What is the impact of skiing and snowboarding on the body?
Skiing and snowboarding are extremely physically demanding sports, requiring high endurance and core strength, no matter what the age of the athlete. Athletes often snowboard or ski for an entire day, sometimes back-to-back days, which greatly fatigues the body and increases the risk of injury.
We also see a large variety of non-contact injuries, many of which can be prevented. These types of non-contact injuries usually involve the muscles, joints and ligaments of the knee and ankle due to the high degree of leg movement involved in snow sports. The Sports Medicine team at Children’s Colorado is passionate about educating athletes, parents and coaches on ways to prevent these injuries.
What are common ski injuries?
The most common ski injuries include knee
and thumb sprains.
What are common snowboard injuries?
Injuries to the wrist
are more commonly seen in nowboarding. Wrist fractures (broken wrists) commonly happen when the hands and arms are used to brace falls.
What injuries can be caused from both skiing and snowboarding?
- Arm and leg fractures (broken bones)
- Concussions, usually caused from falls on ice, collisions with other athletes, trees or the ground
- Ligamentous knee injuries such as medial collateral ligament (MCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, with MCL strains being the most common knee injury
- Ankle sprains
- Muscle strains of the lower extremities (legs) and back
Resources and tips for injury prevention
Regardless of a young athlete’s ability on the mountain, wearing appropriate protective equipment is the best defense against injury. Skiers and snowboarders should wear helmets to prevent head injury, goggles to prevent eye injury, and wrist guards. More aggressive skiers and boarders who spend most of their time in the terrain parks or on extreme terrain should consider spine and body protection.
Snow sports are strenuous activities with heavy demands on the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones of the body. It is important that athletes are in good physical and cardiovascular condition prior to attempting these activities. We recommend that beginners take professional lessons to develop skills and critical safety tips such as how to take a fall on the snow.
Learn more about the Sports Medicine Program for Young Athletes at Children’s Colorado.
Learn more about our Hospital Sports Program for children with physical disabilities.