As every extreme sports enthusiast knows, there is nothing quite like the thrill of getting air for the first time. Whether it’s snow, skate, bike, or motor sports, it’s exhilarating to push your limits and see what you are capable of. But for every trick you land perfectly, there could be a dozen where you don’t.
When you do fall, especially on your backside, the tailbone is one of our body’s more sensitive areas. Without proper tailbone protection, it is one of the most common and painful injuries you can experience.
The tailbone, or coccyx, is the triangular shaped, curved portion of three to five bones located at the bottom of the vertebral column (the spine). It is normally well protected in our bodies, but in especially aggressive sports, like snowboarding and skateboarding, it is easy to hurt.
Injuries of this nature rarely require a trip to the emergency room. But a tailbone injury can mean days, if not weeks, of discomfort, preventing you from taking part in your favorite sport. Symptoms include severe, localized pain as well as potential bruising. It may be difficult or painful to sit for long periods. Except in extreme cases, tailbone injuries are most often self treated while the body heals itself. Home care may include using over-the-counter pain medicines, like ibuprofen, avoiding sitting for long periods of time, and applying ice for 15-20 minutes for the first few days after an injury.
In more severe cases, physicians may prescribe pain medications or in inject local steroids to reduce discomfort. In extreme (and rare) cases the coccyx may be surgically removed. Proper tailbone protection can help prevent injuries to this area.
The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that 50,000 emergency department visits and 15,000 hospitalizations related to skateboarding occur in the United States each year. They conclude that many of those injuries could be if proper protective gear is worn.
You need to be careful when selecting the correct protective gear. You want to be confident that you’re selecting the crash pads that cover the places you’re going to fall most. And as anyone who skates, snowboards, or bikes will tell you, you’re going to fall often.
In extreme sports you want to make sure you select pads that provide tailbone protection, as well as protection for your hips and legs. You want to choose something that breathes well when you exert yourself, and is non-restrictive when you’re trying to perfect that new trick.
One option for tailbone protection is to select protective pants or shorts that can be worn as underwear or outerwear. Look for pads that have plastic and foam tails for maximum tailbone coverage. You want something that gives you coverage where you’re most likely to land in a bad fall. Protecting yourself now means more time on the street or mountain, doing what you love.