While some people find snowboarding a thrilling winter sport, the activity doesn't come without the risk of injury. If you're a novice snowboarder, you may find yourself lying in the snow more often than you'd like.
Although a fall from a snowboard or a collision with another snowboarder can end with a wrist sprain or fracture, broken collarbone, shoulder injury, fractured tailbone, or even a concussion, a knee injury can occur as well. Therefore, it's important to understand how snowboarding can lead to knee joint injury and knee pain, as well as what you can do to prevent injury and treat pain.
Cause of Knee Injury
Besides suffering possible knee contusions from falls, the jumps can stretch or tear ligaments in the knee joint. Injury can occur on landing to ligaments connected to the knee joint, particularly following a stunt that goes bad. When you twist your knee or injure muscles or ligaments surrounding the knee joint, you are going to feel pain.
Overuse of your knee joints by snowboarding can also cause knee bursitis—a condition that may cause swelling, pain, and inflammation at the front or back of your kneecap. The repeated movements, such as jumping, are what can lead to overuse injury and knee pain.
The use of proper snowboarding technique not only improves your performance, but it also reduces the risk of injury from falls. Paying attention to the position of your knees and hips when riding a snowboard also helps minimize knee pain.
1. Maintain only a slight bend at your hips, as too much bend is hard on the quadriceps muscles on the front of your thigh. Continuous pressure on the quads puts added strain on the joint at the front of the knee, causing anterior knee pain. In addition to pain, you may experience swelling and clicking of the knee. Your knee may also lock or give way at times.
2. Keep your knees in the correct position while snowboarding. When strapping your feet to the snowboard, make certain that your knees are pointing in the same direction as your feet. This prevents your knees from twisting. Keep your knees slightly bent and relaxed.
3. Wear knee pads to help protect your knees from contusions that cause swelling and pain, particularly if you hit the ground hard when you fall. The pads add extra cushioning that protect your knee joints from injuries that can make the muscles that surround and support the knee joint, limiting range of motion.
Treatment for knee pain related to snowboarding often includes taping the knee and joint mobilization performed by a physical therapist, chiropractor, or osteopath. You may also find alternative treatment methods such as massage and acupuncture helpful in relieving pain.
Your health care practitioner may recommend stretching and strengthening exercises along with these other treatment modalities. Exercise loosens muscles in your thigh and lower leg, helping to reduce stress on your knees. Strong thigh and buttocks muscles aid the knee joint in absorbing shock from high impact forces. Stretching exercises also help restore range of motion of the knee.
For more information and treatment options, visit a local health clinic near you, such as Pottstown Surgical Associates.