Preventing and Treating Injuries in Ice Skaters

Ice skaters suffer from both repetitive stress injuries and traumatic injuries, however, about half of all ice skating injuries are due to repetitive stress, and thus preventable. Repetitive stress injuries in ice skaters are largely due to the impact, or ground reaction forces, generated during the landing phase of jumping. This force is transmitted throughout the entire lower extremity and can result in a variety of injuries if the body is not in proper alignment and utilizing functional patterns of movement.

In a study by Saunders (2014), it was found that ice skaters not only generate higher peak levels of ground reaction force during landing than untrained individuals, but they also have a more narrow center of pressure and a short duration to reach the peak ground reaction force.


Thus, trained ice skaters are highly susceptible to repetitive stress injuries because they are generating a very large impact force over a small area with very little time to distribute this force to the other parts of the body to assist with shock absorption.


This emphasizes the vital need for ice skaters to possess proper postural alignment and movement patterns during training and performing in order for the body to adequately distribute the forces of skating and landing.


In addition to prevention, physical therapists can reduce biomechanical restrictions, provide neuromuscular re-education and promote appropriate motor control to rehabilitate the most common ice skating injuries to get athletes get back on the ice:


  • Stress fractures in the foot or spine
  • Shin splints and medial tibial stress syndrome
  • Tendonitis of the Achilles, patellar, and peroneal tendons
  • Muscle strains of the hip
  • Patellofemoral syndrome
  • Apophysitis (irritation/inflammation of the growth plate in children) at the hip or knee
  • Bursitis in the ankle
  • Lace bite (tibialis anterior and toe extensor tendon irritation)

ice skater 231x300 Preventing and Treating Injuries in Ice Skaters


Physical therapists assist ice skaters to improve postural alignment and neuromuscular activation and promote functional movement patterns to assist in distributing peak forces over a larger area over a longer period of time. They can also work with athletes to increase core initiation and strength to decrease the amount of stresses placed on the lower extremity, as well as assess skating boots to encourage proper lower chain alignment.

Contact Body Gears to come in for a Complimentary Functional Performance Screen and see what a physical therapist can do to prevent any ice skating-related injuries and optimize your athletic performance.

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  1. Saunders N, Hanson N, Koutakis P, Chaudhari A, Devor S. Landing ground reaction forces in figure skaters and non-skaters.
  2. Journal Of Sports Sciences [serial online]. July 2014;32(11):1042-1049. Available from: CINAHL Complete, Ipswich, MA.