Due to the repetitive stress from poling, Nordic skiers can develop overuse injuries of both the elbow and/or the shoulder. The most common of these are medial epicondylitis and shoulder impingement syndrome. The underlying cause of the development of these injuries is multi-factorial: poling technique, pole length, and poor strength and conditioning.
Ski ConditioningOlder Posts »
Patellofemoral pain, or anterior knee pain, is the most common type of knee pain in Nordic skiing. Repetitive stress to the soft tissue around the patella (knee cap) occurs due to poor tracking of the patella in the femoral groove. This poor tracking can be the result of hip weakness causing poor control of movement of the femur (thigh bone), poor stabilization from the foot and ankle, and poor skiing technique.
Low back pain has been found to be more common in cross-country skiers, than non-athletic controls1. Compared to skate skiing, low back pain is more prevalent in classic skiing because of the repetitive flexion-extension loading pattern of double poling. (more…)
Often I think Nordic (cross-country) skiing is the perfect sport for fitness. Nordic skiing is a great workout and way to enjoy the outdoors in winter. Plus, it has a very low injury rate. In fact compared to alpine skiing and snowboarding, Nordic skiing has 20X fewer severe injuries and 5X fewer injuries overall.1
Nearly all injuries in alpine skiing are classified as traumatic, or due to a fall. As mentioned earlier, under Strength & Injury Prevention, the majority of knee injuries in alpine skiing occur on the left knee. Therefore it is important to work on your ski technique to be able to turn equally well to your right and left. With the snowpack being shallower and conditions not yet epic, the early season is a great time to work on perfecting your turns. Aim to stay balanced on your skis with your hips centered and perfect your turns to both sides. A Professional Ski Instructor or coach can make all the difference, so take the time to perfect your technique by taking a lesson at one or our local ski resorts, or sign-up for coaching from a community ski team such as the Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF).
To reduce your risk of injury it is important to make sure your bindings are properly mounted and maintained. Your ski is effectively a long lever arm and if your ski does not release properly it will put a tremendous amount of force through your knee. Therefore it is important to make sure your DIN is set properly, and to check that the release mechanism is working properly regularly. Keep in mind that due to gender differences in strength and morphology, the DIN on women’s bindings should be set at 15% below the recommended universal setting. So before you get out for your first turns of the season, check your equipment and get assistance from your local independent ski shop if necessary. (more…)
Developing and performing a proper pre-season/dry-land strengthening program can help to reduce your risk of injury and improve your performance. Alpine skiing is unique in that it places equal demands on both sides of the body, as one has to be able to turn equally well to the right and the left. Research has found that the left knee is most often injured in alpine skiing1. Therefore it is important to compare the strength of your right and left legs to get the most out of your workouts. (more…)
Winter Injury Prevention: Alpine Skiing, Nordic Skiing, & Snowboarding: Part 1
At Excel Physical Therapy, winter is often our busiest time of year; and with good reason, many of us choose to live here for our winter pursuits of skiing and snowboarding. Unfortunately these sports have a high injury rate and can lead to serous injuries resulting in the need for surgery and extensive rehabilitation. While one cannot completely prevent injuries in skiing and snowboarding, your risk can be reduced by following injury prevention guidelines. This series of blogs will focus on injuries and their prevention for alpine skiing, snowboarding, and Nordic skiing.
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