Surfing, Surf, Surfer Spine, Surfing Injury

  • Epidemiology
  1. Injury rate in Surfing: 3.5 per 1000 Surfing days
    1. More severe with larger waves in extreme conditions
  2. Most common injuries
    1. Sprains and strains
    2. Fractures and dislocations
    3. Lacerations
  3. Most surfers are injured by contact with surf board
    1. Especially their own surf board
    2. Especially contact with side rails and fins
  • Causes
  • Injuries
  1. See Marine Injury
  2. See Marine Envonomation
  3. See Vibrio Cellulitis
  4. Spine injuries
    1. Head striking ocean floor (high mechanism injury)
      1. Central Cord Syndrome
        1. Blow to head with neck hyperextension
        2. Presents symptoms of bilateral arm Paresthesias
      2. C1 Fracture or Cervical Burst Fracture
        1. Direct blow to head with neutral neck
      3. Anterior inferior Cervical Fracture (tear drop Fracture)
        1. Blow to head with a flexed neck
    2. Atraumatic Spinal Myelopathy (from cord infarction)
      1. Uncommon condition seen primarily in warm water Surfing (e.g. Hawaii) by amateur surfers
      2. May be associated with prolonged hyperextended position
      3. Presents with sudden onset of back pain, bilateral leg weakness, Paresthesias
    3. References
      1. Swadron, Williams, Rogers in Herbert (2018) EM:Rap 18(3): 20
  • Prevention
  1. Rubber Gaurds
    1. Covers surf board nose and fins
  2. Surfing helmet
  3. Protective eye glasses
  4. Surf board leash
    1. Protect other surfers from a loose board
    2. Raises risk of injury to surfer via recoil
    3. Consider longer surf board leash