Author: Niki L. Carayannopoulos, DO
With the 2018 Winter Olympics only a month away, Houston’s abuzz with nostalgic cold-weather activities like ice skating! As kids of all ages take to the ice rink this winter, keep a few key safety tips in mind.
- Protect Your Head. Head injuries can be especially dangerous on the ice. In a normal fall, you may be able to reach out your arms and protect your head. On the ice, however, arms can slide on the ice, failing to break your fall. Consider wearing a helmet or wrist pads that can make catching your fall easier. (Also, before hitting the ice rink, make sure you understand the basics of a concussion: what it is and how to identify the symptoms.)
- Be Mindful of Your Arms. Speaking of breaking your fall, arm injuries are fairly common among ice skaters – especially beginners who aren’t as steady on their feet. Be aware of the risks of sprains and strains. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms and stop skating if you feel any pain.
- Protect Your Knees. Knee injuries are also somewhat common on the ice rink. An awkward fall, a bump on the ice, or a twist can cause damage to the knee or one of its ligaments. Familiarize yourself with the risk of ACL injuries and learn how to land to prevent an ACL tear.
To maximize your family’s enjoyment on the ice rink, wear appropriate cold weather clothes and protective gear. Don’t push anyone to skate past their abilities or comfort level. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
Outdoor Skating Tips
Yes, Houston does have an outdoor ice skating rink! While you don’t have to worry about safety on an artificial, professionally-managed skate rink, you should keep the following in mind if you venture onto a natural body of water elsewhere in the world this season:
- Carefully check for cracks, debris and holes before skating on a frozen pond or lake.
- A good safety rule of thumb concerning ice color and quality: “Thick and blue, tried and true; thin and crispy, way too risky.”
- Never skate by yourself.
- Always wear the proper cold-weather clothing.
- Consider wearing a helmet.
- Don’t skate if you are too cold or tired.
See a Houston Sports Med Doctor
To learn more about ice skating safety – or to get care from a Houston sports medicine doctor – schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. Call (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.