Mar 1, 2004, 9:59 AM
Post #1 of 30
Hi, I've fallen in love with skydiving and was wondering if anyone had any insights as to how I might protect my knee in landings? I'm currently looking at docile canopies with a shallow glide, suggestions on canopies would be appreciated too. Thanx in advance.
Something that can help is a very good knee brace, not the crap you can buy at a drug store, but a solid, metal constructed, hinged brace. If your insurance can cover it, that would be best, since they are VERY expensive, but if you knee(s) are uberf**ked then they are a god send.
One of our skydivers, Julie, wears one of those metal robo-knee braces and when she lands, she lifts that leg up, lands on her good leg and then puts her bad leg down for a more comfortable, soft landing. Becareful, though. Others that I see with bad knees, do the calm booty-slide landing.
Coming off a femur break, I still can't run (well, I probably could, but I'm a chicken), and the butt-slide is the way to go, as long as you have a grassy area!
Yes, people still ask me if I'm OK after a landing like that, but I'm not proud.
I also found the butt-slide to be easier on a canopy that has some forward motion on landing, rather than a "stright-down" type. Consequently, I'm still jumping my Stiletto and my Jedei, rather than find a "docile" Spectre or something like it.
Something else to consider is learning how to PLF. With a bad knee, you'll have to modify it a little, but you can handle a lot of things falling down that would hurt to stand up, especially when you KNOW you're going to fall down.
Not to start a post fight, but I think with the way you sit in the harness of a ram air, a PLF isn't practical. I know we've been teaching for a million years but the PLF doesn't take into account the forward speeds of the modern ram air. That is not to say that you can't do them, it is just that by doing them or being committed to them, you are banking on a technique that is adapted for something else. In my humble opinion, the PLF will induce an unwanted twisting motion that coinicides with the impact of landing. Not a good thing when dealing with a knee who's torsional stability is compromised. The slide, on the other hand, does account for the ground speed of the ram air.
No, stand up landings are not required for license and ratings. Only accuracy is considered. When I opt to slide, I place both feet an knees together, at an angle to the ground, hit heels first, then ease on to my butt. Take care to try not to stop the landing (the friction with the ground will do that for you) and just coast on in. It doesn't look cool, but it saves the knees.
But beware, you still need to learn the proper flare technique. You will still thump in very hard if you miss your flare point.
Occasionally at the expense of the ass and/or spine. It's also easy to tweak an ankle or knee if your heel catches.
imho, if you have a physical issue (knee, ankle, back problems) it's better to jump a canopy that you can land softly standing up every time - even in no wind - than it is to have to butt slide because you can't run. If that means jumping something bigger than what someone who doesn't have injuries to protect is jumping, or if it means upsizing after coming back from an injury, so be it.
Just discovered this thread today. I jump with no ACL in my left leg and a reconstructed one on my right. I use two Robo braces when I jump. I've found that what works for me is a good PLF. Maybe not the answer for everyone. Also, I took a canopy class and have improved my landings a great deal. Doing good landings on a bigger canopy and good expensive braces are the only way to go.
I blew my knee skiing in 1996, both my ACL and MCL went, and wear a brace for both skiing and skydiving. I use a DONJOY which was relatively inexpensive ~$700 and does up with velcro. It rubs a bunch so when skiing its over the long johns and when skydiving it over the jeans. Won't do any sports without it.
My wife raptured her ACL in Aug 03 on a botched tandem landing (passenger was ok: all smiles). At 1000+ jumps (AFF-I, TAN-I, Sr. Rigger), she has not been too proud to slide in everyone of her landings ever since on her cute behind. Smart thing to do until she undergoes reconstructive surgery in early May.
(This post was edited by mtpohl on Mar 13, 2004, 3:37 PM)
Hey,...I can relate, left knee snapped my ACL in 2 pieces and will not be getting surgery. Have found after a year can get by beauty with 3 ligaments in my knee. I wear a good brace and subconsiously still favor my right leg/avoid landing on left and turning to the left....or running canopy off more than a few steps. Takes time under a canopy to get to know it well and trust it.
My canopy is a dream to land (150 triathlon) ...and has made 100% improvement on my landings.
Hi smiles, great name. I've been jumping with a brace, but haven't landed on my feet yet, I seem to have mastered the butt-slide though. I'm going to the gym this week to practice jumping up onto a moving treadmill, ankles and knees together. I'll do it at different speeds so I can then gauge what I'll need to do for a stand up landing when I see the ground rolling beneath me. (I expect to get lots of curious looks at the gym ) Then, when I'm comfortable with that, I'm going to continue to practice my PLFs and start jumping off of various pieces of furniture. Granted this is a pain the the butt, but, hey, I'm havin some fun with it! BBS, Tiger
Jumping onto a moving treadmill? Wow, that sounds kind of tricky. Is that an exercise your physical therapist gave you? I know my physical therapist gave me lots of great exercises to do, but I never heard of that one. I'd be really careful! When I was rehabing after this latest injury my therapist was great and got me up to jumping off a 24 inch step. Which was quite a big deal for me. Take it slow and make sure to get all the professional advice you can. Are you going to have your ACL repaired or just live with it? I've decided to just live with it this time. So far so good and the braces really help a lot. Again, best of luck.
No, a therapist didn't give me this, it's my own answer to being intimidated to the ground rolling beneath my feet. If I know that I can handle different speeds on the treadmill, I'll be able to handle the ground. And with the treadmill, I'm going to start very, very slowly, and build up speed as I get the hang of it.
Ya, I'm going to live with this as long as I can without surgery. BBS and careful knees
I know from my own rehab experience that jumping up to something takes a lot more strength then jumping off of something, but I guess you won't know until you try. Have you ever thought about taking a canopy course? I decided I couldn't get back in the air until I had taken one. I don't know where you are, but these classes are popping up all over. I took Scott Millers course down in Deland and it was great. Gave me more confidence and now I know what I need to work on. I also perfected my plf's there and that has helped a lot. I have always been afraid of the "butt slide". I don't want to mess up my back or catch a heel and end up breaking my leg instead. You might check at your DZ and see if they know of any canopy classes around. I know Scott travels too and might be coming somewhere close to you.
Aside from my knee issues, I decided that c/c class is a must, and I'm really glad there's been much more emphasis on it lately nationwide. I plan on going to Deland as soon as I can, and my DZ will be having c/c classes once a month.
Those canopy classes are great and I'm glad to hear you already thought of that. By the way, not trying to stick my nose in where it doesn't belong, but I talked to my physical therapist today about your idea of jumping up to a treadmill. She said that was a bad idea.....mostly because now your are dealing with two moving objects, yourself and the treadmill. When you skydive your moving, but the ground isn't. She said with two moving objects you've just doubled your risk for instability. Just thought I would pass on the info. You have to make up your own mind of course. Talk to your doctor about a knee brace, too. I think they are wonderful and I wouldn't jump without mine. I look kind of funny walking around with both legs braced, but that's the great thing about being 40! You just don't care about those things anymore.
The butt landing works, although sometimes painful when you misjudge where the ground is. The problem that I encountered on one jump (Otter) was when everyone was preparing to enter the jump run. Getting off my duff and then onto my knees, sitting back against my heels like everyone else was doing (it was my second AFP jump) was a HORRIBLE idea. When it came time for my instructor and I to jump, once I left the aircraft I noticed a severe amount of pain and a very limited amount of mobility in my left leg (2 ACL replacement surgeries to date).