Over the last 10 years, snowboarding has become established as a popular and legitimate alpine sport. However, at present, there are few epidemiological studies examining the spectrum of injuries associated with this new sport.
Snowboarders are typically male (male : female ratio of 3 : 1) and in their early twenties. They have an injury rate of 4 to 6 per 1000 visits, which is comparable to that which occurs with skiing. However, in contrast to skiing, in which only 34% of those injured are beginners, the majority (60%) of snowboarders injured are beginners. This is a reflection of the participant profile of this developing sport. 57% of injuries occur in the lower limbs, and 30% in the upper limbs. The most common injuries are simple sprains (31 to 53%), particularly of the ankles (23 to 26%) and knees (12 to 23%), followed by fractures (24 to 27%) and contusions (12%).
Compared with skiing injuries, snowboarders have 2.4 times as many fractures, particularly of the upper limbs (constituting 21 vs 35% of upper limb injuries), fewer knee injuries (23 vs 44% of lower limb injuries), but more ankle injuries (23 vs 6% of lower limb injuries). Snowboarding knee injuries are less severe than those associated with skiing. Fracture of the lateral process of the talus is an unusual and uncommon snowboarding injury that can be misdiagnosed as a severe ankle sprain. Ankle injuries are more common with soft shell boots, whereas knee injuries and distal tibia fractures are more common with hard shell boots. Falls, often with a torsional component, are the principal mode of injury. To prevent serious injury it is recommended that beginners use soft shell boots (preferably with a stiff inner boot for ankle support), and take lessons.
KeywordsKnee Injury Ankle Injury Limb Injury Distal Tibia Fracture Lower Limb Injury
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