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Wrist injuries, in particular distal radius fractures, are very common in snowboarders. Previous studies have shown wristguards can reduce incidence of wrist injury. This study aims to determine if protection differs between guard designs. Snowboarders presenting to the Centre Medical d'Avoriaz during a 7 week period in the 2010–2011 winter season were surveyed on whether they used a wristguard as well as details of the design. Wristguard usage of the injured group—those with injuries distal to and including the elbow was compared to the controls—all others. Use of all types of wristguard was 20.2 % of the injured group and 27.0 % of controls (p = 0.035). Short guards accounted for 83.3 % of all guards used by injured snowboarders and 76.5 % of guards used by controls (p = 0.190). However, 100 % of snowboarders who had acquired distal radius fractures despite using wristguards used short guards (p = 0.031). Guards situated on the palm side only were used by 55.6 % of injured wristguard wearers and 47.1 % of control wristguard wearers (p = 0.144). The increased incidence of palm side wristguards in those with distal radius fractures compared to controls was not quite significant, 69.2 % (p = 0.064). This study confirms that wristguards can reduce the prevalence of wrist injury, and also suggests that some guards may offer better protection than others. In particular, the results suggest that short guards and possibly those worn on the palm side do not protect against distal radius fractures. Further work is needed to determine the wristguard design which offers the greatest protection against wrist injuries.
wrist guard design, wrist injury, snowboard
Univ. of Aberdeen Medical School, Aberdeen,
Centre Medical Avoriaz, Avoriaz,
Consultant in Accident and Emergency Medicine, Raigmore Hospital, Inverness,