Televisions around the world are tune into the Winter Olympics right now, with the dramatic events on ice often pulling in the most viewers. Remember the ‘miracle’ men’s hockey team of 1980? Or any number of the graceful gals who soar into the air turning triple axles while also soaring into the hearts of aspiring young skaters everywhere?
Ice hockey and figure skating have both gained great popularity here in Central Texas over the past several years. As effortless though as these Olympians make it look gliding across the ice, these two sports are not without serious risk of injury.
At Texas Orthopedics, we frequently see patients with ice skating injuries such as:
- Overuse injuries and tendonitis
- Fractures and broken bones
- Muscle strains and sprains
- ACL tears or other knee injuries
- Rotator cuff tear or other shoulder injuries
Causes of these injuries might be poorly fitting equipment/skates, a collision with another skater, or insufficient rest time between practices, games, or performances.
If you’re taking up hockey, figure skating, or just looking to enjoy one of the many free skate sessions around town this winter, here are some tips to help avoid injury:
- Make sure all equipment fits properly and is in good working condition: skates, helmets, knee and elbow pads.
- Stretch and warm-up off the ice for at least 5-10 minutes prior to each skate, as you would with any sport.
- Watch out for any large dents or gouges on the ice surface that can catch your skate and cause you to trip or fall.
- Be aware of other skaters in close proximity to you. Collisions with someone else on ice can be very dangerous, often leading to concussions. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, almost 50 percent of head injuries in organized sports occur during biking, skateboarding, or skating.
- Know your limitations. Never try to imitate something seen on TV or performed by a move advanced skater. The speedy skating and weaving required for hockey or jumps executed by figure skaters take years of practice.
If you do fall and your head hits the ice, or sideboards, you suffer a deep scrape or cut with heavy blood loss, or you suspect a broken bone, seek medical attention immediately.
(Adapted from STOP Sports Injuries)