Figure skating can be a fun and rewarding sport for young kids. The excitement of competitions, learning new skills, and achieving set goals creates an experience like no other! But, as with every intensive physical activity, skating carries a risk of injury. Most first-time skaters fall quite a bit while they are learning how to glide, spin, and jump on the ice. As the parent of a skater, it’s important to understand the kinds of skating injuries that can occur and what you may be able to do to prevent them from happening. While there is no guaranteed way to avoid getting hurt while on the ice, there are steps you can take to educate yourself and prepare for the possibility of injury.
Common Skating Injuries
We’ve broken down several injuries that a skater can sustain on the ice. Some of the most common injuries include ankle or wrist sprains and fractures, cuts, bruises, muscle strains, knee pain, and even head injuries. When in doubt about the severity of an injury, take your young skater to the doctor for immediate diagnosis and treatment.
Ankle Sprains or Fractures
Figure skating involves intricate jumps, turns, and spins, and if you land on your foot wrong, you could risk possible injury, sprain or fracture. A sprain occurs when you twist, roll, or turn your ankle in an awkward way. When this happens, you can stretch or tear the ligaments around your bone. An ankle fracture occurs when you break one or more of the bones that make up the ankle joint.
A sprained or fractured ankle is a particularly common injury among figure skaters, and treatment for these types of injuries depends on the severity. The best thing you can do if you suspect your young skater has sustained an ankle injury is to head to the doctor for a proper diagnosis. Beginning skaters shouldn’t push themselves into more complex tricks until they’ve mastered the basics. Knowing their limits will help protect their ankles, as will skating in properly fitted figure skates.
Wrist Sprains or Fractures
Another common injury that can occur in figure skating is a wrist sprain or fracture. Similar to an ankle sprain, a wrist sprain is when the ligaments surrounding the bone tear or stretch, and a fracture in the wrist is when one or more of the bones break. Falling badly on the ice and catching yourself on an outstretched hand can result in a sprained or broken wrist. Skaters often fall when first learning new skills, like gliding backwards. Learning to fall correctly on their sides or on their bottoms will help to prevent wrist injuries now and in the future. If your young skater does hurt his or her wrist, head to a doctor right away to get the injury properly diagnosed and treated.
Cuts, Scrapes, and Bruises
Along with the inevitable figure skating falls comes a variety of minor scrapes and bruises. Anything from a bump against the arena wall to a slide across the floor can leave a mark, but these types of injuries are normally treatable at home. Stock up on bandaids and antibiotic cream so you can take care of minor lacerations as they occur. Beginning skaters should also be careful when putting on their figure skates so they don’t cut themselves on the blades.
Overuse injuries occur when a skater’s muscles are worked too hard, too often. These types of injuries don’t happen right away, but over time. Common overuse injuries include stress fractures, tendonitis, muscle strains, and foot pain. It’s important to recognize that, as a hardworking athlete, taking time off is just as important as training hard. Be sure to schedule some time off to allow your body to recover in between training and practice sessions.
Although completely avoiding injuries is impossible, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of harm while skating:
- Eat a nutritious diet with plenty of vitamins to keep bones strong.
- For young skaters or skaters just starting out, consider using protective gear such as wrist, knee, and elbow guards to help avoid injury when learning to fall.
- Invest in properly fitted figure skates to help avoid foot and ankle injuries.
- Include plenty of rest days in your training schedule to minimize the chance of overuse injuries.
- Always listen to your coach’s instructions during training.
- Pay attention to your body—if something feels “off,” consult your doctor.
Avoid Injuries with Custom Skates from Riedell
We all know that injuries on the ice can be scary, painful, and even demoralizing for skaters, especially those who are just starting out on the ice. Skating with a boot that doesn’t fit won’t help matters—it can make skating uncomfortable and potentially cause injury. Our master craftsmen can create a custom figure skate that fits your unique foot, building in allowances for high or low arches, toe room, prescription orthotics, foot irregularities, and more. Contact us today or head to one of our authorized dealers to start building your dream skates!