A rigid framed brace is the best protection from such injuries. This type of knee brace is also paramount if a patient has torn one of these ligaments and wishes to maintain the same level of activity prior to the injury.
The idea is to lessen the severity of the injury. There is no knee brace in the world that will stop a fall! If you are wearing a rigid knee support which provides the maximum stability and resistance to abnormal forces placed on the knee, this will help to control the severity of the damage. So an ACL tear will end up with a sprain, or stretch. Or a major meniscus tear will end up with a minor tear or sprained knee.
The type of knee brace to be worn is based on many factors, some of which are age, activity level, sex, height, weight, prior injury(s), and medical history.
A person with an ACL tear that is a beginner/Green Circle does not need the level of support as an extreme /Double-Black Diamond skier.
The Winner is!
The knee brace that has been one of the most popular and supportive braces in skiing and snowboarding for decades has been the CTi Knee Brace by Ossur. This is my choice for best knee brace for skiing and snowboarding. If you have had a moderate to severe knee injury or are extremely competitive on the slopes, this is the knee support to get.
The Ossur CTi OTS knee brace provides the ultimate combination of stabilization and protection of the knee joint. The brace is made of carbon fiber which is both rigid and lightweight compared to aluminum framed braces. CTi hinge is called an Accutrac hinge which mimics the true motion of the knee joint. The liner of the knee brace uses a silicone coat to keep the brace in place and reduce sliding around.
The Ossur CTi comes in two styles: The Standard model for moderate to high impact levels and Pro Sport model for the highest impact levels.
Like all rigid knee braces, the most common complaint among athletes is slippage of the brace during activity. I have found that an undersleeve, or wearing the brace over underwear practically eliminates this issue. This knee support is designed so well and if properly fitted, will offer as much protection for your knee that is humanly possible.
A new feature of the CTi is the Ski Boot Attachment which eliminates brace movement and stays in place during the highest stresses.
Ossur Ski Boot Attachment
It would not be fair but I have to give honorable mention to several other knee brace runners up. The DonJoy Armor Extreme, The Breg Fusion XT and the Townsend Rebel Knee Braces. All of these braces provide a level of support and stability for skiing and snowboarding that match the Ossur CTi Knee Brace.
But if you want the creme de le cream, the top banana, and the leader of the pack, go with the CTi Knee Brace. For those that can afford it, or if the brace is covered by your insurance company, the custom CTi gives you several more options like custom fit, color and design, but the strength and functionality of the brace is exactly the same.
You can obtain more information about the CTi Knee Brace by going to Kneeshop.com/CTi Knee Brace