Ice skating is a fun activity specially during the holiday season but it can result in serious injuries if one is not well trained and does not take precautionary measures. According to a survey conducted in 2015 more than 50,000 people suffered from some form of ice skating injury that included people from both figure skating and Ice Hockey games. Although sking is much more dangerous than ice skating but still this survey demonstrates the potentially dangerous nature of ice skating. So, it should be taken seriously and proper precautionary measures be taken before trying any such sport. Following are a few common skating injuries endured by skaters and their appropriate management.
Sprains and Fractures
The whole body weight and the intense pressure put on the ankles while skating , make them prone to sprains and fractures. When the person can’t maintain body balance properly, it can also cause damage to leg muscles and tearing of the ligaments.
Due to fall on the hard surfaces, sharp blades and rough roads skaters get their skin lacerated. It also involves the risk of serious infections if lacerated skin comes in contact with dirty surfaces containing spores of different bacteria or other pathogens.
Wrist and Hand injuries
Falling on the outstretched hand is very common when skaters lose their body balance. It can seriously damage the hands with skin lacerations, fracture of the wrist bones or small bones in the hand, laceration of the long flexure / extensor tendons of the muscles of the forearm, which are very important for normal movements and different functions of the hands.
Head ,Neck and Back Injuries
Skating on icy smooth surfaces could be very risky if one is not properly trained for it or participating in competitive games like Ice Hockey or performing couple figure skating because losing control over body balance is very common in such situations.Head injuries like concussions and other traumatic brain injury, sliping of intervertebral discs, fractures of vertebrae and damage to spinal nerves can seriously debilitate the person’s capacity to function normally.
Tearing of knee ligaments, fracture and dislocation
During ice skating the most commonly damaged ligament is ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) as it runs diagonally in the middle of the joint and is responsible for rotational stability of the knee. It can easily tear up in figure skating while performing a difficult stunt. Meniscal tears are also common. Dislocation and/ or fracture of the knee is uncommon but can occur in some cases of serious falls.
All these injuries can be avoided or at least there risk can be significantly reduced by applying the following preventive measures.
- Proper training is very important before opting for any such activities.
- New learners should watch their speed as with lower speeds , chances of serious injuries are reduced.
- Carefully time your game routine.
- Don’t over stress your body
- Keep an eye on weather changes.
- Warm up before starting the actual sport as cold ligaments and muscles are more prone to injuries because of brittleness.
- Wear warm clothes and a waterproof shell. It will provide you with adequate protection against skin lacerations and many other injuries.
- Skates of proper fitting are very important as ill-fated skates can put extra stress on your bones and muscles and can lead to loss of control and subsequent falls.
- Wear padding helmets and use good quality skates to stay safe.
First Aid Management Of Skating Injuries
If an injury does occur you can take the following first aid steps to avoid further damage and minimise the effects of the original injury.
- For skin lacerations clean the lacerated area with antiseptics and apply firm pressure if bleeding is severe. This way you will minimise the blood loss and the chances of infection before reaching the Accident and Emergency Room.
- For ankle, knee , elbow and wrist sprain/ strain use the RICE technique and fix yourself an appointment with a specialist to get it fixed properly.
- Don’t try to get back to your normal activities and sports too soon as you may aggravate the injury.
- For head, back and neck injuries don’t try to move or get up from the ground as this can cause serious damage. Try to contact someone for help or call the local helpline as soon as possible to get the immediate first aid. If there is profuse bleeding from your neck or any such area apply form pressure with one or both hands and shout for help
Rest the injuredd area/ joint to speed up recovery.
Ice the area for 15 to 20 minutes , 4 to 8 times a day to reduce pain and swelling.
Compress the injured area with special bandages, immobilizers like Casts , splints or boots etc
Elevate the injuredd area and keep it that way during most of the day.