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Feb 3

Stay Safe on the Slopes

Stay Safe on the Slopes

With the Olympics quickly approaching, no doubt more people will feel inspired to get out and hit the slopes. Snowboarding in particular has seen a steady gain in popularity over the years. Unfortunately, as a result, snowboarding injuries have also become more common. Snowboarding has a totally different pattern of injury than skiing. Snowboarders are more prone to wrist injuries as well as ankle sprains or fractures than skiers. These differences are mainly due to differences in equipment. For example, the type of boots a snowboarder wears can impact their risk of injury. Hard shell boots put the snowboarder at twice the risk of a knee injury compared to soft boots, while soft boots increase the risk of ankle injury twofold compared to hard boots.

Close to a quarter of all snowboarding injuries occur during a person’s first experience, and almost half occur during the first season. Snowboarders should be particularly aware of an injury known as “snowboarders ankle”. This injury is specific to snowboarding and, prior to this sport, was rarely seen by doctors. The injury involves a fracture of the lateral process of the talus bone and is typically the result of a hard landing or fall. This fracture does not show up on an x-ray and therefore is often misdiagnosed as an ankle sprain.  Snowboarders who have suffered a bad ankle sprain should consult with an experienced orthopedic physiotherapist.  If left untreated, this injury can result in a more serious disability.

Wearing protective equipment and taking lessons from a qualified instructor will all help to reduce injury occurrence.  However, it is also important to be prepared physically. Being in shape and maintaining good physical condition could keep you free from injury. Your physiotherapist can provide you with an individualized program to get you ready for the slopes and can provide advice on how to stay injury free. However, if you do find yourself with an injury this season, your physiotherapist can also provide you the appropriate treatment to get you back on the slopes as soon as possible.

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