Help me: Terrifed/excited to return to ice (adult LTS)

Discussion in 'Moves In The Field' started by Messalina, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. Messalina

    Messalina Sabre-rattler

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    About 12 years ago, in my 30s, I started LTS lessons at my local rink and had a blast. Then came a move across the country and 2 pregnancies. THEN I went back to lessons in my new state, and all was good with the world. But soon after, in a moment of inattention during a public season, I rode hard over a hockey rut on the flat of my blade, lost my balance and somehow stuck one toepick into the ice (so stupid!). Broken tibia.

    I have not skated since. In the meantime, I am now in my forties and have an autoimmune condition that affects the joints and muscles (but which does require that I work to keep in shape). But despite all that, I'm ready to go back. I decided I am sick of watching other people skate and talking about skating. I never could bring myself to sell my skates, even when it didn't look like I would be able to do anything normally again.

    But things have gotten so much better thanks to a successful treatment regime. The only exercise I am really motivated for is skating. (I have walking and yoga and the possibility of tai chi, otherwise. Though I have not been doing nearly enough of any of them lately.)

    My two sons both agreed (though they swear they hate skating, lol) to do a 6-week LTS season along with me. I signed up for the adult all-levels group. We start in 3 weeks.

    Now what?! Now I am sort of terrified, wondering if maybe this isn't premature−should I have worked harder first off-ice, to get my balance back? Not only am I now older, frailer, heavier, post-childbirth, but I'm also out of shape due to drug regimes and years of a chronic illness.

    I mean, I know I can start very, very slow. But some part of my mind is also caught up on the leg break. Since that was my last time on the ice.

    OK, that's the situation. Any thoughts/perspectives/possible support welcome.
     
  2. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    You are never too old and it is all in your mind :) Just go out and do it baby.
     
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  3. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    I don't think this is premature at all, and I'm really impressed and happy that you're getting back on the ice. I don't think you need to worry about whether you should be in better shape before starting LTS - I have seen adults of all different shapes and sizes and fitness levels and ages take LTS, and skating is a great exercise in and of itself.

    Instead of thinking about the accident, maybe you could focus on that you have previous skating experience - which is certainly better than being an absolute start-from-scratch beginner - and how much you enjoyed skating when you did it before.

    I would also suggest talking to your LTS instructor. Tell him/her your history and your situation (not just the fall, but that you skated before, your medical conditions, etc.) so that they know what to help you work on, and what your limitations are at this point.

    And before the lessons start, if you can, take your skates to a skate shop and see if the blades need a sharpening. And also make sure that you have all the other equipment you might need, e.g. guards, a cloth to wipe the blades with, soakers. You might have lost some of that stuff along the way!
     
  4. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

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    I'm another one in the broken tibia club. Tib-fib fracture almost 4 1/2 years ago (Nov 09). I went back to skating after the required 6 months recovery time and was both scared and excited when I first stepped on (it didn't help that I'd had nightmares I'd forgotten how to stop, but a few snowplow stops with my coach right next to me got me over that). I went very slowly when I first came back, although I was still recovering...your situation is different in that your bone is (hopefully) fully healed. I agree with overedge - tell your LTS instructor about your previous injury and your current limitations in terms of how they'll affect your skating. But remember, you are there to have fun, so enjoy your time on the ice! Focus on learning/relearning new skills and don't compare yourself to others.

    If you still have hardware in your leg/ankle, I recommend wearing bunga pads around your ankles (over your socks/tights) as they'll help cushion the incision/screw sites from rubbing/pressure from your skates.
     
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  5. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    Just want to say you can do it! Just get out there and have fun.

    Don't compare yourself to others or how you used to be. Just focus on the now.

    If you feel more comfortable with it, wear pads and a helmet. Don't let the 'no protection' skating culture get to you if that makes you feel more comfortable.
     
