Although skiing and snowboarding have plenty of similarities, there are a few differences between the two sports, especially when it comes to injuries. Just from the basic stance, the body uses different muscles to snowboard down the mountain. Add in speed, jumps, and other tricks, which use a great deal of power, strength, and endurance from the core and legs.
Gliding down a mountain on a board can result in numerous injuries with several potential causes, however, the most common, preventable causes include:
- Snowboarding without rest
- Snowboarding at a higher skill level
- Improper equipment
The design of snowboard boots and bindings have evolved resulting in fewer and fewer injuries amongst the lower extremities, such as the knee. To avoid knee injuries, snowboarders should practice knee exercises before hitting the slopes to prepare the body for quick reactions and off-balance movements. Like any sport, it’s important to do a proper warm-up and cool down when snowboarding.
Several variables can cause an ankle sprain, from wrong boots and bindings to overuse of the ligament and falls. An ankle injury can occur from a bad landing after a jump when excessive pressure and inversion are applied to the cluster of small bones in the foot and the ankle joint. To prevent ankle injuries, make sure the ankle does not move in the boot, which should fit snugly. Soft boots increase maneuvering capacity as well as risks of injury. Hard boots provide enhanced ankle support and are usually worn by racers. Hybrid boots are becoming very popular for the advantage of reducing the risks of injury while offering certain flexibility.
Landing improperly following a jump can result in shoulder dislocations, fractures, or separations. Learning to fall properly can help in avoiding shoulder injuries. Practicing sport-specific movement that mimics falling will prepare your body to react quickly if you need to fall.
Wrist, Hand, or Thumb Injuries
One of the most common snowboarding injuries is a wrist fracture. Snowboarders’ wrists are broken when they fall on their outstretched hands. The pressure on the bones is too great and these consequently break. Wrist sprains can also occur, where the ligaments are torn. Keeping the hands in a fist position or wearing wrist guards can help prevent wrist fractures and sprains.
Additional Preventative Measures
- Attend learning courses if beginning
- Warm-up and cool down after exercising
- Keep an eye on other snowboarding and the terrain for holes, tree wells, or rocks
- Wear appropriate clothing, including goggles, sunglasses, and sunscreen
- Have gear checked frequently by pro shops
- Use protective gear and equipment such as wrist guards, tailbone pads, and knee pads
- Know your limitations
If you do experience an injury on the mountain this skiing and snowboarding season, Dr. Larson has great experience in treating sports-related injuries. The sooner you schedule an appointment, the sooner you can get back on the mountain! Give us a call at 435-774-8512.