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Snowboarding Injuries

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Today is the last day of winter and I hope you have all had a safe time on the ski slopes.

The snow fall has been exceptional this winter and I have written a blog on some common injuries that can happen out there on the slopes. As fun as hitting the slopes may be, it is extremely important to keep a few things in mind. Whether snowboarding or skiing, your equipment should always be in good working order, to prevent injuries and increase your fun time on the snow!

As you can imagine snowboarding and skiing have the potential to put major stresses on the lower limb, the equipment is specially designed to reduce these stresses and in turn the rate of injury.

Injuries that occur in snow sports can be classified in 2 categories, those affecting the femur and the knee, and the others affecting the tibia, ankle and foot complex. They occur both in motion (falling, hitting trees etc.) and static (others colliding into you).

A common injury seen in snowboarding which is not very prevalent in any other sport is called the “snowboarders ankle”. This condition is characterised by a fracture of the lateral process of the talus. It accounts for the 15% of ankle injuries and only 1% in the general population.

Signs and symptoms of “snowboarders ankle”

Lateral ankle sprains  are common in snowboarders with many complaints reaching the medic tents, this is however different in a fracture of the lateral process whereby pain is excruciating on the posterior surface of the lateral malleolus. X-Ray and MRI are used to diagnose this.

Treatment

Initial treatment involves NSAIDs and RICER (rest, ice, compression, elevation), followed by non weight bearing for 6 weeks ambulating with crutches and CAM walker. If the process has displaced or fragmented surgery is usually required.

Preventative measures

In a study conducted into reduction in incidence of snowboarders ankle using ankle Bracing or taping whereby 4.9 in 1000 participants experienced ankles injuries using taping, compared to 2.6 in 1000 participants using the brace. 32.8 in 1000 experienced injury using no form of bracing or taping.

Snowboarding has become one of my newly founded favourite hobbies, and if I could offer any advice from experience, it would be to take your time to learn (if you haven’t been before), have as much fun as you possibly can, invest in an action cam, and be safe!

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