October 8, 2008
KITESURFING & WINDSURFING INJURIES by Andrew Bellamy
Please note that the comments in this blog come from many years of clinical experience and practice, combined with details and opinions taken from various sources, including open-source internet articles. Where relevant, links are provided.
Please also note that we cannot comment on individual cases without taking a proper history and conducting a full examination.
SO, HOW DANGEROUS IS IT to go windsurfing and kite surfing? Well, a quick search of the internet will throw up various reports of serious and even occasionally fatal events involving, in particular, kitesurfers. However, these events are still rare and are no more frequent than other ‘dangerous or extreme sports’.
What sorts of injuries do we, as osteopaths and physiotherapists, see as a result of these now popular sports?
Here in Shoreham-by-Sea there is a particularly active group of surfers that range mainly from mid-teens to mid-fifty’s and who spend as much of their free time on the water as they can. Great fun with lots of adrenaline, wonderful exercise and what a way to get away from the mobile and other distractions!
However, where there is pleasure there is often pain and these sports are no exception. One of my best friends, who is almost messianic when it comes to windsurfing, tells me that he never has any injuries! Except, that is, for the bruised ribs caused by his harness as he came to a sudden stop recently, the neck strain and stiffness and foot and shin pain from doing too much for too long.
This is fairly typical from what I hear at the Adur Osteopathic Clinic and remember that those comments are from an experienced windsurfer!
NOVICES & LEARNERS typically suffer forearm muscle problems from gripping too hard until they learn to relax as well as shin and foot strains for much the same reasons.
Back strains from rigging and up-hauling tend to happen more in the early stages, but no one should be complacent about them as potential risks.
- As is often the case, prevention is the better path to tread.
- Take up Pilates to gain core strength and make you fitter before problems start.
- To ease backache while sailing, try tilting you pelvis back and forth in the quieter moments.
- Many of these problems can be overcome simply by practice and good coaching in the early days.
What are the common injuries in these sports?
Where I, as a Registered Osteopath and my colleagues come in is when it goes beyond a ‘bit of a strain’ and becomes a proper injury.
Listed below are some of the most common types of injury and where they occur on the body.