The Joint Ventures' Blog

Skating safely

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

As a former competitive ice skater, I know firsthand how demanding the sport can be on the body. The types of injuries can be quite extensive. There can be the more obvious traumatic injuries to the knees, hands, wrists, or elbows as with falls, or there can be overuse-type injuries. What is unique to ice skating is that most of the injuries are overuse-type injuries related almost entirely to the only piece of equipment required for the sport…the skates. 

                                                    

An ice skate is a tight, rigid piece of footwear that can really take a toll on a skater’s body if not adjusted properly. The size is crucial to minimize friction forces between the foot and boot, so if the boot is too tight, there are added stressors to certain points and potential areas of increased inflammation.  Conversely, the boot cannot be too loose because then the foot is able to move around too much and the skater loses stability and risks increased friction again at certain bony prominences of the foot and ankle. 

                                                    

The flexibility and pliability of the boot is important to allow for shock absorption and stability. Ice skating is unique in that there is a great amount of reliance on the legs for strength and power but this strength and power is almost entirely from the hips and knees. An ice skater tends to have less strength and stability around the foot and ankle since they are relying heavily on the stability of the boot. If a boot is too flexible, the skater may not be prepared with the strength and power through the foot and ankle to make up for what the boot is not providing. The opposite could also be true. With too much rigidity through a boot, the skater’s foot and ankle are unable to move much which may force the knee and hip to do more work (that they may not be prepared to do).   

The only piece of equipment REQUIRED for ice skating is the skate, but this pair of skates has to be the perfect size, with impressionable leather boots and two very sharp blades in order for the ice skater to create magic on the ice through edges, spins and jumps. 

For more information on skating safely this winter, or tips on how to prevent ice skating injuries, please stop by my Kenmore Square office, or email me at Courtney.Barresi@JointVenturesPT.com.

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