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  6. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

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    I think everyone's already offered plenty of good advice. I would just add that it sounds like you really want to get back on the ice which is half the battle. Try not to get frustrated if it takes longer than you'd like to get back a few skills (easier said than done, I know). I was off ice for a year and a half after I destroyed my right knee skiing & it was a shock to see how much harder I had to work just on basic skills since many skating muscles had turned to mush. On the bright side, coming back from an injury really forces you to look at technique and correct things you might have done incorrectly in the past, which in the long run it turned out to be a good thing for me.

    Good luck & enjoy being back on the ice:)
     
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  7. DFJ

    DFJ Well-Known Member

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    I was thrown badly off my horse when she shied from a jump. I went off but my foot got caught in the stirrup and she dragged me around the ring until someone heard me screaming for help and stopped her. It took me 5 years to ride again (a horrible time). But I overcame the fear, got back on and rediscovered my life's passion. Go for it!! Don't think about the past. :kickass:
     
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  8. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Do it! I signed up for the LTS program at Notre Dame that just started this week. You want proof of either karma or that it was the right decision, I'm not sure? They moved me to the 'advanced adult' group (now there are three of us, and it was fair, I could literally skate circles around the beginners) and what were we working on? Exactly where I left off five or six years ago when I focused entirely on ballroom, power pulls. (Weirdly, the knee with no cartilage is the 'better' side.) Yeah, it's annoying that I clearly have a long way to go to get back to where I was, but I will. Plus by doing LTS I get to try stuff I never did before (next week: jumps and spins! Already warned the teacher, while I can do a basic upright spin both ways-dance improved that--my "jumping" is limited to "waltz jump while clinging desperately to the boards like a drowning man.") If you just accept that everything might not be there, but it will come back and you'll have fun getting there, you'll be fine. Having a group is fun, too.
     
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  9. Messalina

    Messalina Sabre-rattler

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    You healed very fast. I'm so impressed you got back out there so soon.

    I actually had all the hardware around my ankle removed, but the area where the break occurred (and where the ortho later went into insert a titanium rod) is still very tender. In fact, I can't really stand anything touching me there. It's exactly where you would expect it to be: right leg, wide three-inch scar extending upward from the top of an imaginary skating boot. Can you wear bunga pads anywhere you want inside your skate boot? Could I wear one over my fx site?

    I had thought about at least wearing knee pads! Maybe it wouldn't be so bad wearing a helmet since all the kids at LTS are required to have them on.

    Wow, what a terrible accident. I'm so glad you made it back in the saddle!

    Really, in my mind−the way, way back of my mind−I knew I would go back to the ice someday, if only so I would not have to say: I broke my leg skating and never skated again.

    That's awesome, danceronice! And very strange about the no-cartilege knee being the better one. What could possibly be the reasoning behind that?

    Thank you so much for your advice and encouragement, guys! The truth is, I haven't told anyone in my life yet because I have been worried I would get the "Are you crazy?!" reaction−since my fracture happened on the ice and all.

    Great advice about checking on equipment. I know all my skating socks have gone missing, and no idea what's in the skate bag with my skates (which are in soakers and individual bags). I do know that I had had them recently sharpened before the break−would it matter if that was 12 years ago?

    I've sort of been doing these visualizations about my future skating. They basically go like this: I am an abject beginner (so as to achieve beginner's mind, with no pre-existing obstacles) but one with very soft knees, and my blades grip the ice.

    The knee thing, I hope, will remind me not to get all stiff and thus more prone to balance loss. I have to tell myself that my edges grip the ice because I know that I lost my balance and fell so badly before when I was on the flat of my blade. My knees were locked, my back was stiff and I reacted as gracefully as the Tin Woodsman.

    The truth is, if I happen to think about the break in any detail at all, I get all freaked out.

    But I really do want to get back out there. The truth is, I can also sort of tell myself that I am just there to accompany my boys while they take their lessons. This takes the pressure off me somehow. They are good sports to go along with their mom's little fantasy. But who know−maybe skating will catch on in one of them.
     
  10. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    I have no idea, except perhaps because my friend who's a PT says that hip is a bit higher and the leg is shorter it doesn't have as far to bend? Both legs were burning, though, after our teacher busted out the cones!
     
