Windsurfers suffer 1.5 injuries per year

September 10, 2011 | Windsurfing
Windsurf injuries: more frequent than you might think | Photo: Carter/PWA World Tour

Three researchers have investigated the incidence of injury in windsurfing in order to consider methods of prevention. Dyson, M. Buchanan and T. Hale published an article on the British Journal of Sports Medicine (Vol. 40, No. 4, April 2006), in which they detail what happened.

A total of 107 raceboard (RB) and wave/slalom (WS) national/international competitors and recreational (REC) windsurfers completed a questionnaire on injury incidence over two years.

Recurrent injury, ability level, and any preventive measures taken were noted. Overall the injury incidence was 1.5/person/year. The WS group suffered more injuries (2.0/person/year) than the RB (1.0) or REC (1.2) group.

The most common injury was muscle strain at 35% of new injuries, much higher than in earlier studies. Overall 45% of new injuries were muscle/tendon strains (RB 55%, WS 42%, and REC 43%) and 8% were ligament sprains.

In the WS group cuts and abrasions were common. The WS and REC groups reported five and one case of concussion respectively. Nearly a quarter (22%) of new lower body injuries were lower back muscular strain, with 34% of recurrent injuries.

Approximately 60% of the remaining lower body soft tissue injuries involved the knee or lower leg, with the ankle/foot most often involved. The shoulder, upper arm, and elbow were the sites of 41% of new upper body soft tissue injuries.

The WS group reported 250% more recurrent muscular strains than the RB group. Recurrent ligament injuries (particularly knee) were most common in the WS group. The RB group reported recurrent serious bruising to the lower leg.

The conclusions are that the injury incidence was 1.5/person/year with a high incidence of new and recurrent muscular strain. Lower back muscular strain was prevalent, indicating the need for preventive measures. Wave/slalom was associated with more new and recurrent injuries and the need for head protection.