Despite the use of wrist guards during skate- and snowboard activities, fractures still occur at the wrist or at further proximal locations of the forearm. The main objectives of this study were to conduct a human subject testing under simulated falling conditions for measurement of the impact force on the hand, to model wrist guards as a shock isolator, to construct a linear mass-spring-damper model for quantification of the impact force attenuation (Q-ratio) and energy absorption (S-ratio), and to determine whether wrist guards play a role of an efficient shock isolator. While the falling direction (forward and backward) significantly influenced the impact responses, use of wrist guards provided minimal improvements in the Q- and S-ratios. It was suggested based on the results under the submaximal loading conditions that protective functions of the common wrist guard design could be enhanced with substantial increase in the damping ratio so as to maximize the energy absorption. This would bring forth minor deterioration in the impact force attenuation but significant increase in the energy absorption by 19%, which would help better protection against fall-related injuries of the upper extremity.
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