Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Technique Tip: Avoid wrist / elbow / shoulder pain

Sometimes a Nordic Walker contacts me saying that they are experiencing pain in their wrist, elbow or shoulder which is exhasperated when Nordic Walking and they ask my advice:

First things first... If you are experiencing pain the first thing you should do is seek professional medical advice. Here in the UK I would visit eg a osteopath, physiotherapist, chiropractor or sports injury specialist...

Could this be caused by Nordic Walking? Yes it could! When I first began Nordic Walking one of the first things that struck me was the potential for this sort of 'repetitive strain' soft tissue injury due to both vibration through the poles when 'planting' and also 'planting' the poles too forcefully.

So what can be done to avoid or limit the risk of injury...

Well, three things...

1) Learn the 'correct' technique: The very best way to do this in my opinion is via a trained instructor. If you do not have access to an instructor then either buy a training DVD and or purchase a book that gives clear instruction.

* Excuse the self promotion here... But my new book - 'Nordic Walking Step by Step' takes you 'step by step' through my 10 point training program - the very same program that you would experience if you booked personal training sessions with me.

2) Buy good quality Nordic Walking poles - Some low cost aluminum poles on the market cause me concern due to the level of vibration transmitted to your wrist and arm every time you plant your poles!

...That is vibration transmitted through both your right and left wrists and arms approx 900 times for every mile you walk! If you have the opportunity to 'physically' test poles before you buy them you should look out for this!

Note: Carbon fibre poles are usually noted for their 'vibration limiting' qualities, although some aluminum poles have systems in place designed to counter vibration.

3) ... And this comes back to point 1) above eg - Getting good training: DO NOT 'slam' your pole tips into the ground each time you plant them - The harder and more often you do this the more likely you are to be setting yourself up for 'painful' problems down the road...

So - Always plant your poles 'gently' and 'thoughtfully'! Do not apply downwards force until fractionally 'after' the tips have made contact with the ground.

I hope that helps...



Ps... My book - 'Nordic Walking Step by Step' is available via:


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