In a new study, the injury patterns of classic windsurfing and windfoiling will be compared. For this purpose, surfers are called upon to answer an online questionnaire.

Dr. Kirsten Thünemann from Kiel is a trauma surgeon, an active water sports enthusiast herself and part of the Society for Surf Medicine. She is currently working on a study comparing injuries and overuse symptoms in windsurfing and windfoiling. For the study's data base, windsurfers are asked to fill out an online questionnaire and describe their injury experiences.

The survey is available in German, English and French, and takes a maximum of ten minutes to complete.


Are injuries in foiling different from those in windsurfing?

On the background to the study, Kirsten Thünemann tells us: "Many windsurfers tell me again and again on the beach that they do not feel well taken care of with their injuries during water sports - I would like to change that. Foiling in particular has changed the injuries that occur. That's how the idea for the study came about." There is no other study of this kind in the world yet, and the results will be published in the U.S. at a later date. "Since I am often on the road in Schilksee, where the iQFoilers also train for their competitions at the Olympic base and are currently preparing for the 2024 Olympics, the study topic is important, topical and very obvious to me."

The assumption, which will be examined in more detail in the study, sees different injury patterns: "In windsurfing, statistically, distortions and bruises of the lower extremity, i.e. the legs, occur most frequently. We assume that cuts to the foil occur more frequently in foiling. This would be an important starting point for injury prevention." The study also focuses on the effect of helmets and impact protection vests. Although the medical experts assume that they protect against injuries, at the same time, helmets, for example, could also lead to dangerous situations being recognized later. Falls at higher speeds, such as those experienced in foiling, could lead to extreme rotational stresses for knee and ankle joints.

Based on the most frequently observed injuries and overuse injuries, Kirsten Thünemann would like to draw up recommendations for injury prevention following the study. In addition, exercise programs will be designed in collaboration with physiotherapists at Surfmedizin e.V. to protect against the most common overuse injuries. "A typical example from surfing is the so-called surfers shoulder, which can be treated and also prevented through specific training," says Thünemann.