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Wrist and Hand Injuries

By Cassandra K. Haber

Wrist and hand injuries are common occurrences during winter sports. It is more likely for a beginner skier or snowboarder to experience wrist and hand injuries due to the higher number of falls. However, even more experienced skiers and snowboarders are prone to such injuries. The more advanced skier and snowboarder reach faster speeds and a fall, although less in number, can pose a higher risk of injury.

How to prevent wrist and hand injuries?

· Wear wrist guards, especially if you are a snowboarder

· Stay on slopes appropriate for your technical and physical ability level

· Do not stick your hand out to break a fall

· Ensure proper fit of equipment

· Do not try new tricks or techniques that are beyond your ability and without proper training

· You may invest in the latest ski pole modes with an automatic release outlet which are designed to help you release your hands at the right time during a fall and avoid injury

The mechanism of injury is different for skier and snowboarders. Snowboarders tend to use their hands to break their fall which may result in a wrist sprain or fracture. Skiers hold poles in their hands which may cause the wrist to twist in a way to cause ligament injury. The most common hand injury for skiers is the Skier’s Thumb, which is an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb. This typically happens when a skier falls with pole in hand and the pole handle applies force across the joint, placing the ligament under strain. In severe cases, a hairline fracture can occur at the point where the ligament attaches to the bone.

What to do if you sustain a wrist or hand injury?

· Apply ice, especially if swollen

· Apply compression and provide support

· See a physiotherapist

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