Health issues for surfers

Am Fam Physician. 2005 Jun 15;71(12):2313-7.


Surfers are prone to acute injuries as well as conditions resulting from chronic environmental exposure. Sprains, lacerations, strains, and fractures are the most common types of trauma. Injury from the rider's own surfboard may be the prevailing mechanism. Minor wound infections can be treated on an outpatient basis with ciprofloxacin or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Jellyfish stings are common and may be treated with heat application. Other treatment regimens have had mixed results. Seabather's eruption is a pruritic skin reaction caused by exposure to nematocyst-containing coelenterate larvae. Additional surfing hazards include stingrays, coral reefs, and, occasionally, sharks. Otologic sequelae of surfing include auditory exostoses, tympanic membrane rupture, and otitis externa. Sun exposure and skin cancer risk are inherent dangers of this sport.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthozoa
  • Athletic Injuries / classification*
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Dermatitis, Contact / etiology
  • Exostoses / etiology
  • Humans
  • Lacerations / etiology
  • Lacerations / microbiology
  • Marine Toxins / poisoning
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Otitis Externa / etiology
  • Sea Urchins
  • Seawater / adverse effects
  • Seawater / microbiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Sports Equipment / adverse effects
  • Sunburn / complications
  • Tympanic Membrane Perforation / etiology
  • Urticaria / etiology


  • Marine Toxins