Ice skating is a fun way to get some exercise this holiday season. Before your gear up for the ice, check out these tips on preventing potential injury.
Make sure you are outfitted with skates that fit properly. If they are too tight or too big, you may get frustrated, especially if you are a beginner. You want to make sure your skates fit snugly, especially at your heel, but with enough room that you can wiggle your toes. Lightweight socks or tights are recommended over bulky, thick socks that could create lumps and bumps, thus making your skates uncomfortable. Once you get boots that fit just right, be sure to practice walking in them before taking to the ice. Be aware that your skate size is not always the same as your shoe size.
Protective head gear is highly recommended for children and beginner skaters. You can use a multi-sport helmet (skateboard, hockey, ski/snowboard); if you wish to purchase your own a local sporting goods store can assist you in proper fit. The main goal is so the helmet stays put and doesn’t move or fall off after a fall or collision.
Your hands will thank you if you wear gloves or mittens, especially if you are just learning to skate.
A strong core supports and stabilizes your spine. With a strong core, you will be less likely to feel the effects of muscle strain from spending hours on the ice. As before any physical activity, a 5-10 minute warm-up and stretching routine will warm up your muscles and get you feeling more limber; and of course, ready to enter the rink!
From beginner to professional, everyone falls. Falling is pretty much unavoidable especially when learning how to skate. The best way to fall is to one side, not forward or backwards onto your tail bone. Protect your head by tucking your chin. When falling, try to avoid using your hands to break your fall; your wrists are at risk of injury if you do. If you can, try “practice” falling a few times off the ice by lowering your center of gravity, slide onto one hip, relax and collapse.
Dr. Christopher Good is a double board certified spine surgeon and the President of Virginia Spine Institute. Established as a world expert in the field, Dr. Good has pioneered the use of robotics, navigation, and augmented reality (AR) in spine surgery. He performed the first two-level disc replacement in Metro DC, Maryland, and Virginia region, and continues to evolve motion-enhancing procedures for patients suffering from neck and back conditions. Dr. Good has been named “Top Doctor” consistently over the past decade. Learn more about Dr. Christopher Good.