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Dr. Joseph's Guide To Skier & Snowboarder Injuries

by Dr. Terell Joseph

Who Gets Injured More — Skiers or Snowboarders?

The American Journal of Sports Medicine published a study last winter on snowboard injuries vs. skier injuries. Much of the data published in the study is synonymous with what we see in our offices.

Snowboarders have a slightly higher rate of injury than skiers.  The most common type of injury for snowboarders is wrist injuries; while for skiers, it’s an ACL sprain.

Wrist Injuries Higher in Snowboarders

According to a 2012 study by The American Journal of Sports Medicine (January 20, 2012), wrist injuries account for 28% of all snowboard injuries and only 3% of skiing injuries, while ACL injuries compose less than 2% of all snowboard injuries and 17% of skiing injuries.

The study found the highest rate of injury among young, inexperienced, female snowboarders.

What's the Most Common Snowboarder Injury Scenario?

When it comes to snowboarder wrist injuries, the most common scenario we see is the beginner snowboarder who is just learning the sport, who fractures the wrist. In fact, 25% of all wrist surgeries involve snowboarders in their first three days on the mountain.  So people learning to snowboard should always use wrist guards. It can help prevent a visit to the emergency room.

What's the Most Common Skier Injury Scenario?

The most common injury among skiers is no question, to the knees. When you rotate and torque your knee at the same time, the force is transferred through the ski and the binding, through the stiff boot.

The next “mobile” joint is the knee, thus subject to injury. Meniscal tears are common when this happens; “sitting in the back seat”, in combination with the rotary torque causes the ACL to ‘pop’ which is often audible to the patient as the ligament tears.

Clavicle Injuries

We have found clavicle (collar bone) injuries are about equal among skiers and snowboarders, but disproportionately high in the terrain park, as expected. A recent American Journal of Sports Medicine study (January 20, 2012) states that 22% of snowboard injuries occur in the terrain park while compared with 6.5% of ski injuries.

Last run? It just might be.

Definitely, we see more injuries at the end of the day when protective muscles are tired and less quick to respond. Faulty equipment is still a periodic problem but less and less common as the predictability and quality of the gear improves.



Dr. Joseph believes that our limited time here on Earth is a gift. Part of this gift is the ability to appreciate and enjoy the day-to-dayness of your life. When an injury interrupts this, it is easy to see the importance of timely and professional care to heal from your injury. Dr. Joseph wants to provide this and is well trained to do so.


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