Knee injuries, especially damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) have long been synonymous with the sport of skiing. ACL injuries typically occur during twisting falls where the ski binding fails to release. For many skiers, especially older skiers, this injury often means an end to their skiing days. Fortunately, snowboarding has proven to be much kinder to the knee joint, with significantly less knee injuries having been recorded over the years.
Easy on the Knees
According to an study published in the Western Journal of Medicine
, snowboarders are less likely to sustain knee injuries than skiers (17% of snowboarders vs. 39% of skiers). Furthermore, those knee injuries that are sustained by snowboarders are more likely to result from impact than torsional, or twisting, forces. Because the snowboarders lower legs are kept in the same plane during falls due to non-releasing bindings, major knee injuries are not nearly the concern they are for skiers.
What the Numbers Say
Despite the findings of the WJM study, snowboarders must still take the proper precautions to ensure a safe experience. Whereas 18% of beginning skiers sustained injuries, nearly 49% of beginning snowboarders were injured, according to the study. This disparity in injuries to beginners likely stems from the lower numbers of beginning snowboarders that take lessons
. Having both feet locked in to the board means snowboarding is more difficult to learn at first when compared to skiing, proper instruction and the use of safety equipment is imperative.