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Skiing and Snowboarding Injuries

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!!!


Macnab, Andrew J., and Robert Cadman. "Demographics of alpine skiing and snowboarding injury: lessons for prevention programs." Injury Prevention 2.4 (1996): 286-289.

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.