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  1. #1
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    Skaters knee injuries?

    A question to you experts, I was wondering about something a lot:

    When I see competitive skaters train, they do like 80% of their practice time jumps (double, tripple), they do a lot in one practice session, every day.
    Why don't they get problems with their knees (meniscus)? A few do, but most not.

    Now me as an adult skater, I skate since 4 years, 4-6 hours a week. But since 2 years, I have knee pain when doing to much (single) jumps, I don't jump high, maybe just some inches http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZEShRuUEWQ
    To much means, more than 10 in one session (two hours). Now I even must reduce them to max. 4 a session...because I'm afraid that I might get a permanent knee injury when doing to much. I love skating to much that I can't be off longer than 3 days if I don't jump, my knee seems ok... btw, I'm not heavy, just 59kg, with 1.71cm hight...

    Am I right that the muscles in the legs need to support the knee to prevent a heavy load/pressure on them? I belive I don't have enogh muscles that I'm in pain very soon. Its so frustrating, can't practice jumps much, I didn't even try loop and flip yet because of that I'm so jealous of everyone who can jump all the time without any consequences...

    Any ideas?

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    As adult skaters, we're skating with adult bodies that have had years of wear and tear on them. This means that things like backs, hips, knees - you may feel it much sooner than a younger person would; and you need to know your body, to know how much you can push.

    That said, you absolutely can do exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee, and that can help with knee pain, in certain cases.
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

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    Did you try doing any of the off ice plyometric exercises? As long as they don’t put too much pressure on your knee, that is. And, I definitely agree that strengthening the muscles around your knee could only help. I tore my ACL and MCL skiing last month and after a few weeks of PT, I was very surprised to find out the quad muscles can take over a big part of what the knee does -at least when it comes to walking and standing...Are there any physical therapists around your rink/work that you could go to? They're usually pretty good about figuring out what muscles need to be strengthened and giving you exercises to work on once you leave and go home.

    I hope your knee gets better. I'm in withdrawal from being off the ice, too!

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    A personal trainer at a gym or similar could help as well.
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

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    These competitive skaters are probably also doing lots of off-ice exercises that build up the opposing muscles around the knee, helping to prevent overuse injuries. Since we skaters use our outer quadriceps muscles disproportionately, they get stronger than the hamstrings and inner quads and pull unevenly on the kneecap, causing knee pain. So it really helps to do hamstring exercises (such as hamstring curls) and inner quadriceps exercises (such as leg extensions). It is also helps to stretch your quads and hamstrings thoroughly after skating. I used to have knee problems, but my physical therapist gave me these exercises and stretches and they made a big difference!

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    Absolutely do off-ice strengthening exercises. Get thee to a physical therapist or personal trainer! Yes, skating is very hard on the knees, so it pays to have very strong muscles supporting the entire knee region.

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    I think a lot of skaters at elite level have knee problems too. If you notice how many of them are injured every year. I think there was a thread last year before Europeans with a list of skaters who are injured. From my head I remember that Pluschenko had some knee surgery, Novitsky (dancer) and Shabalin (also dancer) too... As you see, the knee problems are not connected only to the jumps but to skating generally. (I think it is not only skating, but any physical activity that you do so intensively. For example, runners have problem too and they don't do jumps.)

    With meniscus, if you are lucky, the surgery fixes it and you may not have much problems with it in the future, so there may be a lot of skaters who perhaps missed one season or had it operated off season and came back strong the following season, so there may be a number of skaters we don't even know they had it done.

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    I have learned to "mix things up" in my sessions. A few years ago I was praciting the same MIFs that needed the most work over and over. I've also been doing strength training, cycling, etc.

    I still have the usual aches and pains that come with getting older, but I believe this combination has helped to relieve the acute, sharp knee pain that I was experiencing.

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    also you can almost always tell a true adult skater to one who has skated as a child. When you are younger you learn to really bend at the knee and through the ankle. True adult skaters dont do it as much as as a previous poster pointed out adults have adult bodies.

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    Warm up muscles and joints very well before jumping and spinning (that sit spin is equally harsh on adult knees). Honestly if my body can only handle N jumps / spins for the rest of my life, I'd rather spread them out evenly over the years

    Is it your landing knee that hurts or both? Maybe it's related to landing technique?
    Last edited by jjane45; 01-31-2011 at 03:08 AM.

