Downhill skiers have a high incidence of lower leg and knee injuries, while snowboarders experience a high risk of foot and ankle injuries.
One of the major causes for injury that a snowboarder faces would arise from their boots. They are much softer and more flexible then skier's boots and they are not releasable. The boots worn by snowboarders often result in forefoot impact. The more rigid the boot, the less chance for any problem.
In many cases, a mid-foot injury is recognized. It may persist, and if it does, the easiest way to detect such a mid-foot injury is to see if you can stand on your toes without any pain. Softer and more flexible snowboarding boots give less support and make one more prone to injury.
The more rigid boots are "stiffer" and may help prevent such trauma. Trying to get too much air in your maneuvers can get you in trouble. Snowboarding in moderation is always a safe bet.
Robert F. Weiss is a podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Weiss is a veteran of 35 Marathons and has a practice in Darien: The Foot & Ankle Institute of Darien. For more information, visit www.therunning doctor.net.