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Tailbone fracture during snowboarding

The tailbone or coccyx is a triangle-shaped bone positioned at the base of the spine. A tailbone fracture is a prevalent injury while snowboarding because even seasoned players can sustain a high-impact fall on the rear every now and then. A doctor should be consulted if an individual experiences tailbone pain after snowboarding.

If an individual has a tailbone fracture, sitting can cause pain due to the pressure placed on the base of the spine. There is initial bruising in the buttocks area along with a deep aching sensation and swelling. There is also a sharp stabbing pain when moving from a seated to standing position. The pain is also present during bowel movements and sexual intercourse. In addition, the pain can range from minor discomfort to severe.

What are the causes?

Trauma to the base of the spine can cause a tailbone fracture. Trauma while snowboarding typically occurs if the individual loses his/her balance and falls or lands on the rear while performing jump tricks.

It is important to note that the locked position of the feet while snowboarding limits the range of motion, thus beginners might have a hard time with balance and eventually falls frequently. If proper protective gear for the tailbone is not used, it increases the risk for fractures. In addition, if the individual executes tricks above his/her skill level, it increases the risk for injury as well.

Management

Tailbone fracture
Trauma to the base of the spine can cause a tailbone fracture.

In most cases, a tailbone fracture heals on its own over a span of weeks up to months. You can reduce the pain by providing the individual with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). The doctor might also recommend a corticosteroid injection that can permanently or temporarily alleviate the pain as the injury heals.

During the initial 3 days after the injury, apply an ice pack on the tailbone area for 15-20 minutes at a time but alternate with a heating pad on the 4th day. The doctor will also perform coccygeal manipulation to position the tailbone into its proper place by inserting a finger into the rectum.

A specialized cushion or pillow can provide protection to the tailbone as well as reduce any discomfort while sitting. In addition, surgery that involves the removal of the coccyx might be performed in severe fractures.

Preventive measures

It is vital to wear proper safety equipment to protect the tailbone while snowboarding. Protective shorts and padding help minimize the impact on the tailbone during falls. Make sure that the right length of board is used based on the height while the width is suitable for the foot size.

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