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The snowboarder's foot and ankle.

We undertook a prospective study to determine the type and distribution of foot and ankle snowboarding injuries. Reports of 3213 snowboarding injuries were collected from 12 Colorado ski resorts between 1988 and 1995. Of these, 491 (15.3%) were ankle injuries and 58 (1.8%) were foot injuries. Ankle injuries included 216 (44%) fractures and 255 (52%) sprains. Thirty-three (57%) of the foot injuries were fractures and 16 (28%) were sprains. The remaining injuries were soft tissue injuries, contusions, or abrasions. There was no significant correlation between boot type (soft, hybrid, or hard) and overall foot or ankle injury rate. There were significantly fewer ankle sprains in patients wearing hybrid boots and fewer fractures of the lateral process of the talus in patients wearing soft boots. An unexpectedly high number of fractures of the lateral process of the talus were noted. These 74 fractures represented 2.3% of all snowboarding injuries, 15% of all ankle injuries, and 34% of the ankle fractures. Many of these fractures are not visible on plain radiographs and require computed tomography imaging to be diagnosed. Diagnosis of this fracture pattern is paramount; the physician should be very suspicious of anterolateral ankle pain in the snowboarder, where subtle fractures that may require surgical intervention can be confused with anterior talofibular ligament sprains.

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