Figure Skating Injuries

Figure skating is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages; whether you are gliding across your neighborhood rink or competing professionally. It is also a unique sport that continues to evolve with skaters becoming involved in more rigorous training programs and practicing more difficult moves.

Preventing Figure Skating Injuries

Here are some tips for how to avoid injury while figure skating:

Stretch before lacing up your skates

Static stretching is good both before and after skating. It will loosen muscles to prepare for skating as well as help to improve muscle length and reduce soreness after. Dynamic stretching is also to be completed prior to taking the ice in order to appropriately activate and elongate muscle tissue as it will be used during the skating session.

Learn the correct form

Balance and posture are key to good form in skating. Off the ice maintaining proper posture during daily activities and working on balance drills will carry over to good technique on the ice as well as help minimize injury.

Don’t attempt a trick or skill you aren’t properly trained for

Competitive figure skaters train with coaches to learn tricks and maneuvers they do on the ice. Even if you think a trick looks easy, you risk hurting yourself if you attempt it without proper training.

Wear properly fitting ice skates

Ensure skaters are wearing a properly fitting boot that is not overly stiff. It’s important to break in your boots as necessary, adjust skate blades, and sharpen regularly. Also be sure to lace up your boots tighter than you normally would for regular shoes to provide optimal support to the foot and ankle for good skating technique as well as preventing ankle injury.  

Common Figure Skating Injuries and Conditions

Sprained Ankle

The ankle joint is held in place by ligaments which stabilize it. When these ligaments are stretched beyond what they can bear from a sudden twist, turn or rolling of the ankle, the result is a sprain. Depending on the severity, this could even include the ligament being torn.

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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome primarily affects individuals who tend to overuse their knees such as runners, cyclists, skiers and others whose activities involve running and jumping. It encompasses a group of conditions that impact the area surrounding the kneecap. This results in damage, strain or inflammation of the structures, which leads to pain.

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Lace Bite

Lace bite is caused by too much pressure from a stiff skate tongue that has not been broken in well, or in older skates that have old and inflexible skate tongues. In both situations, the inflexible skate tongue puts extra pressure over the anterior or front part of the ankle. When the skate is laced to tight, the tongue part of the skate presses against the front part of the ankle and the tendons underneath.

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IT Band Syndrome

The Iliotibial Band starts in the hip and runs along the lateral aspect of the thigh and connects below the knee joint. This band is meant for providing stability at the hip and knee during athletic activities such as running. When supporting muscles are weaker, the ITBand will overwork as a compensation resulting in inflammation of the tissue.

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Spondylolysis/Lumbar Stress Reaction

Spondylolysis is also known as a stress fracture, the lumbar spine is susceptible to over use from constant over stretching (hyperextension) at the spine. This can result as a stress fracture on one or both sides of the vertebraThis bony abnormality can alter the position of the spinal segment causing it to shift.

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