Tips For a Safe Snowboarding Season

For many people, the sight of rain and snow clouds is a downer. But for a snowboarder, it’s a sign of life going down hill in another way. Tahoe received 7 FEET of snow by Thanksgiving, and Squaw received an additional 11”-13” just this past weekend. All this snow is paving the way for a great snowboarding season!

The sport has grown immensely in the last 40 years, and was even introduced into the Winter Olympics in 1998. When most people think of snowboarding they think of Shaun White sailing 18 feet over the half pipe. Those tricks do come with injuries, but the majority of injuries actually occur in beginners.

What are the causes of snowboarding injuries and how can you reduce your chances of becoming an injury stat?

Because a snowboarder’s feet are strapped onto a board, there is less torque occurring at the lower body than with skiing.  As a result, the injuries mainly occur in the upper body (wrist, elbow, and shoulder) from falling on an outstretched hand.  Of those injuries, 44% are wrist strains/fractures making it the most common snowboard injury.  Shoulder injuries come in a close second at 33% (rotator cuff injuries and shoulder dislocations).

How can injury risk be reduced?

1)  Gear: Use of wrist guards have been shown to consistently decrease risk of wrist fractures and strains. Another common injury among both snowboarders and skiers is a head injury, so helmets are a no brainer.

2)  Conditioning: Most snowboarding injuries occur in beginners because of poor balance and conditioning. As with any sport, the key to preventing injuries is preparation. Follow our blog over the next few weeks for sport specific exercises, and join our Total Body Fitness Class to help you achieve your best performance and safe boarding.

3)   Learn to Fall: Don’t fight it. A good way to dissipate a fall, is to make fists and slide onto your forearms and chest. If you happen to sustain an injury, make sure to ice for 10 minutes 3 times a day to decrease pain, swelling, and inflammation. If symptoms don’t improve, go see a doctor.

Got to go for now, they’re loading my board on the roof rack!!

This is the second week of our ski and snowboard series.  Next Monday we will be posting progressions for gluteal and core strength, both vital for good stability on the snowboard.  We will also be posting our holiday wellness specials on CPMC Physical Therapy Facebook Page.  Give the gift of fitness with bike fit, running, or golf assessment.


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