Ski Canada Magazine
Knee help with Allison Forsyth
Stoko has designed a combination knee brace and baselayer that can help keep an Olympic downhiller, and you, on track.
Injuries happen to the best of us—and Allison Forsyth was the best of us when injury struck in the women’s downhill at San Sicario, Italy, at the 2006 Winter Olympics. Allison was left with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, a severeenough injury on its own but combine that with a broken femur and tibia and you’ve got someone at the start of a very long road to recovery. “I’m still on that road,” says Allison with a laugh, as we chat during her morning trail run on Vancouver Island, B.C., adding that a good sense of humour is critical to recovery. Laughing and smiling is a big part of Allison’s day. An effervescent bundle of energy, Allison isn’t the kind of person to let injury rule her life, and she’s back to doing what she loves: riding her bike, running, hiking, and, of course, skiing, though at a lower intensity than before. As she puts it, with another laugh, “My body can’t keep up with what I want it to do.” With that in mind, she wanted sport to be part of her recovery rather than waiting until recovery was complete before participating again. After multiple surgeries, a great deal of physio, yoga and cross fit, she found Stoko. Replacing hard leg braces, Allison’s Stoko K1 tights allow her to work out, run, ski and ride with confidence. She loves the precision that Stoko’s “Embrace System” of support cabling offers. “I can control the level of support around the damaged knee, allowing me to load the left foot confidently”, additionally, as she says, “I no longer worry about injury to the good leg, as I’m not over compensating anymore”. The K1 tights, certified as a medical grade support device, won out over traditional knee braces in many ways, “They’re not bulky, I don’t have straps pulled tight around my leg restricting bloodflow, and I always felt rigid braces protected my knee but hindered recovery of my lower leg.” Comfort is also high on Allison’s list. “I need something I can wear all day, that keeps muscles warm and supple.The Stokos do all that.” Training in summer, she adds “I switch to the K1 Breathe, which provides the same support, but keeps me cool, thanks to the vented upper sections.” Every square inch of both men’s and women’s fit Stoko tights is carefully designed to function in support of your body: the embrace system cabling runs around the waist gusset before passing down the legs, which means that dialling up support helps protect the lower core, an area of the body which is crucial to participating in sport at any level. “I feel protected in my core, and have noticed a significant decrease in lower back pain”, Allison notes. So while Allison’s sights may no longer be set on the Olympics she’s out there, training and skiing, the habits of a lifetime unbroken, the passion undimmed. In her words, “The Stokos are an essential part of my recovery. I move freely, stay relaxed and confident knowing I have support around the injury and the core. It’s been a game changer”. She pauses, laughs and smiles again, “Bring on winter!” she says, then turns and hits the trail. Learn more about Stoko at www.stokodesign.com