  11. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the padding. You can also wear rollerblade wrist guards and volleyball knee pads. No shame in not wanting to get hurt, bruised, etc. Make sure the little boys are in snow pants, it keeps them dry and warm. Have fun!
     
  12. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

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    Well....actually, my healing was slower than average. ;) In retrospect, I believe that may have been at least partly due to low Vitamin D levels, which I didn't discover I had until about a year after the break. And the hardware can also restrict healing somewhat. I think my doc was OK with letting me go back at 6 months b/c I had a rod and 4 screws holding my leg together, what else could happen, lol. But I wasn't allowed to do any turns on my left leg/foot for several more months.

    It sounds like you had a plate and screws first and then had a rod put in? Yikes. So you still have the rod and the upper screws? It sounds like your fracture was in the same place as mine - right at the top of the boot? Yes, you can definitely wear bunga pads to cover that site. Check out different skate supply retailers online - some pads are 5 inches long, some may be longer. I would recommend having at least half the pad inside your boot to help hold it in place, but yes, the pad can stick out and cover the fracture site. I still wear them, although my hardware was removed almost 3 years ago....it's more of a mental thing now, lol.

    I agree with overedge - have someone look at your blades. Tell them what you'll be doing and how much you'll be skating and see if they think the blades should be sharpened. It's possible there may be some rust, too, which a sharpening would take off. And see what kind of radius/depth you have - I think 7/16" is the shallower choice, which is more common with FS skaters, esp beginners. A half-inch makes you grab the ice more, which someone in your situation wouldn't want. For one, it feels like you're skating through peanut butter (I found out this summer when I went to a new sharpener that I had the deeper cut, he changed it and I could feel the difference right away).
     
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  13. treesprite

    treesprite Member

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    Use whatever and however much padding and guards you feel comfortable with, as long as it doesn't restrict your movement. I often wish I could wear all the hockey gear I see a lot of little kids wearing, because those kids throw themselves around on the ice for the fun of it and never get hurt. Unfortunately, the hockey gear doesn't work with figure skating.

    Add me to the broken tibia club (broken in conjunction with fibula). I also had a metal plate, and the break was just below the top of the boot. I had the metal plate removed after a year because it was very painful, and I could never have skated again with it. I developed a terrible phobia when I tried to return to skating after the break. I gave up after a year of skating in terror every time, with the plan to go back whenever I felt like I was over the phobia. Now I am back to skating and the phobia is gone, even after having broken my wrist several months ago.
     
  14. Morgail

    Morgail New Member

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    I just want to join in the cheerleading here! Half the battle is getting yourself on the ice again, and you're doing that! As others have said, just take your time, don't push too hard too quickly, and have realistic expectations.

    I came back from a broken fibula and torn ankle ligaments (a high ankle sprain that required surgery and some hardware). It took some time to get everything back, but I did. That was in my late 20s. That said, I'm still trying to "come back" from cancer & multiple abdominal surgeries in 2011. I got back on the ice in May of 2012, but it's been extremely slow-going. I'm finally now to the point where I can do everything I used to do, but I still don't have the stamina or the form I used to. Most of that is because I haven't been able to dedicate the time to whipping those abdominal muscles back into shape or been able skate often enough to regain the lost stamina. It'll happen some day...maybe when my daughter is old enough to skate with me!

    But yes...patience and persistence are key. Take your time, and know that you're doing something that 99% of the population would never try, healthy or otherwise!
     
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  15. Messalina

    Messalina Sabre-rattler

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    The Internet ate a reply I wrote and thought I had posted a few days ago, but I will try to reconstitute it.

    I went and found my skates and tried them on. They're tight, but I'm not sure if they're too tight. My feet have grown about half a size since I first got the skates. I'm not sure if this will be a problem or not. The blades are in perfect condition (no rust) as I always took very great care to wipe them down and store them dry. They do seem dull, however. I guess these are issues I can ask about at the pro shop.

