Whether you were showing off for your friends or it's your first time on the slopes, there's a good chance that snowboarding will result in a swollen butt and your wounded pride every now and again. Once you haul yourself off the ground and hit the couch, give your behind the TLC it needs after a hard fall. And next time, wear padding and try staying upright to give your butt a break.
The best way to heal your butt is to get indoors where you can rest. There, you can apply the R.I.C.E. method to help take down the swelling -- that's rest, ice, compression and elevation. Of course, elevating your butt can be difficult, but lying on your belly or using a donut pillow can help take some of the pressure off while you recline. Continue using the R.I.C.E. method for at least the first 24 to 48 hours, after which the swelling and bruising should start to subside.
Heat and Rehab
After 48 hours, ClevelandClinic.com suggests swapping ice for heat to see if it makes your muscles feel better. Good news -- you can test out the ski resort's hot tub in the process. As the swelling goes down, you'll regain movement, but you might still be a little tender. A gentle massage can help, as will the whirlpool action from a hot tub or jetted tub. Stretching can also help you regain movement, even if you're not ready to hit the slopes just yet. After a couple of days -- and some awesome bruises -- you should be back to normal.
While a swollen butt is rarely a medical emergency, there are a few situations for which you should seek medical help. In rare cases after a severe muscle contusion, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons warns of a condition called compartment syndrome, which causes rapid bleeding and pain after an injury, resulting in disrupted blood flow to the affected area. If you're in extreme pain and the swelling doesn't subside with ice, call your doctor -- you might need to have the fluid drained.
Luckily, most snowboarding attire contains padding to cushion your butt if you fall. But still, learning how to fall properly -- yes, there's a right way -- can help protect your muscles from the impact. The book "Snowboarder's Start-Up: A Beginner's Guide to Snowboarding" suggests that when you fall backward, pull your arms into your torso and twist so that the entire side of your body absorbs the impact instead of just your butt. Hopefully, next time you'll get up, dust yourself off and stay on the slopes -- butt intact.
- Cleveland Clinic: Buttock Contusion
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Muscle Contusion (Bruise)
- Snowboarder's Start-Up: A Beginner's Guide to Snowboarding, 2nd Edition; Jim Waide, Doug Werner; p. 65
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.