2020 had an usually mild autumn. But winter officially arrives today, and freezing temperatures are upon us. It’s a time when many Macomb County families dust off the hockey and figure skates and enjoy some family time by hitting the ice skating rink or local lake. And this year, during the pandemic, even more children and adults are turning to ice skating as a healthy and fun outdoor activity that they can enjoy while social distancing.
But since most amateur ice skaters have neither the knowledge nor training of Olympians or other professionals, they remain in the dark about the many ice skating injuries for which they are at risk. Wrist injuries in particular make up a large portion of the ice skating injuries we treat at our Macomb County practice, and can be avoided with a few important safety precautions.
In this article, we will discuss how you and your family can avoid wrist injuries and other ice skating injuries while out on the lakes or the rink.
Ice Skating Injury Statistics
Every year in the US, roughly 50,000 cases of ice skating injuries occur – a great many of which are wrist injuries. This number emphasizes just how dangerous ice skating can be. And while the annual number of ice skating injuries is less than those incurred while skiing (the most dangerous of all winter sports), the inherent risks of the activity should nonetheless be taken seriously. But by staying informed and exercising caution, the risk of wrist injuries and other ice skating injuries can be significantly reduced.
Common Ice Skating Injuries
Ice skating can subject one’s ankles to significant weight and pressure. For this reason, sprained of fractured ankles are among the most common ice skating injuries faced by our Macomb County patients.
When a skater loses balance or control on the ice, they also run the risk of serious head injury. With no cushion against impact on the surface of the ice, ice skating injuries to the head are incredibly serious and can lead to traumatic brain damage such as concussion. Instinctively, many ice skaters attempt to prevent this by bracing for their fall with stiff, outstretched arms. But this itself can also be dangerous; being one of the leading causes of ice skating related wrist injuries.
Ice Skating Hand & Wrist Injuries
When slipping or falling, the knee-jerk reaction is usually to catch oneself with one’s arms and hands. While this is an effective way of protecting the face and heat, it can also result in serious hand or wrist injury. Both fractures and sprains of the wrist and fingers are common injuries incurred when skaters fall on the ice. At Macomb County Hand Surgery, cases like these make up many of the wrist injuries we treat during the winter season.
Furthermore, the combination of high speed, hard ice, and sharp blades that occurs during ice skating often results in laceration. While ice skating injuries such as these vary in severity, any kind of cut to the hand, wrist, or fingers can have catastrophic consequences.
Lacerations across the top of the hand can affect the extensor tendons and prevent the hand from straightening or grasping objects. Lacerations across the top of the palm can affect the flexor tendons and hamper the hand from closing or forming a fist.
Safety Tips to Avoid Ice Skating Injuries
While ice skating is a potentially dangerous activity, we remind our Macomb County patients that most ice skating injuries can be avoided simply by wearing proper equipment, such as helmets, padding and -above all- quality skates.
Properly fitting skates are also essential. By wearing ill-fitting skates, the risk of ice skating injuries is compounded significantly. In addition to subjecting the skater’s muscles, bones, and ligaments to added stress, wearing the wrong size skates can cause the imbalance that leads to serious wrist injuries.
And just like with any athletic activity, remember to have you and your kids warm up thoroughly before ice skating. Doing so warms up their bones and ligaments, loosening them up to help prevent tears, sprains or fractures.
Ice Skating Hand & Wrist Injury Specialist – Macomb County
The next time you and your family are out on the ice, make sure to keep these ice skating safety tips in mind; doing so can help avoid serious ice skating injuries.
In the event ice skating injury does occur, contact Macomb County Hand Surgery, where Dr. Rehman offers the most effective means of treatment available. We have extensive experience treating winter sports and ice skating injuries to the hand, wrist, fingers, arm, and shoulder.