Prevention of Skating Injuries

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San Diego Figure Skating Communications
      Prevention of Injuries to Athletes

Serious Injuries Requiring Medical Attention Occur More Frequently Than You Might Think
      Each year, more than 3.5 million sports related injuries in children under age 15 are treated in hospitals, doctors' offices, clinics, ambulatory surgery centers and hospital emergency rooms in the United States, according to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

      The number of sports related injuries involving children ages 5 through 14 years includes:

  • Football: 448,200
  • Basketball: 574,000
  • Baseball: 252,665
  • Soccer: 227,100
  • Hockey: 80,700
  • Gymnastics: 75,000
  • Volleyball: 50,100
Source - OrthoInfo

Common Injuries of Athletes
      Most of the injuries athletes will experience will be to the extremities of the body such as:
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Wrist
  • Tennis Elbow - Outside of the Elbow
  • Rotator Cuff Tendinitis -Shoulder
  • Chondromalacia Patella - Knee
  • Illiotibial Band Friction (ITBF) Syndrome - Knee
  • Shin Splints - Front of lower leg, along tibia bone
  • Plantar Fasciitis - Heel, bottom of foot
  • Achilles Tendinitis - Heel and calves
Richard Stockton College Athletic Training
The college has put together a page of articles on dealing with common athletic injuries.

Biceps Tendinitis - By Caroline Unger, MSPT, CSCS
Herniated Disc - By Doug Wallace, PT, ATC
Hip Flexor Strain - By Jon Heck, MS, ATC
Inversion Ankle Sprain- By Jeff Bays, MSPT
Impingement Syndrome (Shoulder)- By Rob Rosa, MSPT
IT Band Syndrome (Knee)- By Kaley Abato, MSPT
Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)- By Jeana Sparano, MPT
MCL Sprain (Knee)- By Brian Corbett
Meniscal Tear (Knee)- By Kristin Camm
Pantar Fasciitis (Foot)- By Caroline Unger, MSPT, CSCS
Patellofemoral Syndrome (Knee)- By Sandra Nunes, PT, CSCS
Tibial Stress Syndrome (Shin Splints)- By Jon Heck, MS, ATC

      Skaters commonly experience muscle and bone bruises, strains, sprains and occasional abrasions. Skaters are subject to ACL partial or complete tears that occur when an athlete quickly changes direction and/or receives a blow to the leg/knee as common in body contact sports like ice hockey.

      Knees and ankles are vulnerable joints for ice skaters. The stress placed on the knee is a major reason for figure skaters experience from landing multiple revolution jumps. In addition there is pressure to cancel the torric of the jump's rotation.

      The knee is a complex joint with many components, making it vulnerable to a variety of injuries. Many knee injuries can be successfully treated without surgery, while others require surgery to correct. Here are some facts about the knee from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.   

      Many athletes experience injuries to their knee ligaments. Of the four major ligaments found in the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the medial collateral ligament (MCL) are often injured in sports. The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) may also be injured.  for more information contact orthoinfo.

      There are two basic causes of injuries that regularly occur to the soft tissues (muscles and ligaments) and bones:
  • Overuse injuries - A series of small injuries to an immature body can cause minor fractures, minimal muscle tears, or progressive bone deformities, This type of injury damages elbows of tennis players and baseball pitchers. Track and field, cyclists, and skaters experience foot, ankle, and knee damage from the constant bending of the knees.
  • Acute injuries - Acute injuries are caused by a sudden trauma. Common acute injuries among young athletes include contusions (bruises), sprains (a partial or complete tear of a ligament), strains (a partial or complete tear of a muscle or tendon), and fractures.  This type of injury is usually seen in contact sports.
      Prevention is the preferred way to confront health and injury issues. When an athlete first begins to experience problems, it is essential that a physician be consulted to perform prompt diagnoses and recommend a course of treatment that is essential in preventing an even more serious problem from developing.

      Many athletes are reluctant to take off time from training to participate in a profession rehabilitation plan.  Some athletes and even parents may elect to postpone surgery because the may not be able to complete that season.  This decision can have life altering consequences.
      All levels of skaters can experience physical injuries from participating in recreational and figure skating. Skater, parents, and coaches should become familiar with the following different health and injury topics.

Recommended Reading: 



The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Prevention of Injuries to Athletes
Strength Training Articles
Neuromuscular Massage Therapy
Role of Nutrition in Skating
PDF  Sports Medicine Links

All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

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