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    As a previous poster stated, see a physical therapist to evaluate your specific flexibility and strength imbalances. Everyone's body is different, and you can't just do a series of recommended exercises without someone with experience evaluating you. Knee pain is frequently caused by hamstring weakness, IT Band tightness, foot pronation, and a variety of strength and flexibility imbalances.

    Stay away from knee extension exercises for the quadriceps, especially on a machine, as they are not widely used by physical therapists nowadays. They put too much pressure on the kneecap.

    PM me with any specific questions!

    Sk8Strong.com

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsk8d View Post
    As a previous poster stated, see a physical therapist to evaluate your specific flexibility and strength imbalances. Everyone's body is different, and you can't just do a series of recommended exercises without someone with experience evaluating you. Knee pain is frequently caused by hamstring weakness, IT Band tightness, foot pronation, and a variety of strength and flexibility imbalances.

    Stay away from knee extension exercises for the quadriceps, especially on a machine, as they are not widely used by physical therapists nowadays. They put too much pressure on the kneecap.

    PM me with any specific questions!

    Sk8Strong.com
    Thanks for that info on the leg extensions! That's good to know.

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    Thanks to you all for the helpful replies!!

    As adult skaters, we're skating with adult bodies that have had years of wear and tear on them.
    I was a no sports before skating so I did nothing before, I did also nothing in the past where I would say my kees "wear out". But because I was a no sports, my legs are weak, I did got more strength with skating but obviously not enogh. My left knee started to hurt when doing my first waltz jumps, I was so excited about my first jumps that I repeated it like 30 times

    Did you try doing any of the off ice plyometric exercises?
    What is this?

    Knee pain is frequently caused by hamstring weakness, IT Band tightness, foot pronation, and a variety of strength and flexibility imbalances.
    Since we skaters use our outer quadriceps muscles disproportionately, they get stronger than the hamstrings and inner quads and pull unevenly on the kneecap, causing knee pain. So it really helps to do hamstring exercises (such as hamstring curls) and inner quadriceps exercises (such as leg extensions). It is also helps to stretch your quads and hamstrings thoroughly after skating.
    I'm sorry I'm German and I don't know what these muscle names all mean and where they are

    Are there any physical therapists around your rink/work that you could go to?
    No clue actually. But as you all say, this would help a great deal, I'm sure but I guess its expensive...and it needs to be done a couple on months to have a result, right? So, financially it will be hard but I will think about it how to do it...
    I don't have any serious pain, just a little (left knee only) when having a heavy landing but after 10 jumps or so. On the next day its usually gone, so off ice I mostly don't notice anything, just sometimes I feel a little pain so nothing serious BUT I'm so afraid someday my knee will hurt more and can't skate anymore so I'm really unsure what to do....If I don't get my left leg stronger, I guess I have to give up jumping

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    Plyometric exercises are the ones where you do jumps off ice on boxes, around small obstacles and the like to build up lower body strength. This site shows some exercises that are specific for basketball, but there are some that are used for skating, too. Someone just posted a video in Sekret Sources showing Kori Ade (Jason Brown's coach) working with young skaters on this type of exercise with young skaters.

    http://gabriellaunited.com/videos/89...-with-kori-ade


    As for PT, I'm not sure how the health system in Germany works in terms of health insurance covering visits, but most physical therapists I know are very good about giving you exercises you could do on your own, so you don't need to break the bank to get something out of the training. It's still expensive, but I thought it was money well spent. To be fair, I couldn't even walk right after I got injured, so I didn't have much choice, either. I've gotten to the point where I can do off ice turns and brackets now, so I figure if PT can help heal partially torn MCLs, I'm sure there is something to be done to strengthen the muscles around your knee.

    Viel Glück !

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the video...I gave up off ice jumping long ago because I didn't want to give even more pressure on the knees...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLOS View Post
    I'm sorry I'm German and I don't know what these muscle names all mean and where they are
    The quadriceps (quads) are the muscles in the front of your leg, above the knee.
    Photo here: http://cloud.aquaviews.net/wp-conten...Quadriceps.png

    The hamstrings are the muscles in the back of your leg, above the knee.
    Photo here: http://soccerlens.com/hamstring/16150/

    The strength of these muscles needs to be in balance. The flexibility of these muscles also needs to be in balance. If one is tighter or stronger than the other, it will pull too much on your knee and give you knee pain. A physical therapist can measure the strength and flexibility of each of these muscles and give you exercises and stretches to do. Here are a few of the stretches I do after skating, which help me:

    Quadriceps stretch: http://www.exrx.net/Stretches/Quadriceps/Standing.html

    Hamstring stretch: http://turbofitnesssecrets.com/wp-co...ng-Stretch.jpg

    Calf: http://www.startstrongfitness.com/wp...f-diagram1.jpg
    Calf stretch: http://www.walkinghealthy.com/Stretc...alfStretch.jpg

    This iliotibial band stretch is also good after skating, and can help relieve pressure on the knee: http://runningtimes.com/rt/images/20...tretch%201.jpg
    Last edited by Doubletoe; 02-13-2011 at 08:20 AM.

