In figure skating, skaters perform jumps, pirouettes, curves and sequences of steps that can cause very serious and damaging injuries to their well-being. It is a sport with high technical difficulty, in which you need talent and to be trained, to know how to move quickly and easily. Besides having a good sense of space and sufficient strength.
For this reason, those who practice figure skating at a competitive level must repeat the various “figures” dozens of times in order to impeccably perform all the sequences, also following the rhythm of the music and having to endure the stress of the jury and the public. However, the wear and tear of races and training and the dangerous maneuvers, unfortunately, often favor the appearance of joint or muscular problems, even serious ones.
For this reason, it is important that athletes are alert and aware of any ailment, as well as doing everything possible to prevent possible injuries. Here then, in this article, we will talk about the most typical lesions in figure skating.
Frequent injuries in figure skating
1. Fracture and sprained ankle
The skates, the maneuvers, the weight of one’s body (sometimes that of the partner) and the pressure exerted on the ankles lead the skaters to be particularly affected by distortions and fractures. These types of injuries mostly involve the ankle area. In particular, they may include damage to the peroneal muscles and to the tibialis anterior muscle.
Furthermore, these disorders are extremely complicated for athletes, since they directly affect their performance on the track. A strong ankle injury could even irreparably compromise an athlete’s entire sports career.
2. Knee injuries
The knee injury can occur after a fall, because of muscular atrophy or due to a few technical level error. Usually, if it is a fall, the wound is minor and usually leaves the skater a few bruises. In short, nothing too serious.
However, a strong blow can seriously damage the patella, or even move it out of alignment. If this is not corrected with physiotherapy, the kneecap misalignment can cause progressive knee and cartilage damage that keeps it stable.
Furthermore, knees can also be damaged by the torsional force created during jumps or turns. Most commonly, this injury involves the ligaments allowing the knee joint to move normally.
The skaters’ feet are protected inside the skids, being special models designed to cushion impacts and avoid lateral oscillations. However, the numerous repetitions and strength applied in each of the phases of figure skating can cause episodes of tendonitis.
The tendinitis can affect the Achilles tendon in the ankle or the bottom of the feet, but not all. This discomfort could also affect the knee. Therefore, skaters must always use quality material that is adequate for the effort, taking care to keep the lower train strong with adequate training in the gym. Even the use of appropriate footwear can be an advantage in accident prevention.
4. Injuries to hands and wrists
When people experience slips or fall, the immediate instinct of the people is to reach out to cover them. This is a healthy instinct, as it serves to protect the face. However, in the case of ice skaters, this sudden movement can create many problems. Injuries to the hand or wrist due to the force of the impact are commonplace.
5. Injuries in the head
If you lose control of the pads or you cannot maintain your balance, head injuries are a common and particularly worrying consequence. The surface of the ice is very dangerous since there is no protection or cushioning system against impact. These injuries can include concussions or other traumatic injuries.
Accident prevention in figure skating
In figure skating, you must do everything possible to avoid injury. The main reason is that these can cause muscle problems and even hinder the progress of the athlete’s career. Therefore, there are some aspects that must be taken into consideration in trying, as much as possible, to avoid these unpleasant mishaps.
In particular, a skater will always have to:
- Warm-up very well before training or competing on the ice rink.
- Make sure you have the physical ability and preparation to do the different movements and steps.
- Wear the appropriate clothing for skating: no jewelry, sportswear, shorts and comfortable, tied hair and skates of adequate size, comfortable and well connected.
- If possible, do not train when you are very tired or if you have not yet fully recovered from your injury. This could damage your health and, in any case, it would compromise your competitive performance.
- Always keep a first aid kit at hand. You will need it to treat minor injuries. It will include adhesive bandages, alcohol, cotton, physiological serum, betadine, patches, ice spray, and instant ice.
- Go to a specialist in case of pain, discomfort or if you suspect you are seriously injured. In all these cases, self-medication should be avoided.
In short, ice skating is a sport that requires great temperament, but at the same time, it is delicate and full of elegance. Therefore, it is necessary to be very strict at the level of execution, since suffering any of these injuries would not be at all convenient.