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 arises from the boots that are worn.

Snowboarding boots are much softer and more flexible than a 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 a mid-foot injury is to see if you can stand on your toes without any pain.

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, as well. Snowboarding in moderation is always a safe bet.

Dr. Robert Weiss lives in Westport and has a sports-podiatry practice in Darien. He is a former marathon runner and was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and the 1988 Olympic Trials.