  17. #17
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    Well, the skaters we watch at the highest level are not like us. If they are at this level, it's because they don't have the body others have and knee problems some of us can have.

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    I am just a lurker but I finally feel like I have something to add...

    At 15, I tore my ACL/MCL, and Medial Meniscus (cartilage) as well as partially tearing away a chunk of cartilage off the back of my kneecap while skating... at the time I blamed a bad double axel landing, basically I hyperextended my knee when I landed, and the sheer force sideways literally dislocated the joint, ripping it apart.. it was not good.

    So I had surgery to rebuild my knee (as well as some minor surgery on my ankle to fix an unrelated issue), it took me 9 months to get back on the ice (which was sooner than my ortho cleared me, but I didn't do much at first, mostly just stroking and MIF, it was another month or so before I started jumping again, which was after my doc had ok'd it), but it took a bit longer until all was back to "normal" (mostly due to not "trusting" my knee any more, and I never did get all of my doubles back consistently, nor did I really care at the time since I discovered boys..). My life moved on, I gradually stopped skating more than every once in a while, got married, had kids, etc.

    14 years later (when I was 29), after seeking the advice of a Rheumatologist because I was having extreme yet non-specific pain in multiple joints, I was diagnosed with the hypermobility type of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. This is something I've had my whole life, I just didn't have the diagnosis until last year... and it's genetic. A majority if the joint pain I feel is just due to inflammation from ligaments/tendons being stretched too far.. it's not actual joint damage nor is it necessarily causing any damage to my joints because it hurts. I am naturally flexible, but never realized that flexibility is actually due to defective collagen,which is a genetic problem.

    So really, I think good joint health is in large part due to genetics (and not just the specific condition I have) and that people with joint problems usually don't make it to high levels of competition - I sure didn't, but that was never really my goal, I mostly skated for fun.

  19. #19
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    One word : diet.

    I know that some people are more fragile than others, and that injuries come sometimes in a "unfair" way. But I'm also surprised sometimes to see how some skaters who have obviously some weight to lose are surprised to cumulate ankle and knee injuries. They ask for specific training, even need surgeries, struggle with therapies and other "repairing" and still weight 20 or more pounds than they should. They go onto the ice rink without off ice conditionning, they don't stretch...
    Actually they think they do sport and have a sportive life when they actually do half of the job and miss the point that they need to have a healthy life outside of the rink if they want to perform and be real athlets.

    Those skaters mourn because they can't train well because of injuries nor improve in such conditions... And when you see them it's obvious they just weight too much, they don't do any effort to lose some pounds. They don't realize that if they weighted 20, 10 pounds less their ankles and knees would afford the training much better.

    I'm talking about cases I've seen and most of them concern people in overweight, unfortunately some people are injured eventhough they are fit and do everything fine to keep themselves in good shape. But some injuries and long term problems could be avoided for many skaters if they care more about their overall shape, not only while they skate.

    High level competitive skaters are always very fit, even thin, boys and girls. It's an illusion to believe that one can pretend to do sport and still eat bad or doesn't care of one's weight.

  20. #20
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    Doubletoe, thanks for the explanation now I know the different muscles in the legs. Sometimes my quads right above the knee hurts, maybe there was to much pressure on them? However I realize my muscles are weak...I was thinking about it, I gave up other sports because I was to weak, swimming, tennis, bicycle etc, I was always to weak. Skating is the first sport that works for me but I could not imagine to jump because I feel I'm heavy (meaning not being able to jump higher as 10cm, on or off ice) but I'm not (only 59kg/1.71cm), so it was a miracle as I mastered the waltz jump first, I was extremly excited

    Now I managed to do good toeloops and slachows but now I feel it in the knee, yesterday I did 5 toeloops and 3 salchows and 1 waltzjump, all in a row, no problems, that was great...but 20 min later I did another waltz jump and the landing hurted a lot even though I landed good, it just felt heavy

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