It's thrilling to watch Chloe Kim, Arielle Gold, and Shawn White do all their twists and turns during the halfpipe competition in PyeongChang. If you're a snowboarder you've probably been glued to your TV set or computer trying to learn from the best.
You may already be aware of the injuries most like to occur in your sport. ACL injuries and other knee problems likely spring to mind, however, ankle injuries are also quite common.
Although we can’t say for sure what our US Olympic snowboard team does to prevent their own foot and ankle injuries it’s probably a safe bet that their coaches have drilled them with some sage advice.
Snowboarders put themselves most at risk when they wear the wrong boots and bindings, develop an overuse injury that doesn’t allow the ankle to absorb the shock from a jump, and don’t spend enough time strengthening their muscles to support their favorites tricks.
Here’s how to prevent your own ankle injuries while cruising down the slopes.
Make sure your boots fit snugly.
Purchase a boot that fits your snowboarding style. A soft boot will provide the highest level of maneuverability, but it also carries the highest level of risk. Stiff boots will provide the best ankle support and should be worn if you’re a racer. The middle ground is a hybrid boot, providing the best of both worlds—more flexibility and support to prevent ankle injuries.
Buy a boot with a lacing system that also meets you needs. Lacing systems also affect how secure your foot is in the boot. According to REI, traditional laces are inexpensive to replace but can be tough to tighten. Quick-pull laces are simple, but they can’t always be tightened as much as you’d like. The Boa system is simple and secure, but it might be too firm for racers. Another resource I found provides a very thorough description of the pros and cons of each system.
Strength and Flexibility Training
Snowboarding without strength and flexibility training is just asking for trouble. The stronger you are physically and the more flexible you are the more likely your body will be able to withstand the tremendous force you’re applying to it each time you hit the slopes.
Check out some great tips from a website called Fitness Blender that describes and demonstrates the types of strengthening exercises that will go a long way in helping you prevent ankle and other injuries.
Some great overall stretches for snowboarding are on this Pro Ride Snowboard Camp website.
Without proper fuel in your tank you’re more likely to run out of gas. If you’re tired you’re also more at risk for ankle injuries because your muscles won’t be able to do their job and you won’t be able to make good decisions.
Eat a hearty breakfast with plenty of protein, like eggs and sausage; tofu if you're a vegetarian.
Carry protein bars or nuts with you.
Keep yourself hydrated. Dehydration can also tire you. If you plan to be out most of the day, carry water with you. You might consider using a hydration pack for easy access.
If you've sustained an injury, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies. You can also request an appointment online.
For more information about heel pain in runners download our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".
In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly. You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!
Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.