Injuries and Adult Figure Skaters

Unfortunately, not all my injuries have been so tame; the scraped elbows were healed in about a week, although I have a nice little scar on the right one as a reminder. Nearly three years ago I tore a hip flexor muscle. At one point, the pain was so bad that it kept me awake at night and I could not walk for long distances. I kept skating all through this time, but there were several elements I could not do because of the pain, weakness and reduced range of motion. Physiotherapy didn’t really help and the sport medicine MD figured it was arthritis and I should consider another sport. Having said this, the x-ray of the hip really didn’t show very much in the way of degenerative changes, so I started working with an osteopath. I am also now working with a kinesiotherapist who has given me gentle, but very specific, exercises to improve the range of motion in the hip.

But that’s just me…. Let me tell you about two other adult skaters that I know. (Names are fictitious but the injuries are real!)

Susie broke a wrist when attempting an axel. It was actually one of her first attempts when she returned to skating after being off for many years and she was in her early forties at the time. She arrived back at the arena several weeks later with a metal pin in her wrist and swore she would never try the axel ever again, she was only going to work on her single jumps and spins. Well it wasn’t long before she got tired of that, so now she’s got her axel back and has just started landing a double salchow. This was after telling us for a year that there was no way she was ever going to work on D Sal… too hard, she didn’t want to get hurt like she did doing axel…. Now it’s, “No way am I ever going to work on my double loop… too hard, etc, etc.”

And then there’s my friend Annie. She broke her leg on a flying camel approximately two years ago, requiring surgery and a whole lot of metal reinforcements. She was back on the ice in time for Adult Nationals the following year… not at 100%, but on her way. Last I heard, she still had a pin in the ankle but was busy getting all her doubles back.

The worst kind of injury is the one that seriously shakes your confidence and instills fear. I have often seen this with adult beginners who take a bad fall and sustain a major injury, such as a concussion and never come back. Their fear is very understandable; as adults we have responsibilities away from the arena, such as work and parenting and cannot afford time off to recover from an injury. It certainly makes me think twice before attempting a risky element.

My advice is to listen to what your body is telling you. Don’t be afraid to say “I’m not going to try that element; I just don’t feel that I am ready for it” a good coach will help you to work through this fear and devise strategies for helping you build your confidence. I also recommend that you find a good team of therapists to help you with preventative maintenance and when needed, repairs.

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