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Common Figure Skating Injuries

It’s less than three weeks away from the 2018 Winter Olympics. Like all athletes, figure skater are training hard to compete with the best in the world. TRIA Woodbury sports medicine physician Robyn Knutson-Bueling has done extensive work as Team Physician in the international Pool for U.S. Figure Skating. To learn more about figure skating injuries and prevention tips, we asked Dr. Knutson-Bueling a few questions.

What are the most common figure skating injuries?

Figure skaters are prone to suffer from two types of injuries: overuse and acute.

Overuse injuries range from lace-bite, blisters or ill-fitting boots to stress fractures. Stress fractures in the lower extremity occur from repetitive jumping. Stress fractures in the lumbar spine occur from significant flexibility requirements.

Tendinopathy is a common overuse injury seen in skaters who train year-round. This usually occurs in the form as jumper’s knee, hip flexor tendon pain or ankle tendinitis.

Acute injuries occur when a skaters falls or makes a mistake while performing. These injuries appear as fractures, sprains or concussions

What injuries are common in pairs or ice dancing skaters?

Shoulder injuries and overuse complaints are more common in pairs or ice dancers. Skaters are prone to these injuries because they rely on their upper bodies for lifts and throws.

How are these injuries treated?

Overuse injuries with a modified training program. This allows skaters time to heal. Therapy and home exercises are also used to get skaters to progress and return to sport.

What’s the best way for a skater to prevent an injury?

Injury prevention starts with smart training.  This includes a proper on-ice regimen. A skater must have good balance in the number of repetition of high-level skills. 

Also, a well-rounded training plan is most important. This includes some off-ice training: strength, flexibility and dance.

Nutrition and sleep play an important role in tissue recovery and should be part of planning for a serious training regimen.

High-level athletes training year-round should have a medical team familiar with their sport and goals. Having the right team guide injury treatment and proper training helps keep skaters on the ice.

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