Physical and athletic demands of figure skating and the vital role physiotherapists play
The World Grand Prix of Figure Skating was held in Vancouver just last month. It’s the highest competitive level for Figure Skating outside of the Olympics and World Championships. BJSM editorial team ( @Blazey85 ) caught up with physiotherapists working in this high performance sporting environment. Figure skating features …
Do the high demands of figure skating create a specific injury subset?
Despite the high athletic demands placed upon figure skaters, there were very few in-competition injuries during the 2010 and 2014 Olympics (Vancouver and Sochi). 4,5 The biggest concern amongst skaters was the threat of illness (primarily upper respiratory tract infections). Figure skating competitions remain primarily an aesthetically-judged sport. This aesthetic drive may force competitors to become weight sensitive, with the related risk of developing low energy availability and conditions such as Reduced Energy Deficit Syndrome (RED-S) in both male and female competitors. 6
Acute and chronic injuries
Epidemiological studies currently show a 50:50 mix of acute to chronic (overuse) injuries amongst figure skaters.7 The ankle is the most-commonly injured joint but figure skaters are also at risk of injuries throughout the lower limb and lumbar spine. Unlike distance runners, the lower leg musculature is less able to absorb ground reaction forces due to the stiff and rigid skate boot. This results in a more even distribution of injuries across the lower limb kinetic chain.