For as long as any of us can remember, figure skating has been a highlight of the Winter Olympics. Whether you are spellbound by couples ice dancing or are totally captivated by men’s or women’s singles, there is nothing quite like the athleticism, grace, and beauty you see on the ice every four years. Unfortunately, this has led many young people to take to the ice without adequate protection against common injuries. You may not be dreaming of the Olympic Gold, but you do want to have fun on the ice. Take time to understand the leading causes of ice skating injuries and what you can do to avoid them.

Two Basic Categories of Injuries

In effect, most ice skating injuries fall within two major categories – no pun intended! Yes, beginners are going to slip and fall due to inexperience and lack of technique, but that is to be expected. Once you have your weight centered and are actually skating, injuries result from:

  1. Overuse
  2. Trauma

And, that’s basically what you need to look at. You are either skating too much, doing the same repetitive movements too often or are injured as a result of a trauma to one or more parts of the body. You will find that many of these injuries could have been prevented by wearing properly fitted skates. This may mean you will need to spring for a pair of custom ice skates, but if that will prevent you from being injured, it’s money well spent.

Injuries Resulting from Overuse

Sometimes, you can get so excited by a new skill you’ve learned that you work too hard at perfecting it. Unfortunately, this can lead to what is known as overuse injuries. These often include:

  • Muscle strains and sprains.
  • Stress Fractures
  • Bursitis
  • Shin splints
  • Tendonitis

And that is just some of what you can do to yourself if you overwork any one part of the body. This is true of any sport or activity, but these are the most common overuse injuries in ice skating. It’s hard to imagine how much pain you’ll experience from a shin splint, for example, until you’ve actually been injured. Unless you are in training for a medal event, take it easy on yourself!

Injuries Resulting from Trauma

You can only imagine the huge number of injuries you can sustain as a result of trauma. As the name implies, these are injuries that many times result in breaks and tears. Traumatic injuries include:

  • Sprained or broken bones, typically the ankle.
  • Dislocation of joints, often the shoulder.
  • Meniscal tears (cartilage in the knee).
  • Injuries to the head often resulting in concussions.
  • Lacerations requiring stitches and/or surgery.

Again, these are just some of the common injuries you may experience as a result of trauma. While there is no way to keep from falling 100% of the time, custom-fitted skates can often prevent falls due to ill-fitting footwear. That boot is more important than you can imagine!

In the end, you should learn to recognize when you are pushing yourself beyond your endurance. Believe it or not, all injuries are not the result of having an ‘accident’ on the ice. You can prevent many of these injuries by taking the time to study how they occur and learning what you can do to avoid them.