Background There are limited data on injuries in World Cup (WC) telemark skiing.
Objective To describe the injury incidence and injury pattern seen among WC telemark skiers during the competitive season.
Methods We interviewed all WC athletes (or their coach, if the athlete was not present) at the end of five winter seasons from 2008 until 2013. All acute injuries occurring in the competitive season that required the attention of medical personnel were registered. Exposure was calculated based on the official International Ski Federation (FIS) results database.
Results 149 acute injuries were registered during 565 WC skier seasons. The absolute injury incidence was 26.4 injuries per 100 athletes per season (95% CI 22.1 to 30.6), higher for females than males (risk ratio (RR) 1.49, 95% CI 1.07 to 2.08). During the FIS WC competitions, 69 injuries were registered, corresponding to a relative incidence of 8.2 injuries per 1000 runs (95% CI 6.3 to 10.1). The most frequently injured body part was the knee (21%) followed by the hand-finger-thumb (20%), ankle (13%) and shoulder/clavicle (13%). The absolute risk of knee and shoulder/clavicle injuries was higher for females versus males (RR for knee injuries 2.72, 95% CI 1.35 to 5.51; RR for shoulder/clavicle injuries 2.55, 95% CI 1.06 to 6.14). No differences were detected in the injury incidence between disciplines.
Conclusions Female telemark skiers are at 1.5 times greater risk of injury than male skiers. The most commonly injured body part was the knee. The risk of knee and shoulder/clavicle injuries was higher for female athletes than for male athletes.