The colder weather outside means many of my patients are getting ready to hit the slopes. And while we may disagree on whether skiing or snowboarding is the better winter sport, there’s no arguing that both of these popular activities can cause serious injuries to our wrists, hands and fingers. In fact, one of the most common snowboarding injuries is a wrist fracture, which is most often caused by falling incorrectly at a high speed.
Many of my patients ask for tips to help prevent injuries as they get ready for a snowboarding trip this season, so I thought it would be helpful if I posted my advice here:
1. The best way to avoid a wrist fracture is to learn to fall correctly – either on your backside or onto your knees. Because both feet are affixed to the same board in snowboarding, the natural – and most dangerous – reaction is to outstretch your hand to stop a fall, which puts you at risk for a fractured wrist.
2. Always wear a pair of snowboarding wrist guards to reduce the risk of injuries in case falls do happen.
3. Know your limits – falls and wrist injuries are most likely to happen to beginners who haven’t yet mastered their balance on a snowboard. Practice falling and going down easy slopes before you tackle more difficult inclines.
4. Symptoms of a wrist fracture include pain and swelling of the wrist, as well as possible wrist deformity. Snowboarders experiencing any of these symptoms should contact a doctor immediately.
If you prefer skiing to snowboarding, I’ll be posting some safety tips for you in the coming days.