Surfing – Most Common Injuries
If you’re a keen surfer, it can become a way of life as much as a sport and therefore injury can be devastating. The sport is physically demanding and encourages surfers to push boundaries by trying out new manoeuvres and tackling bigger waves. Protect yourself against the financial consequences of injury with one of our specialist policies.
Lacerations to head, lower leg and foot
The superficial soft tissue which lies at the surface of the skin is easy to damage, whether it be from the sharp edges of your surfboard fin, or from rocks and corals. Falling from your board when surfing onto a coral reef can result in stitches and possible infection. Reduce this risk by wearing rubber booties and if you’re a beginner, by choosing a softer fin for your board. Surfers may choose to wear a helmet when surfing in large waves or over reefs.
Soft tissue strains
These range from contusions to acute strains to the spine, shoulder, knee and ankle. The constant and rapid changes in position from lying down on the board to standing up require flexibility, so loosening up before getting in the water is integral to injury prevention.
Eye damage can be sustained due to a wayward surfboard tip and is often a very serious injury as the tip can compromise vision. It is easily avoidable however by putting an inexpensive soft nose guard on the tip of your surfboard. Also be wary of the UV rays reflected off the water which increase in strength by 50%. If possible avoid surfing when the sun is at its strongest during the midday hours.
Joint surface damage
When a surfer’s feet leave the board at the top of a wave and then find it again at the bottom of the wave, excessive rotational force may be exerted through the knees and ankles due to unbalance. Core stability exercises will help; plyometrics and agility training is ideal.
This is a shoulder overuse injury and relates to the prolonged time spent paddling on a surfboard. It is similar to that which affects swimmers. Flexibility in this area can help to prevent such an injury but if sustained, physiotherapy will be needed. Often an imbalance between the internal and external rotator-cuff strength is the cause and needs addressing.