UR Medicine is a proud participant in the Stop Sports Injury Campaign. To help keep kids in the game for life, STOP (Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention) targets the sports that have the highest rates of overuse and trauma injuries. The development of STOP (Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention) Sports Injuries was initiated by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM).
Figure skaters suffer both overuse and traumatic injuries. About half of all injuries are caused by overuse and are preventable. Singles skaters have a higher incidence of overuse injuries, while pair skaters and ice dancers are more prone to traumatic injuries.
Impact at landing generates deceleration forces measuring up to 100 Gs in adolescent skaters. This phenomenal force is transmitted throughout the lower extremity contacting the ice and axial skeleton and is the main contributor to the host of injuries sustained in figure skating.
Boot stiffness: A stiff skating boot is similar to a cast. The stiffer the boot, the more limited the motion at the ankle and thus the knee, hip, and back. This limited motion may contribute to muscle weakness in the foot and ankle.
Blade placement: Poorly placed blades can cause the skater to shift more to an outside or inside edge.
Blade sharpness: Blades that are too sharp can cause less experienced skaters to be more susceptible to traumatic injuries due to the tendency for the blade to "pull" the skater.
Traditional treatment of RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is sufficient for many overuse injuries. Bone stimulators, short-acting steroid injections, and plateletrich- plasma injections are emerging as more advanced treatment interventions for chronic muscles injuries and stress fractures.
New York Times 2009, Belluck P. Science Takes to the Ice. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes. com/2009/06/23/science/23skate.html
Porter, E, CC Young, MW Niedfeldt, and LM Gottschlich. "Sport Specific Injuries and Medical Problems of Figure Skaters." Wisconsin Medical Journal, Sept. 2007.106(6): 330-4.
The following expert consultants contributed to the tip sheet:
Jennifer Couch Petty, MPT
Damon H. Petty, MD