Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Common chronic injuries from recreational figure skating?

  1. #1
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    245

    Question Common chronic injuries from recreational figure skating?

    Besides obvious accidents such as falls and crashes, what are the physical damages that slowly build up for recreational figure skaters (less than 8 hours of skating weekly) and how can they be minimized? I heard that arthritis is very common, and would think knee / ankle / back problems are extremely likely after getting into more advanced jumps and layback positions.

    When I first started the small jumps (waltz, half-flip), even 30-minute exercises would result in minor knee pains. I started to panic that maybe figure skating is wearing me down too much, and someone advised the following:

    You should watch out for getting older. Many adults that try a new sport after they've hit 22 have this problem. To date, there has been no cure found. Your knee pain will simply get worse and worse until you tear an ACL, and then there goes 9 month of your life to surgery and physical therapy!
    Looking back a year later while knees are reasonably happy with single jumps, I think the technique was fine, the pains mainly came from 1) lack of warm up and 2) not balancing jumps with gliding maneuvers and spins. Jumping non-stop for long periods of time was just not the way to go.

    What safety tips do you have to minimize injuries that will catch up with you some day? (grrr I must be one of the most risk-averse skaters in this forum! But better cut the potential occupational therapy time and spend it on ice, non? )

  2. #2
    4th Time Around
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    165
    Foot problems, primarily as a result of wearing skates which, by necessity, are very snug. This includes things like development of painful nerve-pinching bunions that may require surgery, particularly starting at an unusually early age. I've had such problems since I was about 30yo, in spite of the fact that I have never worn pointy-toed high heels (typically the cause of bunions in older women who wore such shoes all the time for many years).

    An important note here:
    Older women and folks who have taken certain medications long-term, need to have bone density scans and change their skating habits accordingly to prevent broken bones.

  3. #3
    Rinkside
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    6
    I started skating at age 41 and the chronic injury that did me in was hip bursitis. I always thoroughly warmed up before stepping on the ice and wasn't a big jumper - the highest level jump I ever mastered was a single toe. No amount of stretching, off ice training, icing or prescription anti-inflammatories could relieve the pain I was experiencing. I skated for 4 incredible years, gave it my all and loved every moment of it - but when the pain got to be too much, I finally gave it up. It's been 2 years since I've been on the ice, and while my hip will never be pain-free, it's much more manageable. I keep telling myself that my old age will be a lot more comfortable because I didn't keep pushing when my body said to stop, but God, I miss skating.

    Every once in a while, I pull my skate bag out of the closet and open it up, just so smell the leather of my old boots. It takes me back to those early mornings when I eagerly got up at 4 a.m. and rushed to the rink because I couldn't wait to get on the ice. Best thing I ever did for myself, and the memories will last as long as I do. Bury me with my skates on!

  4. #4
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    433
    For me, it was my left knee. I did too many sitspins and axel takeoffs because I would get obsessed and not know when to say when. Now I only allow myself 5 sitspins per practice and don't overdo it on axels or double salchows, either. When I went to physical therapy for my knee, I was told that I had a very common problem among skaters: outer quads overdeveloped compared to hamstrings and inner quads. In my case, the inner quads were fine, but I needed to strengthen my hamstrings. My PT had me do hamstring curls and leg lifts on an exercise ball, which I could do at home.
    Also, we tend to do things only on one side (think of a layback spin, and imagine how you are straining one side of your back more than the other), so as a basic rule of thumb, it's good to to stretch out the side that is over-used and try to do some similar action on the other side to even it out a little. For example, in my program, I do a Y spiral on my left leg, holding my right leg up, so after I get off the ice and stretch, I do a Y spiral on the floor on the opposite leg and hold it for 20 seconds.

  5. #5
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    626
    problems - remedies
    shin splints - ice/stretch/calves raises/taping/rest
    Arch/heel pain - orthotics/podiatrist/custom-fit-boots
    ITB (outer thigh) - foam roller
    bone density - weight/resistance training
    knee - knee cap massages
    back - yoga/chiropractor/foam roller

    ^ some things I had to deal with as a competitive pre-novice skater (double jumps - 15 hours a week). But quit at age 16 when injuries, chronic problems piled up, also having gone through 2 ACL reconstruction, and several arthroscopic surgeries to clean up the knees from basketball.

