A difficult-to-diagnose and once rare ankle injury is becoming more common with the increased popularity of snowboarding, according to a recent report by Reuters Health.
Known as “Snowboarder’s Ankle,” the injury, commonly misdiagnosed as a sprain, is actually a lateral talus fracture — a break in the lower ankle bone, at the outside of the joint. Generally, the fracture occurs when landing after a jump, as the foot flexes up and inward simultaneously.
Physicians interviewed by the news agency advise that among physicians, the index of suspicion regarding the possibility of a fracture should be high when a patient presents with the appropriate signs and symptoms, and a recent history of aggressive snowboarding. Ideally, the injury should be treated by an orthopedic surgeon with experience in lateral talus fracture repair, experts advise.
The American Academy of Family Physicians advises that most snowboarding injuries involve injuries to the hands, buttocks and head, and recommend the following preventive measures for all snowboarders:
- “Protect your wrists. Most snowboard injuries are to the wrists. Wear wrist guards made for snowboarding or in-line skating. Don’t break your fall with your open hands. Hold your hands in closed fists while you snowboard so you won’t be tempted to break your fall with an open hand. Try to roll into a fall as a paratrooper would, spreading the force of the fall over your body instead of taking all the force in one place.
- Protect your head. Though you probably won’t hit your head first, the back of your head may hit the ground at the end of a fall if you land on your buttocks. These head injuries usually aren’t serious, but you can end up with quite a headache. Wear a helmet when learning, racing and snowboarding on unmarked trails. (Collisions with trees cause some of the most serious injuries in this sport.) “Previously on the DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:
- Skiing and snowboarding safety tips
- A recent rise in the incidence of critical snowboarding injuries
- Why recent changes in skiing landscapes suddenly make helmets important
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