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Snowboarder's Fracture on the Rise

Posted on: 12/14/2004
Experts in foot and ankle injuries report that a rare ankle fracture is on the rise. Snowboarders land on the foot and ankle when they are twisted in and pulled up. The force can be enough to break off a piece of bone from the talus bone. The talus is the ankle bone between the heel and the lower leg.

Two cases are reported here as a result of injuries while wearing soft-shell boots. Both men fell with the ankle in a dorsiflexed position. This means the foot was pulled up toward the knee. The force of the impact displaced a fragment of bone and tore the nearby ligament.

Both patients had surgery to repair the fracture with screws to hold the bones in place. A year later both snowboarders were back on the slopes at their preinjury level of snowboarding.

The authors of these two case reports conclude that cases of snowboarder's fracture are on the rise. Early diagnosis and treatment bring about a good result. X-rays don't always show the break, and MRIs don't always show how much the bone fragment is pulled away from the main bone. Therefore, CT scans are advised when an ankle injury with forced dorsiflexion is reported.

Doctors may expect to see more of these injuries as snowboarding gains in popularity.

Vincent A. Fowble, MD, et al. Fracture of the Lateral Process of the Talus: A Report of 2 Cases. In The American Journal of Orthopedics. October 2004. Vol. 33. No. 10. Pp. 522-525.

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