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
Compared to alpine skiing and snowboarding, injuries in Nordic skiing are almost all overuse injuries; injuries that develop more slowly due repetitive stress. Overuse injuries are easier to prevent than traumatic injuries, through proper training/technique, proper nutrition, and proper strength/flexibility. The most common regions of the body injured in Nordic skiing are the lower back, knee, and shoulder.
The most common underlying cause of an overuse injury is due to a training error. Typically doing too much too soon. So the best way to prevent an overuse injury in skiing is to ease into your season, and don’t try and hammer out 30K your first time out.
Furthermore technique is extremely important in Nordic skiing, not only for efficiency/performance, but also to decrease undo stress on your body. So working on your technique through various drills early, can go along way for you having a successful season. If you need help figuring out your technique, take a lesson at one of our nearby Nordic cross-country skiing resorts, Bohart Ranch or Lone Mountain Ranch, or sign-up for training through the Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF).
1Flfrenes TW, Nordsletten L, Heir S, Bahr R. Injuries among World Cup ski and snowboard athletes. Scand. J Med Sci Sports. 2012;22(1): 58-66.
Jason Lunden, DPT, SCS specializes in the rehabilitation and prevention of sports-related injuries, with a particular interest in the biomechanics of sporting activities – running, cycling, skiing, snowboarding and overhead athletics. He has published on the topic of shoulder biomechanics and the rehabilitation of knee injuries and has a strong commitment to educating others.
Jason serves as a physical therapist for the US Snowboarding and US Freeskiing teams and is a frequent, well-received local and national presenter on the topics of sports rehabilitation and injury prevention. If you have specific questions about how to strengthen, restore, and get back on the slopes and trails, contact us at Excel Physical Therapy, 406.556.0562 in Bozeman, Montana or 406.284.4262 in Manhattan, Montana. #excelptmt
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