Stress fractures are a common injury with ice skaters due to the repetitive moves and motions from the landings and jumps. Stress fractures occur when overuse creates small small cracks in a bone. The bones involved can be the navicular, sesamoids, and metatarsals (the five bones that run between the ankle and toes). Some ways to prevent stress fractures include avoiding excess jumping and wearing additional padding under the forefoot. It can also be helpful to receive proper nutrition to help keep the bones strong and receive the necessary nutrients such as Vitamin D and calcium.
Ice skaters partake in repetitive moves which can lead to muscle strains. Muscle strains refer to any damage to the muscle or the attaching tendons due to pressure put on that muscle. Some symptoms of muscle strains include pain at rest or when that muscle is being used, weakness of the muscle, swelling, redness, or inability to use the muscle. Muscle strains can be easily treated at home by applying ice packs and maintaining that muscle in a stretched position. When the swelling has decreased, heat can also be applied. Athletes may also consider taking anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce any pain.
Knee injuries are common among ice skaters as their knee joints may take immense pressure from the impact of landing on hard ice and the constant jumping. The constant pounding and contractions can cause irritation to the quadriceps tendon and irritate the kneecap. Some common conditions include patellar tendinitis (Jumper's Knee) and patellofemoral pain syndrome. The repeated leaping and jumping motions can cause pain to the front of the knee and around the kneecap. Some ways to avoid jumper's knees include proper strengthening and stretching programs and limiting their high-impact repetitions.
Ankle sprains and fractures are common with ice skaters. Rolling the ankle or sudden twisting can lead to overstretching the ligaments. Some symptoms of ankle sprains include swelling, bruising, instability in the ankle, pain, and restricted range of motion. Treatments for these injuries are based on the severity of the injury, and if it is not major, athletes may take over-the-counter pain medications and self-care measures. If conditions worsen, seeking advice from a medical professional is the best so they can help determine the right type of treatment. Some ways to avoid ankle sprains/fractures is to warm up, stretch up, and make sure to maintain good muscle flexibility and strength.
Wrist sprains and fractures are very common as ice skaters tend to fall on their outstretched hands. Falls are the primary cause of injuries to the upper limb/extremity in figure skaters. The sprains or fractures may take place in the scaphoid or radius bones. If an ice skater suffers from a broken wrist, they will likely suffer from pain, tenderness, bruising, swelling, and some type of deformity of the wrist. Athletes should seek professional advice and treatment for a broken wrist. If it is a mild sprain, they can ice and compress the injury.