Snowboarder vs skier ankle injuries

Snowboarders vs Ski Ankle Injuries

Colorado: If it ever snows enough to ski or board again, avoid these common ankle injuries and stay on the mountain longer!

In Colorado, we’re having one of the slowest starts to the ski and snowboard season in a while, with even less snow than last year at this time. But late December brought plenty of snow to the Rockies last year, so get ready skiers and riders – and keep these four tips in mind to avoid an ankle injury and stay in mountain-ready condition!

  1. Snowboarders beware: your risk of ankle injuries is higher than skiers.

It’s so common, it’s known as “snowboarder’s ankle” – which is actually a serious injury in the form of a fracture. This often occurs because snowboard boots are softer and less able to protect a rider from hard landings or awkward angles. The fracture is caused when the foot is pushed up and in-ward with sudden impact, and while it’s pretty easy to do – fractures account for as much as 50 percent of all rider ankle injuries – it’s harder to diagnose. It’s often hard to see or missed on x-rays and may require other tests to diagnose. If you have pain and swelling on the outside of your foot and ankle, see a foot and ankle specialist to confirm or rule out a fracture.  Delaying treatment or a misdiagnosis can result in more serious long-term ankle pain and problems.

  1. Even though the slopes aren’t totally ready, be sure you are.

It’s never too late to include some pre-skiing or riding exercises in your normal routine. Building strength, stability and flexibility before you hit the slopes lessens your chance of ankle injuries and other injuries too! Many gyms offer ski-conditioning programs and there are simple exercises you can do on your own to strengthen your core, legs and upper body. Riders, can practice with a wobble board, for example, to improve balance and ankle stability. Skiers and riders can benefit from a medicine ball squat which builds muscles and endurance in the lower back, glutes, and quads.

  1. Skiers aren’t exempt from ankle injury – but it’s more likely to be a sprain

While firm ski boots are better at protecting the ankle than snowboard boots, sprains do still happen. When a skier comes down hard on the outside of their foot (which can happen while making a hard turn or stop, or by catching an edge), it forces the ligaments on the outside of the ankle to over-stretch or even tear. Most sprains heal on their own, but not before you manage through swelling, some pain and a sometimes pretty unsightly bruise. Severe sprains can require treatment including surgery. To minimize your risk of ankle sprain, ensure your boots fit snugly and your equipment is correctly sized and adjusted.

  1. Be extra cautious in bad (seriously, really bad) conditions

The Denver Post reports – and you may have experienced – very limited open terrain so far, and what is open is dotted with patches of grass, rock and ice. Uneven and slick spots can be extremely challenging, even for advanced skiers or riders – anyone can catch an edge or lose their balance in spotty terrain. And let’s not forget the crowds. An ankle injury can easily occur when large crowds are forced into increasingly narrowing runs as skiers and riders come to abrupt stops. Think of these early days as a warm up to many months of enjoyable mountain time and take it easy on your speeds and aggressive moves this early in the season.

Foot & Ankle Specialists

Dr. Keith Jacobson

Dr. Keith Jacobson

• Reconstructive Foot & Ankle Surgery
• Foot & Ankle Trauma
• Arthroscopy of the Foot & Ankle
• Arthroscopic Cartilage Repair
• Total Ankle Replacement


Dr. Alan Ng

Dr. Alan Ng

• Reconstructive Foot & Ankle Surgery
• Foot & Ankle Trauma
• Arthroscopy of the Foot & Ankle
• Arthroscopic Cartilage Repair
• Total Ankle Replacement


Dr. Scott Resig

Dr. Scott Resig

• Total Knee Replacement
• Robotic Partial Knee Replacement
• Total Ankle Replacement
• Foot & Ankle Reconstruction and Trauma


Back Pain Waiting in Line

5 things you are doing during the holidays to cause back pain, and how to fix them

Holiday Back Pain

Four out of five people will experience back pain during their life, and stress, fatigue and physical exertion during the holidays can quickly bring on the bah humbugs of lower back pain. Here are five seasonal challenges and tips to help keep your back in line this winter:

  1. Standing in lines. Whether it’s grocery shopping for big holiday meals, finding that perfect gift, or waiting in airport security areas, standing in long lines is one of the lesser joys of the season. How you stand makes a big difference to your lower back. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet, ensure that your knees are slightly bent, and keep feet shoulder width apart. Standing straight and tall can be difficult when you feel the defeat of holiday shopping or travel but don’t make the excursion worse with poor posture.
  2. Sitting too much. It’s been said that sitting is the new smoking. Our bodies are designed for activity. Sedentary behavior – including hours on the couch, at our desk, or in the car traveling – wreaks havoc on our muscles and reduces flexibility. Too often it becomes a vicious cycle: back pain leads you to shut down all activity and, with a body that’s built for movement, extended sedentary time leads to further complications (muscle atrophy, stiffness, loss of flexibility). Limit continuous sitting by building breaks into your day or try a standing desk.
  3. Long hours at work. How you sit at work matters. A lot. Good ergonomics go a long way towards back pain relief and prevention. Good desk habits include uncrossing your legs, using a chair with lumbar support, getting up and moving routinely and doing some basic exercises to help stimulate your muscles. Try sitting on a balance ball or using a standing desk, both of which help you to engage your core and take pressure off your back.
  4. Shoveling snow. Work and bills aren’t the only things that pile up during the holidays. Even though it’s been relatively dry this year, we all know is coming! Snow removal can directly lead to back pain. When you shovel, use your legs and lift with your knees, not with your back. This is especially important the closer you get to completion. As we tire, our form often suffers and that’s where back strain and pain occurs
  5. “Tech” Posture. Cellphones and laptops are a year-round challenge but we’re online now more than ever with 30 days of shopping – mostly spent on a laptop or ipad with questionable posture. An easy tip to ensure that you are in spine-friendly posture, is seeing if your ears are in line with your shoulders. If your ears are ahead of your shoulders, you are straining your spine. With poor posture, it’s only a matter of time before that strain and stress translates into back pain.

The spine is comprised of bones (vertebrae) and cushions (disks) that support all of your upper body weight. Our bodies’ natural movements make the spine subject to mechanical stress and pain – problems that increase with age and wear, and are exacerbated by certain repetitive movements. The result is bones pressing against nerves and causing pain.

These tips can help your keep your back and holidays in line, but if you’re already experiencing back pain, reach out to one of our spine specialists for help! Let’s put the cheer back into the holidays and keep the pain limited to travel and shopping.

Spine Specialists

Dr. Christopher D’Ambrosia

Dr. Christopher D’Ambrosia

• Interventional Pain, Spine, Sports
• Electrodiagnostic
• Rehabilitation Medicine


Dr. Michael Shen

Dr. Michael Shen

•Conservative and surgical treatment of neck, mid-back, and lower back disorders
•Minimally invasive/microscopic surgery
•Motion preservation technology