    Now at age 27 I am back as a recreational skater, after years of rehab, taking up yoga, and fixing up the foot problems. All the muscle memory of skating is still there, but I have to take things VERY slowly.

    Quote Originally Posted by pilgrimsoul View Post
    I skated for 4 incredible years, gave it my all and loved every moment of it - but when the pain got to be too much, I finally gave it up.

    Every once in a while, I pull my skate bag out of the closet and open it up, just so smell the leather of my old boots. It takes me back to those early mornings when I eagerly got up at 4 a.m. and rushed to the rink because I couldn't wait to get on the ice. Best thing I ever did for myself, and the memories will last as long as I do. Bury me with my skates on!
    wow that is some powerful stuff, glad you could reflect upon the past time and cherish the moments you had
    Last edited by bibi24; 03-04-2010 at 04:30 AM.

  6. #6
    4th Time Around
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    165
    I never considered that my hip bursitis could be from past skating - I have to take medication for it every night to keep the pain from keeping me awake all night.

    I damaged the bursa in my knees from falling on them so much when I was learning to do axels (that is the only jump that caused me to fall on my knees rather than my behind, and I'm wondering if it's because of the forward entry).

    Of course if you are standing in one spot on the ice for too long, you could end up with spiral fractures of your tibia and fibula.

  7. #7
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    beijing
    Posts
    1,909
    I didn't start skating until I was 34, and within 8 months had passed all the Basic Skills and early freestyle stuff and was starting private lessons in figures, dance, and freestyle (later on Moves when that started). Up to about an average of 12-15 hours a week on ice, at least 5 days per week. I had some foot issues that got better after I got semi-custom (later custom) skates--narrow A ankle but C forefoot--but to this day I still have bunions and hammer toes that stabilized but never completely went away post-skating. As to minimizing other problems, I found that the key for me, besides thorough gentle warm up off ice, then on ice, then stretching before going for the gusto in practice....was not doing more than 3 or 4 attempts at any one jump, then go on to some spinning, then footwork, then back to a different jump. In any one (freestyle) practice session, I had to mix it up to spread the stress around! Figures, while they lasted, were gloriously meditative and stress-free, and dance didn't cause any strains either except my gluteus muscles. I also did quite a bit of off-ice workouts on the machines. I didn't get past mastery of the single jumps (OK, I couldn't land that !@#$% axel) before I moved overseas at age 40 and lost the opportunity for serious skating. Now at age 50, I have more ligament issues around my knees, so have to take all exercise--and the occasional recreational skate--in a very gradual way. And I would not be able to do two days in a row of real skating--resting muscles and joints between any sort of exercise workouts is unfortunately now a fact of life. And having a relationship with Ben Gay. I'm lucky that I haven't ever had hip issues, particularly with the way I struggled over the years with my nemesis, the loop jump. (I did manage to break my tailbone learning that one, but that was acute not chronic!)
    Last edited by bigsisjiejie; 03-04-2010 at 09:58 AM.

  8. #8
    Rinkside
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    9

    Articles

    Hi. I am a physical therapist and owner of Sk8Strong Inc. I have written several articles that you may find interesting, including one regarding injury prevention. You may view them at www.sk8strong.com/articles.html

  9. #9
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    245
    Thank you so much everyone for sharing! I will definitely start to stretch the "unused side" and consider warm-ups / conditioning more seriously per rsk8d's articles!
    --- Bury me with my skates on!

  10. #10
    Gliding Along dlkksk8fan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    1,685
    As to minimizing other problems, I found that the key for me, besides thorough gentle warm up off ice, then on ice, then stretching before going for the gusto in practice....was not doing more than 3 or 4 attempts at any one jump, then go on to some spinning, then footwork, then back to a different jump. In any one (freestyle) practice session, I had to mix it up to spread the stress around!
    This is exactly what I do. Not too many of one thing. When I was practicing for my adult bronze free skate test I did do my program over and over about 10 times each practice. I just wanted to get it right. Anyway I do a lot of off ice weight training that seems to help. As for my feet they are already bad, so I just pad my skates inside with bungas and lambs wool. I'm 50, so I am grateful for the time my body will allow me to skate, then when I can't jump or spin anymore there is always ice dancing.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •