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

podiatrist foot ankle pain

Foot or ankle pain? How to pick a qualified podiatrist.

Foot or ankle pain? How to pick a qualified podiatrist.

Did you know there are 28 bones in your foot and ankle? That’s a full quarter of all your bones in your feet! Not to mention there are dozens of joints and more than 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons. All of this is to say that when you have pain, you need a foot and ankle specialist, known as a podiatrist.

Podiatrists are physicians, but instead of seeing the initials “MD” after your doctor’s name, you will see the initials DPM. This stands for Doctor of Podiatric Medicine – an important area of specialty focused on feet and ankles.  What’s the difference between an MD and a DPM?

A medical doctor might be trained to diagnose or treat an array of medical problems, podiatrists are specifically trained in comprehensive medical and surgical treatment of the foot and ankle.

It goes without saying that keeping your feet and ankles healthy and pain free is essential for everyday activities, and as complex as those joints are, it’s essential to find a podiatrist that really knows their stuff.  Here are three things you should look for before you make an appointment with a podiatrist.

  1. Select a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM). Why?

Because only DPMs invest years of training to understand the complexities of the foot and ankle. This includes soft tissue, bones and how the foot and ankle function, along with how podiatric health relates to the rest of the body.

A DPM must complete specific medical school training as well as clinical rotations and a residency in both medicine and surgery – all focused on podiatry. To put this in context, other orthopedic doctors spend a few weeks focusing on the foot and ankle as part of their overall training.

Once DPMs go into practice, they also must complete ongoing continuing education to maintain board certification and stay informed on evolving treatment protocols and technical advances.

Why does all this matter? Because your podiatrist is uniquely qualified to evaluate, diagnose and treat your foot and ankle problems in the most comprehensive and effective way possible. This means you can be confident that you have all the options available to you when it comes to feeling better.

  1. Make sure they have extensive hands-on experience with all types of treatment. This is important for treatment of all surgical and non-surgical problems of the foot and ankle. Clinical experience is essential, and an experienced podiatrist will have diagnosed and treated many ailments of both the fore foot and rear foot. They know when to recommend a conservative treatment and how to help you navigate a more complex solution such as surgery. And hands-on clinicians will also tend to have better patient rapport, which makes for a better whole experience for you.
  1. Look for leaders in the specialty.

Podiatrists who are actively involved in their professional community often train other podiatrists, sit on the board for certifications, and even give the oral exams that are required of practicing DPMs. This means they are at the top of their profession and other doctors look to them for expertise and best practices.  If your podiatrist is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, you will see FACFAS next to their name. These highly-trained fellows have continued their foot and ankle surgical education beyond their residency to advance their expertise.

Advanced Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists is proud to have two doctors of podiatric medicine who are at the top of the foot and ankle specialty. They treat Achilles tendon injuries, broken ankles, plantar fasciitis, bunions, total ankle reconstruction, and many other foot and ankle problems.

Dr. Alan Ng Dr. Ng DPM, FACFAS specializes in foot and ankle reconstructive surgery and trauma. He is heavily involved in the world of podiatric medicine, serving as a past president for the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery, and has been chair of the Oral Foot examination for Board Certification in foot surgery since 2009. Make an appointment today.

Dr. Keith Jacobson, DPM, FACFAS is a regional expert in foot surgery and reconstructive rear foot and ankle surgery, he specializes in foot and ankle trauma and reconstruction in both adults and pediatrics. Additionally, Dr. Jacobson is a current member of the Board of Directors for the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery and a Chair for the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery Computer-based Patient Simulation Committee. Make an appointment today.


What do hiking, high heels and hitting the court all have in common? Ankle danger.

Spring is here; a time when Coloradans are hitting the trails and the courts and trading in winter boots for spring heels. But when winter flurries turn into a flurry of activity, we open ourselves to the possibility of injury. One of the most common injuries each spring is ankle injury. Lateral movements, walking on uneven surfaces, or slips and falls can cause instability that leads to ankle ligament sprains.  The severity of the sprain varies from mild to moderate to severe, so diagnosis is essential.

Ankle Sprain Grades:

  • Grade 1 – is stretching or slight tearing of the ligament with mild tenderness, swelling, and stiffness. The ankle feels stable, and it is usually possible to walk with minimal pain.
  • Grade 2 – is a larger but incomplete tear with moderate pain, swelling, and bruising. Although the ankle sometimes feels stable, the damaged areas are tender to the touch, and walking is painful.
  • Grade 3 – is a complete tear of the affected ligament or ligaments with severe swelling and bruising. The ankle is unstable and may feel “wobbly.” Walking is usually not possible because the ankle gives out and there is intense pain, although initial pain may quickly subside.

RICE vs. ADVICE. When to see a doctor for an ankle sprain.

Many ankle injuries can heal with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). This core treatment applies to most grade 1 sprains. The compression treatment varies with sprain severity and ranges from wrapping to splints and air casts to crutches.

When to seek help. If you have severe pain, numbness, skin discoloration, loss of mobility, you need to see a doctor. Time is also a marker. If pain persists past a week or discoloration doesn’t subside after two weeks, you should seek advice.

Ankle sprains can heal in six weeks or take multiple months. Correct healing is a priority as repeated injury can lead to joint weakness and instability. Home therapy or physical therapy are key tools to restore range of motion, stretching ability and the necessary balance to restore maximum stability.

Ankle Injury Prevention

Of course the best way to keep a spring in your step is to avoid injury. As the snow melts away, here are three tips for ankle injury prevention:

  1. Maintain Proper Equipment. The condition of your shoes is as important as the fit. Shoes with uneven wear (e.g. sloped wear or worn out sole) place the foot in a vulnerable position rather than maintaining a secure foundation. You need stability for good mobility.
  2. Maintain Proper Conditioning. Consistent exercise keeps your muscles in optimal shape to perform and protect your joints. Optimal fitness levels fuel your performance and recovery.
  3. Warm-up and Cool Down. Your muscles perform best when you are properly warmed up and stretched out. Muscle support, stability and balance are maximized when you take care of your muscles – including pre and post stretching.

Spring into the warm weather by putting your body in the position to succeed rather than stumble. At Advanced Orthopedics, we want you to Be Active. Make sure you’re grading your game, not your sprain this spring!