If you’ve watched figure skating professionals perform, you can only describe it with terms like elegant, graceful, and beautiful. They make it seems so simple and easy, but the reality is that it takes months and years of practice to get it all right. Even hockey players can walk and glide about as if walking on steady ground instead of slippery ice!
These athletes perform on an impressive level, able to do tricks and twists on a surface where most people can barely even stand up. However, as with any sport, it all comes with risks of injury. Foot and ankle injuries can be caused by:
- Skates: If the skating boots do not fit well, have misaligned or warped blades, or are made of material that is too thin or too thick, you are at higher risk for injury. Also, there is very little shock absorption for high impact jumps.
- Repetitive motions/overuse: Both sports require lots of practice. This means many jumps, sprints, and juking motions that need to be practiced to near perfection. This can cause micro injuries that build up, as well as repeated strains on certain muscles, especially if repeated incorrectly.
Ice skating athletes are prone to the following acute and chronic injuries:
Common Acute injuries:
- Sprained ankles – If boots do not have proper support at the ankles, skaters can twist their ankles or land incorrectly from a jump.
- Lacerations – The sharpness of the blades can cut through the boots and cause injury, especially in hockey, where other players are involved.
- Fractures – High impact collisions, flying pucks and hockey sticks, as well as incorrect landings can all result in bone fractures.
Common Chronic Injuries:
- Tendonitis – Repeated use of certain muscles, tendons, and ligaments can cause tendonitis. This can also happen if the tissue on the bottom of the feet (plantar fascia) is strained from ill-fitting skates.
- Bone spurs – High impact and strained tissues can cause a bone growth in the heel where there is repeated stress in a particular spot.
- Hammertoes – Skating boots can be so tight, especially when new, that there is little room for the toes. Repeated forward motions in both sports can cause the toes to hit the front of the shoes, resulting in hammertoes.
- Stress fractures – Repeated impact can cause long-term stress on bones that eventually cause a fracture.
Proper warm up, a good fit, and rest are essential to preventing injuries. If you have an ice skating injury or worried about skating on a previous injury, come see our board-certified podiatrist, Carl Ingrassia, DPM at Fords Foot and Ankle Care. Call us at (732) 738-4441 to make an appointment at our office in Fords, NJ within Woodbridge Township, NJ. We are happy serve all patients in the surrounding areas of Edison, Perth Amboy, Metuchen, Rahway, and Linden.