Snowboarder’s Fracture

By Jason Lunden, DPT, SCS

Injuries to the legs are less common in snowboarding than they are in skiing.  However, injuries to the knee and ankle are still account for 1/3 of injuries in snowboarding, especially in more advanced riders.  Just as with injuries to the upper extremity, injuries to the knee/ankle can range in severity from a strain/sprain to torn ligaments and fractures.  Injuries sustained from a fall after a jump that result in noticeable swelling and walking with a severe limp, indicate the injury is probably a more severe injury and requires medical examination.  One snowboarding-specific ankle injury deserves mention here.  A fracture of the lateral process of the talus (a bone of the foot/ankle) is very rare in other sports (<1% of ankle injuries), but is relatively common in snowboarding (~15% of ankle injuries) and is often called a “snowboarder’s fracture”.  This can be mistaken for a severe ankle sprain, and hard to see on regular x-rays.  A fracture of the lateral process of the talus necessitates medical care as it may require surgery to allow for proper healing.  Therefore if you do get a “bad” ankle sprain that doesn’t seem to be healing after 1-2 weeks, it is important to go see your physician for further evaluation. 

Jason B. Lunden, PT
Board-certified Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy
Excel Physical Therapy 1125 W. Kagy Blvd. Suite 101A
Bozeman, MT 59715
ph. 406.556.0562

Our patient came to physical therapy in December 2014 with a history of episodes of chronic low back pain. He was treated by Excel Physical Therapy's Megan Peach, DPT, OCS, CSCS. He was instructed on a home exercise program for core strengthening and educated on the importance of maintaining core strength for reducing the frequency of low back pain episodes. His low back pain resolved and he was able to scuba dive in Aruba a few weeks later!

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