Everyone's favorite time of year in Colorado is just around the corner, ski and snowboard
season! With ski resorts starting to open their slopes over the next month it is important to not
only have fun but also to be safe!!!
Although injuries on the mountain are relatively rare, approximately 3 injuries per 1,000 skiers
depending on the source, they do occur. With advances in binding and boot technologies over
the last 25 years lower leg injuries (i.e. foot and ankle) have dropped substantial. This is great
news but unfortunately it has not drastically cut down on the overall injury rate. The most
commonly injured body part that we see in the clinic with skiers is the knee due to skis getting
caught during a fall causing a rotational force in the knee. The rotation force through the knee
puts the ACL and meniscus at most risk of injury.
In snowboarding injuries the statistics are skewed more toward the upper extremities. A
snowboarder's feet are secured to the one board, therefore they are at less risk of twisting
injuries to the knees. In many cases involving injury during snowboarding the rider will fall
forward and put their arms out to try and brace themselves. Because of this reason 54% of all
snowboarding injuries occured in the arm with the most common diagnosis being wrist fractures
Lastly the biggest concern with winter sports should be keeping your head safe!!! 11-17% of all
injuries on the mountain involve the head and face with one in five of these injuries resulting in
loss of concousness or concussion symptoms. Helmets are proven brain and life savers so buckle
up and have fun out there!!!
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Morrissey, Matthew C., et al. "Conditioning for skiing and ski injury prevention."Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 8.9 (1987): 428-437.
Machold, Wolfgang, et al. "Risk of injury through snowboarding." Journal of Trauma-Injury, Infection, and Critical Care 48.6 (2000): 1109-1114.
Made, Curt, and L‐G. Elmqvist. "A 10‐year study of snowboard injuries in Lapland Sweden." Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports 14.2 (2004): 128-133.