Comprehensive Review of Skiing and Snowboarding Injuries

Brett D. Owens, MD; Christopher Nacca, MD; Andrew P. Harris, MD; Ross J. Feller, MD


J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2018;26(1):e1-e10. 

In This Article

Wrist Injuries

The wrist is the most common location of upper extremity injury related to snowboarding.[23,24] Idzikowski et al[23] conducted a survey of upper extremity snowboarding injuries that occurred during 10 seasons in Vail, Colorado, from 1988 through 1998. Wrist injuries accounted for 44% of all upper extremity injuries and 21.6% of all snowboarding injuries. Fractures accounted for 78% of wrist injuries. Sasaki et al[24] reported similar results in their comparative study of wrist injuries sustained during snowboarding and Alpine skiing; snowboarding wrist injuries accounted for 36.4% of all upper extremity injuries, compared with 9.1% of skiing injuries. Physeal fractures associated with snowboarding were found to occur at twice the rate of that associated with skiing. The mean age of snowboarders who sustained distal radius fractures was 21.7 years, compared with 30.8 years for skiers. The age-matched rate of distal radius comminution was found to be 49.4% for snowboarding and 23.8% for skiing in patients aged 18 to 32 years.[24] Scaphoid fractures and perilunate injuries often are associated with high-energy injury; thus, these injuries are more commonly found in more experienced skiers and snowboarders. Idzikowski et al[23] reported that perilunate dislocations or lunate fracture-dislocations accounted for 2% of wrist injuries in their study. Of the injuries sustained by beginner snowboarders, 34% were injuries to the wrist, and wrist fractures were common. Overall, 92% of injuries were the result of a fall. A fall forward (ie, toe side) was more predictive of a shoulder injury, whereas a fall backward (ie, heel side) was more likely to result in a wrist injury.