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This study investigates femoral shaft fractures resulting from skiing accidents occurring at a moderate-sized Northern Vermont ski area over a 15-year interval from 1972 through 1987. Twenty-one skiers sustaining femoral fractures were compared to 5240 other injured skiers who sustained 5678 injuries and a control population. The incidence of femoral shaft fractures was approximately 1 for every 80 000 skier days and was unchanged during the study period. Of the 21 fractures, 17 resulted from bending injuries. There was no evidence to suggest that binding dysfunction contributed to these injuries. Skiers sustaining femoral fractures were found to be similar to the control population in age, height, weight, tibial length, skiing ability, and skiing experience and to use similar skiing equipment. They were taller, heavier, more skilled and experienced, involved in fewer falls, skied faster, more frequently injured in collisions, more likely to have a binding release, and more likely to slide or tumble before their injury than skiers sustaining tibial fractures. The age of skiers sustaining tibial and femoral shaft fractures were similar.
alpine skiing, injury, femur fracture, epidemiology
Professor, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT
President, Vermont Ski Safety Equipment, Inc., Underhill, VT
Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY