Many of the injuries sustained while skating happen as the result of a fall. The second most common injury is a bruised body. Bruises very rarely result in complications, although if you keep on falling the same spot you may think about getting padding or similar protective equipment.
Occasionally a fall can result in a more serious injury. In these cases, the standard treatment is RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and a compulsory visit to the doctor if the pain is intense or you suspect a fracture.Pain is usually a good indicator that you are overstepping the boundaries. If doing something causes pain or a worsening of the pain, don’t do it!
In addition to accidental injuries, skating can, under certain conditions, cause or aggravate overuse injuries.
Arm injuries in general can mostly be prevented by NOT putting your arms out to catch your falls. Of course, if it’s a choice between your face and your arm and you must put your arm out, be sure and do it with a bent elbow. If you fall backwards with an outstretched arm you are likely to injure your wrist. This is one of the most common injuries for skaters. the injury is just a sprain. A sprained wrist feels sore, particularly when pressing it, and may swell somewhat. The pain decreases gradually and is gone after a few days or a couple of weeks.
If you experience severe pain and the wrist swells up or if you notice bruising you should get an x-ray to rule out a fracture. Although the two bones in the forearm (radius and ulna) are the most likely to break, you can also fracture the small bone in the wrist just behind the thumb bone This is usually a hairline fracture and hard to see with x-rays.If the pain persists after two weeks have the wrist x-rayed again (by then the fracture will have started to heal and will actually be easier to see. A navicular fracture should be properly diagnosed, because it can lead to chronic pain and disability in the wrist if untreated.
Landing your knee when you fall, although quite painful, has often no worse consequences than a bruise. If you hit your knee, get off the ice, put ice on the knee and put your foot up. You want to apply the ice for 20 minutes and be sure and keep a piece of cloth between the ice and the skin to prevent frostbite.
In some rare cases, a hard blow to the knee can be a cause of misalignment of the knee cap, which in turn can lead to chronic knee pain by wearing down of the cartilage. This condition is known as “chondromalacia patellae”. Most often, the misalignment of the knee is caused by an strength unbalance between the inner and outer thigh muscles. The hip configuration can also contribute to this problem (and it is a reason why it affects women more frequently than men). The best cure and prevention is off-ice exercises which strengthen the leg muscles, particularly the inner quads.
If you twist the knee (for instance on a bad jump landing or spin entry) you can hurt the knee ligaments. Frequently the damage is to the medial collateral ligament (MCL). A sprain or rupture of this ligament is characterized by pain on the inner side of the knee and possibly, a feeling of instability on the knee. Although complete rupture of the ligament could keep you off the ice for weeks, this type of injury usually heals well with a combination of rest and physiotherapy. On the other hand, damage to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) (at the front of the knee below the knee cap) often requires surgery. A tear of the ACL can sometimes be recognized by the knee “giving out” when putting weight on it. Your doctor may order a MRI scan to confirm the diagnostic and rule out cartilage damage.
Paradoxically, it is probably easier to sprain your knee practicing jumps off-ice than on the ice, because on an unchecked landing your foot is more likely to stick to the floor while you upper body continues to rotate, putting lots of torque on the knee. To avoid this, never “stick” a landing on the floor, but do a little hop as soon as you feel your toes touching the floor; even better, land on two feet.