common injuries of iceskating
You’re on the couch watching TV. Today you’re watching an ice skating competition. You watch as the skaters glide past quickly then flip and spin. Their costumes twirl and flow with their movements, each move carefully practiced and choreographed. They make it look so easy. Meanwhile you’re daydreaming that you are one of those skaters, spinning and twirling and gliding on the ice. You remember those skaters when it's time for your competition. You imagine that you're one of those skaters and in truth you are. Gliding and twirling, dancing and spinning, you do it all. In recognition of your efforts, you get the gold medal and meanwhile you silently thank those iceskaters for your inspiration.
When you fall you naturally want to protect your head, right? A sprained wrist is better than a concussion. But the problem is that ice is a frictionless surface. So when you try to protect your head your arms slide out in front of you and don’t break your fall, as they should.
According to new research, ice skaters are almost five times more likely to suffer head and face injuries compared to roller or inline skaters.
Some people think that ice skaters should wear helmets, but that won’t do any good if you hit your face. You would need a full head helmet. Other people think that ice skaters should wear wrist pads that would make it easier to grip the ice to protect your head and prevent your arms from sliding out.
One of the most common injuries is an arm injury. Arm injuries are most likely caused by breaking your fall on your arm. Most likely you will get a sprain on your wrist if you break your fall with it. If you notice swelling, bruising, or intense pain you probably should get your arm checked out to rule out a fracture. The two bones, radius and ulna, in the forearm are the most likely bones to break.
If you land on your knee when you fall it will most likely be quite painful but you will probably get no more than a bruise. In that case, you should get off the ice and apply ice to the knee. Make sure to put a cloth between the ice and your knee to avoid frostbite. But, in some rare cases, a blow to the knee can lead to misalignment of the kneecap. This in turn can lead to chronic knee pain by wearing down of the cartilage. This is known as “chondromalacia patellae”
If you twist your knee, ex. landing from a jump or beginning a spin, you could hurt your knee ligaments. Most frequently the injury is to the MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament). If you get an injury to the MCL you will have pain on the inner side of the knee and possibly feel instability on the knee. You should keep off the ice for a few weeks. A good treatment for this would be to rest and get physiotherapy.
If you damage the ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) if will probably require surgery. The knee “giving out” when weight is pushed on it can sometimes be a sign of a tear of the ACL. Your doctor may order a MRI to confirm the diagnostic and rule out cartilage damage.
Falling on your bottom can present its own set of problems. While you are young you could break your tailbone (coccyx). This might not cause pain until you are older. By then it will have healed in an unnatural and painful way. It may take surgery to ease the pain or even remove the bone.
Here are some things to help prevent these injuries:
- always warm up and stretch before skating to stretch your muscles so your muscles will not be stiff
- make sure you have proper instruction and training on skills
- make sure you are ready for a skill, mentally and physically, before you try it
- ask your instructor whether he/she thinks that you are ready for something
- wear proper attire, tie long hair back, no jewelry, no baggy clothing
- avoid skating when you are injured or exhausted
- have a first aid kit on hand at the facility and be able to use it for minor injuries