Snowboarders…Save those Wrists
Compared to alpine skiers, snowboarders have a much higher rate of injury to their upper extremities (shoulder, elbow & wrist). Wrist injuries are especially prevalent, accounting for 50% of all upper extremity injuries. The majority of wrist injuries that occur in snowboarding are the result of trying to break a fall by putting one’s hand(s) out (typically the trailing hand). Falling onto an outstretched arm can result in a wrist sprain, forearm fracture, and rarely a shoulder or elbow dislocation. A wrist sprain will usually result in missing 2-3 weeks of snowboarding, while a dislocation will result in missing 6 weeks or more (if surgery was not required). Wrist guards have been shown to reduce the incidence of wrist injuries by one-half in beginner snowboarders, and there are many glove manufacturers that incorporate a wrist guard into one of their glove models. Learning the proper way to fall can also reduce upper extremity injuries in all levels of snowboarders; therefore obtaining proper instruction from a professional snowboard instructor can help to prevent injury.
Jason Lunden, DPT, SCS is a board-certified specialist in sports physical therapy at Excel Physical Therapy, who specializes in the rehabilitation and prevention of sports related injuries. He is particularly interested in biomechanics of sporting activities, especially running, cycling, skiing/snowboarding, and overhead athletes.
Jason is an avid snowboarder and has taught snowboarding at all levels for the past 16 years and has coached freestyle snowboarding for the past 6 years, most recently with a nationally recognized competitive snowboard program.
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