The Winter Olympics are in full swing, and children everywhere are excitedly asking their parents if they can take figure skating or hockey lessons. The cautious parents will stop and think: “My child wants to wear thin blades on their feet and spin around on cold, hard ice? I think not!” Today Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, is sharing tips to keep your child safe if they take up ice skating.
If ice skating or playing ice hockey is your child’s desire, there are checks and crashes and possibly getting a stick swung in their face to worry about, not to mention possible foot injuries.
Before you reply no to their request, remember that youth sports help children stay healthy and active. And ice skating teaches children skills that help them off the ice, such as focus, hand-eye coordination, teamwork, commitment, and balance.
1. Take a break. Taking rest breaks off the ice will prevent frozen toes. Feet enclosed in stiff skates are unable to move around. And when you combine that with proximity to the ice, it's a recipe for diminished circulation to the toes and feet, which often results in frostbite.
2. Don’t lace up too tightly. When skates are too tightly laced, children can suffer from inflammation of the soft tissues in the ankle, foot, or lower leg. Prevent “lace bite” by wearing skates that are secure, but not too tight, and whose protective padding has not been flattened by age. Overall, they should fit well.
3. Prevent fractures. Ankle and stress fractures of the foot are common skating injuries, together with growth plate damage, tendonitis, and shin splints. These conditions are typically caused by overtraining. Most children will not be making it to the Olympics or the NHL, so they will not need to train as if they were. Just keep an eye out for signs of overuse injuries such as redness, swelling anywhere in the ankles or feet, and pain.
4. Avoid overtraining. Lastly, remain aware of the coach’s attitude. Experienced coaches understand that ice hockey and figure skating should be safe and fun, and they make sure not to overtrain your child to the point where an injury occurs.
If your young sports fanatic develops pain in their ankles or feet, contact Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA. You can schedule an appointment online or by calling us at 425-455-0936.