Snowboarding is a dangerous sport, and there isn’t any way to completely avoid all the risks it poses. Injuries can happen even to the best snowboarders, and although they are unfortunate, you can’t simply wish them away.
I’ve been snowboarding for decades and have had my fair share of injuries along the way. I know through first-hand experience what the most common injuries are and how to prevent them from happening a bit.
This post will list all of the most common snowboarding injuries. I’ll explain how and why these injuries happen and give you some tips to try and keep you a bit safer on the slopes so you can ride all season long.
Let’s get started.
Injuries happen, and that’s a simple fact of snowboarding that everyone needs to understand. I’m going to provide you with some tips to prevent some common injuries in the sections below, but it’s essential to realize that these are by no means guaranteed to work.
Just like any other athletic or high-speed activity, snowboarding can be dangerous. And that’s not just for beginners. Anyone on the slopes can get hurt at any time, and it’s just the reality of the situation. But understanding this can help you ride safer.
1. Wrist and Hand Injuries
Wrist injuries are some of the most common you’ll experience when snowboarding. These are a little more common for beginners, but they can happen to just about anyone who rides often. Luckily, wrist injuries aren’t always severe.
Wrist injuries can occur when you take a fall. It’s natural to use our arms and hands to try and brace for impact when a wipeout happens. But this can be bad news and lead to sprains and even broken arms.
Various parts of the hand can also get injured, and it’s not exclusive to just the wrist. Thumbs can get sprained, and fingers can be broken by the force of impact. Not all wrist and hand injuries will take you out for the season, though.
How to Prevent Wrist and Hand Injuries
To limit the chance of wrist and thumb injuries, it’s important to limit how much you use your hands and arms to brace for a fall. You need to learn how to fall properly, which involves rolling into a fall onto your shoulders rather than using your hands.
This advice is much easier to practice out in the snow than it is by reading this article. But always keep in mind that you don’t want to put your arms straight out in front of you when you fall on a snowboard.
Also Read: Best Snowboard Wrist Guards
2. Knee Injuries
Knee injuries are another common snowboarding injury, and these can be a bit more severe than one to your upper extremities. The knees take a lot of impact as you ride around on the slopes, and the forces involved with this can eventually lead to injury.
Knee sprains are the least severe type of injury you’ll encounter. These can cause discomfort, and if they are mild, you probably won’t miss much time in the snow. But a severe sprain can take weeks to heal.
On the more severe end of knee injuries are torn ligaments and other knee issues requiring surgery and rehab. If you tear your ACL or another ligament in your knee, that’s the end of your season, unfortunately.
How to Prevent Knee Injuries
Riding within your ability level is a good way to limit the chance of knee injuries. They often happen when somebody tries to do something huge that they have never tried before. So keep things within reason unless you are willing to risk your entire season.
Strength training during the offseason can also help reduce the risk of a knee injury. The stronger your legs are, the more use and abuse they can withstand.
3. Ankle and Foot Injuries
Ankle and foot injuries are also possible on the mountain. These don’t happen as often as knee injuries, but it is possible to roll an ankle or twist your foot in a way that leads to injury. These injuries can range from mild to severe.
A sprained ankle is one of the more common injuries. This can happen when you land awkwardly on your board or if you are using boots that don’t quite fit properly. It can also happen as part of a knee injury.
Foot injuries like sprains or bruised heels are also possible. A bruised heel can occur when you go off a big jump or other feature and land hard. Both of these can take a while to heal fully, and you might need to spend time off your board.
How to Prevent Ankle and Foot Injuries
Riding within your ability level is another crucial part of preventing ankle and foot injuries. If you go off a jump that’s too big, you’re more likely to bruise your heel or roll an ankle when you come back down to earth.
4. Shoulder Injuries
Shoulder injuries are another common occurrence, although they don’t happen as frequently as the others on this list. I’ve hurt my shoulder several times while snowboarding, and it’s never fun.
A shoulder sprain can happen when you take a terrible fall and land directly on your shoulder. This can be painful or just uncomfortable, depending on the severity of the impact. These usually take a few weeks to heal.
Shoulder dislocations are possible if you really wipe out hard or plant your arm down awkwardly when you fall. These are some of the most painful injuries I have felt in my life, and you might need help from ski patrol to get it back in.
How to Prevent Shoulder Injuries
Strength training in the off-season can help you build a stable foundation to limit the risk of a shoulder injury. There is no way to prevent these injuries outright, but being stronger always helps.
Learning how to fall properly is another step toward reducing the risk of shoulder dislocations. This doesn’t help reduce the risk of shoulder sprains as much, but it still helps.
5. Head Injuries
Head injuries are always possible when you are riding, and they are some of the most severe of them all. You don’t want to mess around with a head injury, and you always need to wear a helmet to prevent them from happening.
A head injury is always serious, and a bad one can kill you. It’s not worth the risk, so always ride within your ability levels and don’t do anything stupid while you are on the mountain. And if you hit your head hard, get yourself checked out.
How to Prevent Head Injuries
To prevent head injuries while snowboarding, you should always, I repeat always, wear a helmet. They can very literally save your life and should be on your head whenever you are on the slopes. Riding in control and with common sense also helps.
Also Read: Snowboarding Concussion (Everything You Need to Know)
No one wants to experience any of the injuries listed here, but if you snowboard long enough, there’s a good chance you’ll experience some or all of them at some point. Knowing how to limit their risk can help you stay healthier and enjoy your time on the snow.About Lorraine