    My fracture was indeed right at the top of the boot. Originally, the fracture was aligned and did not require surgery or hardware (per my orthopedic doctor). So I was fitted with a full-length hard cast, which I wore for 8 weeks. Then I went back in to be fitted for a knee-length cast, which was done by an extremely rude, dismissive, unsympathetic ortho tech who would wrestle with my leg for awhile, then go out for smoke breaks. I was in tears from the pain of trying to move a leg that had been immobilized for many weeks at 45 degrees or so into a 90 degree angle. He was very impatient and sort of manhandled my leg into place and then casted it. The next day, I was in even more pain than right after the initial break. The ortho office did not seem concerned and just told me to take more pain medicine.

    A month later, I went in again for more x-rays and hopefully to have the cast removed and get a "Darth boot" for weight-bearing. But after the x-rays, someone came in the room and asked, "What have you had to eat today?"−which are the very last words you want to hear from your orthopedic surgeon. It turned out that the ortho tech had rebroken my leg the month before and now the fx was at a very bad angle. So the next day I had to undergo surgery to insert the rod and 5 screws.

    In short, 3 entire months of recovery time were a wash. It was not till around 2 months after the surgery that I actually got the Darth boot and began tentatively placing weight on the leg. It was right after I began walking that I began having my first symptoms of what would later be diagnosed as an autoimmune condition. So it sort of does feel like I have never been quite the same since I broke my leg. Hence my terror!

    Thanks for the tips on the radius of hollow. It's good to be armed with a little knowledge beforehand. I looked at the website for the skate shop nearest me and there are both hockey and figure skating staff working there (i.e. though they appear to cater to mainly hockey players, they make at least a nod to figure skating gear needs).

    I ordered bunga pads from Amazon−including the sheaths that protect the ankles, plus extra pads to place over my fx site.

    Your description of the phobia exactly captures how I have felt until recently. If I even pictured myself on the ice or in my skates, I would immediately relive the leg break in my mind and make myself cringe and shudder. (I am sort of doing it now even as I type this.) It's very encouraging to me that you got over it and even managed to weather a wrist break. :) :)

    Wow, Morgail, that is an incredible story. I think it's fantastic that you got back out there. I really am going to batten down my expectations, as you and others have suggested. I guess all I'm asking for is at least a successful return to the ice (which means I do it for the duration of the 6-week session so I can say and know for myself that I did it), and at most something I can keep doing for fun and exercise, with no obligation to ever learn jumps or fancy MITF.

    I really wish I had started skating earlier−or even as a kid!−so that there would be some muscle memory there. I learned to ski for the first time about a year and a half after breaking my leg. (We live literally 12 minutes from a ski area.) Somehow, having learned to do things on the ice like hockey stops, snowplow stops, crossovers, 3-turns, etc. made skiing come easier. I didn't find it that hard to turn or stop. Since I'm not athletic and generally don't pick things up quickly (except for dance steps−I've always been good at dancing), I was really encouraged and heartened by that. And shocked, actually! I decided I hated skiing, though, so I didn't keep it up. That is, IMO, something you really do need to learn when you're young. Otherwise it's terrifying! Or at least it was for me. I'm no adrenaline junkie. I just want to get back on the ice and see how it goes.

    Thanks so much again, everyone, for your encouragement and for your personal stories! I really love hearing them.
     
  16. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

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    I have no words. That is awful. I hope you sued that doctor's office or at least filed a complaint with your state's regulatory board. Initially, I went to a doctor that I was referred to by my PCP, but turned out to not be in my ins network (my mother made the appt), who said that my fracture was not displaced and I should start out wearing a cast and see how it healed. The tech I had was OK, but I didn't really like his or the doctor's demeanor, or the way things seemed to be run at the office. The tech insisted I get my ankle at a 90 degree angle before he put on the cast and it was unbearably painful. The cast drove me crazy and the next day I decided to find another doctor (since I had to anyway, for ins purposes) and get the surgery so I could walk sooner (and be in a removable cast). So the day after that, I saw the new doc (actually 2 docs, long story) who said that the fracture was in fact displaced - pointed it out on the x-ray, so the cast was removed, and I had surgery the next day. I've met a few other people since then who had a similar injury and started out with a cast and then ended up needing surgery several weeks or more later b/c the bone wasn't healing. So I suspect I would have needed surgery anyway, so better sooner than later.

