Conquering Knee Pain for Skiing

Conquering Knee Pain for Skiing

There is Runner’s Knee, but what about Skier’s knee?

Knee pain can be a daunting challenge, especially for our winter activity enthusiasts in Worcester, Massachusetts. At Clash Physical Therapy and Health Services, we understand the importance of addressing knee pain, not only for enhancing the skiing experience but also for overall well-being. In this blog, we'll explore the common causes of knee pain related to skiing, provide actionable tips for prevention, and highlight how our services at Clash can be the key to overcoming and preventing knee discomfort. 

If you’re reading this and already know you want to schedule a session, click here to fill out an appointment request to set up a free consultation with one of our expert physical therapists to determine if we are the best fit for your physical therapy needs!

Understanding Knee Pain

Skiing is one of the many exhilarating winter activities enjoyed by many. However, just like any activity, it can sometimes take a toll on our bodies, more specifically, the knees. Each year more than a half a million people will suffer a ski-related injury. Knee injuries are the most common, accounting for 30-40%. Regardless, whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner the experts at Clash Physical Therapy & Health Services want to help you either minimize or better yet, totally avoid pain. Pain that usually results from improper technique, overuse, or even pre-existing conditions. Our goal is to equip you with knowledge and strategies to enjoy skiing, while minimizing the risk of knee injuries. 

Understanding “Good pain” versus “Bad Pain”

If you’re a bit sore or have tenderness in your legs after a day on the mountain, don’t panic! The general feeling of soreness in the muscles of the hips, knees, and calves are typical after skiing. Especially if it's your first time on the slopes this winter season. This would be considered a “good pain” as it is expected to be moderately sore after doing an activity depending on the volume and intensity at which we did said activity. Basic mobility, hydration, and proper rest can help diminish the soreness moving forward. Sometimes a nice cold shower, cold plunge, or the old frozen bag of peas method can do the trick as well! Typically, we would want the soreness to be from a couple hours to 24 hours and not necessarily affect any day to day activities. For example, you shouldn’t have to go down the stairs sideways because your muscles are sore-that would mean you overdid it. We like to refer to the mild type of soreness or pain as “yellow light” versus “good pain” because it is just an indication of workload, not injury, and it is letting us know we should proceed with caution versus speed up.

If you’re noticing pain which is happening during skiing or afterwards, is constant, and does not calm down in the intensity within 24-36 hours, we would say this is a “bad pain.” Your body is trying to signal that it does not feel safe while skiing for whatever reason! It could be because of an injury, a pre-existing condition, an illness, lack of rest/recovery, or because you’re performing at a volume and intensity your body does not feel it can handle. Any of these combinations could be a reason your body’s pain alarm is sounding and does NOT want to shut off entirely. We like to refer to this pain as red light pain versus “bad pain.” It means you’ve done more than your body can handle or recover from within a reasonable amount of time. 

So, the ultimate question, “How do you prevent knee pain on and off the slopes?”

  1. **Proper Rest**
  •   Sleep is the most underrated tool. It is so important. 
  • Lack of sleep can increase inflammation and decrease our immune system response
  • New research, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, finds that sleep deprivation increases sensitivity to pain by numbing the brain’s painkilling response.
  • Deep sleep is important to help manage pain, says a recent study published by the National Institute of Health. During deep sleep, your body releases growth hormone and works to build and repair muscles, bones, and tissue. Deep sleep also promotes immune system functioning. Additionally, slow-wave sleep may be important for regulating glucose metabolism
  • Clash PTHS further educates on the importance of sleep hygiene to heal.
  1. **Proper Hydration**
  • You need to drink fluid during exercise to replace the fluids you lose when you sweat. That way, you'll reduce the risk of heat stress, maintain normal body function, and maintain performance levels.
  •  Proper hydration can improve the production of synovial fluid, reduce the inflammation, and maintain the shock absorbing properties of cartilage
  • Clash PTHS further educates on hydration and nutrition to help manage pain and optimize performance and recovery
  1. **Appropriate Mobility Routine**
  • Consult with our experienced therapists to assess and improve your mobility to compliment your skiing technique, thereby reducing strain on the knees.
  • A proper mobility routine can make a significant difference in preventing knee pain and enhancing overall performance.
  • A proper mobility routine can decrease your body’s vulnerability while skiing and help decrease post muscle soreness.
  1. **Appropriate Gear:**
  • Ensure your skiing equipment, including boots and bindings, is properly fitted to reduce unnecessary stress on the knees.

   5: **Appropriate Off Season Strength Training**

  • Consult with our experienced therapists to assess and improve your strength and mobility to compliment hitting the slopes!
  • A proper Strength program in the off season can decrease injury risk and improve performance.
  • Our physical therapists also have the capability to adjust your program during the winter season to help you maintain all you’ve worked for in the off season - while you enjoy skiing!!

Addressing Knee Pain with Clash Physical Therapy:

  1. **Specialized Knee Assessment:**

    Schedule a comprehensive total body assessment at CLASH to identify the root cause of your pain. Our skilled therapists use advanced diagnostics to tailor a treatment plan suited to your specific needs.

  1. **Physical Therapy Interventions:**

    Our physical therapists will review a range of evidence-based physical therapy interventions to alleviate knee pain. We provide cupping, massage, instrument assisted massage, dry needling, softwave therapy, and/or targeted mobility and strength exercises depending on your needs. Our therapists work collaboratively with you to come up with a unique plan to optimize your recovery.

  1. **Education and Prevention Strategies:**

   - We want to empower YOU. Our educational one on one hour long sessions provide plenty of insights into maintaining knee health, as well as overall health during skiing…or any other activities you love for that matter.

At CLASH Physical Therapy and Health Services, our commitment goes beyond just treating pain; we aim to enhance your overall health and well being. By addressing your pain proactively and offering personalized solutions we aim to empower all our clients to take back control of their health and live their best life!

Take the first step towards pain-free skiing – contact us today using the code “skier's knee” for a personalized consultation and embark on a journey to optimal knee health.

Call or Text us at 774-314-2487

Email us 

Schedule a free consultation here!