Common Ice Skating Injuries: Prevention & Treatment
Ice skating injuries can be either acute or overuse injuries. Single skating tends to lead to overuse injuries while pairs suffer more acute injuries due to the nature of the different styles of skating – single skaters have no external support and have to use their full strength to maneuver the moves while pair skaters perform more dangerous stunts that can cause traumatic injuries. That said, repetitive stress from excessive training could cause any skater to suffer overuse injuries and a slip of technique in any kind of sports could result in traumatic injuries.
Types of Common Ice Skating Injuries
Figure skaters are usually not foreign to injuries. Overuse injuries such as pump bump, lace bite and tendonitis are commonly experienced when skaters are breaking in their new skates. These injuries are usually caused by the stiff leather of the new boots. However, it could also be caused by incorrect skating technique and body alignment, which can lead to more serious injuries like stress fractures, knee pain and back pain.
Acute injuries are usually caused by falls and accidents. Skaters could incur wrist fractures from instinctively stretching their arms out to break a fall. An ankle sprain could also happen when landing a jump on a wrong foot. These injuries, however, could be avoided.
To prevent overuse injuries, space out the training sessions to avoid overworking the body and stretch before getting on ice. When breaking in new skates, walk around in the skates on even ground or speed up the process with heat moulding. Ensure that proper techniques and postures are used every time.
Wrist injuries can be easily prevented by simply letting yourself fall without using your arms to absorb the impact. You should skate slowly so that should you fall, the impact would not be as damaging to your body. To protect yourself from ankle sprains and other leg injuries, make sure that your skates give enough support to your ankles, and allow just a slight lift in the air when jumping so that the landing would not be as hard.
Usually, the R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method is sufficient to treat mild to moderate skating injuries. There are also plasma and steroid injections available to treat chronic injuries. If any bones are broken (fractured), seek medical advice as soon as possible. Your doctor may order an X-ray to examine the severity of the fracture and decide if surgery is necessary. Regardless of severity, it is recommended to only resume skating after full recovery lest causing further injury.