If you’ve been skating for any length of time, you already know what pain is. Blisters, falls, and bruises are par for the course, especially when you’re first starting out. If you’re new to the sport, keep reading, so you can learn from those who have rolled before you, on how to make skating comfortable and safer, and more enjoyable. Because skating shouldn’t hurt.
Here are common annoyances and non-life-threatening injuries to avoid or address.
Sudden Foot Pain
Sudden foot pain, cramping, or an irritation where you’ve never had it before can be alarming. If your boots are broken in, it could be a wrinkled or twisted sock. Yes, an ill-fitting sock can do that. Always make sure your socks are pulled up without wrinkles before inserting your foot into the boot.
Blisters can occur in brand-new skates, poorly fitting boots, or rentals. Plan ahead with tape, or ask the pro shop for some blister pads to keep them from forming. Adhesive bandages (aka Band-aids) don’t work so well, as continued friction can cause them to fall right off.
Rough boot linings are a common cause of skin irritation on your legs and feet, and is more of a problem for those who prefer to skate “sock-less.” You’ll need to either wrap the affected area, wear calf-high socks, or a purchase a different style of boot with a softer lining.
Wrist guards may lessen injuries when you fall, but they won’t prevent them altogether. A better solution is to learn how to fall correctly, with no hands on the ground at all. We prefer landing on the butt. Here’s a quick video to show you how.
Bruises happen. Ice them up quickly. Arnica lotion will help speed healing.
Keep your toenails trimmed to keep them from jamming into the front of your boot.
Skating in shorts can cause rink rash when you fall. Derby girls wear hosiery for a reason. Much like bikers wear leathers. Rink rash hurts.
A newly coated roller rink surface can cause problems for those who are sensitive to chemical odors. It can also precipitate sudden falls, because you’ve become accustomed to how your wheels used to grip and slide. A brand-new coating can cause the floor to be tight as a drum. Consider a harder wheel when the floor gets a new coat of sealant, and take it easy your first few times around. And, if headaches are an issue, wait 6-8 weeks before re-entering the rink, or keep your skating sessions short while the floor is still gassing off.
Also known as Water on the Knee, effusion can happen if you slam your knee cap into a hard surface, like a wall or fire hydrant. Ice it up, and if pain and swelling don’t subside within 1-3 days, you’ll need to have a doctor lance and drain it. Knee pads can prevent Water on the Knee. You should also avoid jumping over fire hydrants.
Sore hips and knees
If you’re always turning left and never skating in the opposite direction, be aware that when you get older, you may end up with a repetitive sports injury, such as a sore hip or pulled groin muscle. Another cause of hip or knee pain can be a bad skate mount. That’s why it’s imperative to hire a highly experienced skate builder to mount your skates.
Roller skating is not without its inherent risks. But if you love it, and keep at it, you can safely skate into your golden years with few falls and better balance.
See you at the rink. And thank you for skating!