    I was told I could be weight-bearing as soon as 6 weeks after surgery, but it was slow to heal so I was on crutches for 9 weeks. Then a week of walking on crutches, then using a cane with the boot for 2 months. I wish I'd had my D levels checked while this was going on - couldn't understand why the healing was taking so long, I was in good shape and taking calcium supplements - but it didn't even occur to me. Six months of PT. I was lucky that one of the skating coaches at my rink is a PT, so I was able to rehab with someone who knew me and knew skating.

    Glad you're getting some bunga pads! They will help. Take it slow and focus on technique. I feel like I pay more attention to those things now - posture, knee bend, where the weight is on my blade - I'm not always successful, lol, but I feel like I have more awareness, at least. I'm impressed that you took up skiing (that's one sport my docs have told me to not take up, lol). If you can handle that, you can handle skating. :)

    Good luck and keep us updated!
     
  17. Morgail

    Morgail New Member

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    I was a little hard on myself when things didn't come back as quickly as I would've liked. It took me a while to understand that every little step is a victory in and of itself. Skated today? Victory! Didn't pass out after one lap around the rink? Victory! haha. :D

    I think you have the right attitude, and will do just fine! Let us know how it goes. :)
     
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  18. Messalina

    Messalina Sabre-rattler

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    You know, it never occurred to us in the midst of the whole ordeal that we could have/should have taken action against Kaiser and/or the ortho tech. Or even write a strongly worded letter! I did leave Kaiser afterwards. That entire period of my life−living sort of "in extremis," immobilized, on pain meds, and also having a young baby**−I now remember as if I were in a sort of fugue state. What was extraordinary, I thought, was that my orthopedic surgeon admitted that what we thought happened−their guy had re-broken my leg−did indeed happen, and he apologized for it. When does a doctor ever actually come out with a clear admission and an apology?! Somehow, that satisfied me. I really just wanted validation that I had been wronged and to move forward. So I had no thought of writing letters and staying angry. I just wanted it to be over.

    In retrospect, I think I probably should have made an official complaint at least to ensure that the negligent/malicious tech didn't do more harm elsewhere. But based on my ortho doc's demeanor (he was a good guy and seemed duly chagrined that this had happened under his watch), I had the feeling that there were going to be consequences.

    Debbie S., so glad you sought a second opinion. Imagine if your displaced fracture had healed at an angle that not only kept you from skating again, but possibly even affected walking, etc.? Or possibly, like me, you might have "recuperated" a few months, THEN needed surgery down the line. I had no experience with fractures before my tibia fx, and I had no idea how monumental each individual decision along the line could be. I'm just glad everything seems to be fine now.

    I also crutched for quite a while, then single-crutched it, then depended for a long time on my cane. When I knew I would be in crowds, I even took my cane with me up to a year or so later (actually, probably even longer). It was like a security blanket. I was always nervous someone would bump me and I didn't trust my balance or reflexes. I felt "impaired" even though I actually wasn't anymore. Brandishing the cane was a way of saying "Keep your distance, fools!"

    FTR, I also had low Vitamin D levels, but I didn't know that until about a year later, when I had a full blood panel done by a rheumatologist. I didn't even know that Vit D deficiency affected healing until you mentioned in this thread.

    Good tips about focusing on technique. I am going to beat it into my head to take it slow−just getting on the ice should count as a huge accomplishment the first few times, dammit! And have few to no expectations.

    When I skated before, I remember that my worst fear focused on the hockey boys rampaging around the rink, running or flying in my direction with seemingly no intention of stopping (or worse, no ability to stop). Whenever I see them coming my way, I am just going to call it a day and save myself some gray hairs.

    **It was rough after the break because I could no longer pick up my baby and carry him around in a sling, which I did all the time before that. I felt like we had been forcibly separated. He was still nursing, but quit after just a week of the long cast. I tried everything to keep him comfortable and happy−pillows, changes of position, etc.−and to make it work, but the thigh-high cast literally came between us. Of course, there was also the matter of the pain meds I ended up taking, so it was probably for the best. But it still sort of broke my heart.
     
  19. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Just keep telling yourself that if you take it slow and watch out for hockey kids (keep your eyes about waist-level in open skate/practice time!) you will be fine. Look at me, I did a waltz jump today and did not break anything! Despite never having done it before, having dance blades, and giving the poor college girl teaching us a minor panic attack when I explained no, I'm quite sure, I'm CW...(which is a good thing as the right knee is the one without much cartilage and landings would not be pretty.) I assured her I have never had a coach who spins CW and we figured it out. Got a semi-compliment even that entering the jump I'm bringing my free leg around in a very "dance" way. "It's not WRONG, but it might be easier if you didn't." I'm sure I'm gonna hurt tomorrow but I made it! You will too.
     
  20. Messalina

    Messalina Sabre-rattler

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    That's awesome, danceronice! I am impressed.

    I wanted to post that tomorrow is the big day−I get back on the ice for the first time since I broke my leg.

    Even my sons are a little excited (they usually delight in being contrary, so this is in fact interesting). I bought some low-level, regular-shoe-looking Riedells (model 615) for my older son, who likes to skate each year with his school. (We live in one of those parts of Colorado where pretty much every kid learns to ski, snowboard, skate or play hockey. And once a year, they take off a week from school and do only that, all supported for the most part by the PTA.) In other words, I think he might like to keep skating, especially since 95% of the other boys choose the slopes over the ice rink. Meanwhile, at the ice rink, there are girls galore and he LOVES that ... (though, dear God, he's only 10). My younger son, who is a natural talent when it comes to anything physical, has only agreed to 4 skating sessions exactly. But my hidden desire is that he will actually love it. Since he is the most contrary of all, I am not exactly pinning my hopes on it, however.

    Anyway, I am excited. I have so much to manage to get them there, in proper clothing, with gloves and knee pads and helmets and skates and the right socks, that I don't have too much time to focus on myself. I think this is probably just the thing.

    I went to the local skate shop and had my blades sharpened and my boots punched out and the ankles and widened across the toes, where they were pretty tight. Afterwards, they felt so much better. I felt myself to be in good hands, especially after reading their very informative and well-maintained website (it was the shop manager himself, who has written many articles on proper sharpening and gear, who helped me). I'm all kitted out with a plethora of bunga pads, including a sheath with malleolar sleeve for my left foot and one with lace guard for my right foot (for protection at my fracture site). I'm not sure what else there is to do but breathe! Wish me luck.
     
  21. sk8pics

    sk8pics Well-Known Member

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    No, no, no. The 7/16" hollow is deeper, not shallower. The 8/16" hollow is much more typical. Think about the how the edges will look if they are making a circle based on that 7/16" hollow vs. the 8/16" hollow. The 8/16" is much more typical, especially for beginners. And a lot of sharpeners will not bother to change their settings anyway. So they may tell you one thing and do what's easier for them.

    My other pet peeve is when people say they lose their ability to stop when the blades are newly sharpened. A good sharpener will wipe the blade and take care of it so you don't lose that ability to stop. When I get my skates sharpened, I can feel the grip, and I have better run of edge, and skate faster with no more effort, but I can stop from the very first time I try to stop. The best sharpeners know how to do this. One of my best sharpeners was Rocky Marvel. I used to drive over to his rink periodically and have him sharpen my skates, and he did a great job.
     
  22. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    There isn't really a choice of sharpeners here. Both of them, I can't stop on freshly sharpened blades. One requires a 30 mile drive.
     
  23. sk8pics

    sk8pics Well-Known Member

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    Tell them to wipe the blades, get the sharp burrs off. Unless you wait way too long between sharpenings, they should be able to fix it so you don't have that problem.
     
  24. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

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    Ooops! Guess I got them mixed up. But my previous sharpening (for who knows how long) was definitely the deeper sharpening, and now I have the shallower one. The shop I used to go to was at a dance-oriented rink, so the machine may have been set to sharpen deeper and the sharpener may have just gone with that for everyone.