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  1. #1
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    New skates question/injury

    for skaters recovering from a foot or ankle or knee injury. Do you think the weight of a skate can affect how an injury heals? New skates are needed and I am wondering for things like double jumps if the lightest boots for body type are better vs traditional boots.

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    I don't know about helping a recovery from injury, but if you are thinking about lighter boots, you also might consider that you will probably have to replace the boots more often than you would with traditional boots.

    I'm also wondering if some types of injuries might heal better with the traditional boots, since they are stiffer and offer more protection.
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    I don't know. . . I can tell you that I have broken my ankle three times while wearing good quality skates that were not broken down and that fit well (two pairs of Riedells, one pair of custom Klingbeils). . . so a well-fitted pair of boots is clearly no guarantee you'll avoid injury. At least not for me!!
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    Specifically wondering about jumps that require a toe pick. I wonder if less forces is needed if the boots are lighter...

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    Only if your technique is already poor and you hammer the ice could skate weight make a difference. Then, the heavier skates will chunk out a bigger divot than the lighter skates. Neither can give you a better toe jump or even a better edge jump.

    IMO, the advantage of lighter skates can best be felt when the skater is already at peak fitness. For skaters that aren't strong or are overweight, they'd be better off toning and strengthening their body.

    It's like k-picks: skaters who have good technique don't need them. Skaters who are sloppy find they compensate for poor technique.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGirlCanSkate View Post
    Specifically wondering about jumps that require a toe pick. I wonder if less forces is needed if the boots are lighter...
    I didn't notice a difference when I switched.

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    Do you think a smaller lighter skater would be better off in lighter boots without or without an injury?

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    Can't answer that. I'm neither smaller or lighter.

    I know I have had stability problems in lighter boots. Personally, I'm going back to regular boots with my next pair. That said, the kids seem to really like them lighter weight. I guess it's up to what your skater (or you) is comfortable with. I'm not sure the injury itself will be helped (or harmed) by a lighter boot.

    Not very helpful. Sorry.

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    I just found this: http://www.usfsa.org/content/Boot%20...0Solutions.pdf

    "Boots that are proportionately too heavy for the skater can impact performance as well as contribute to injury. Do you
    know how heavy your boots are compared to your body weight? Weigh both boots. Weigh yourself. Take your boot weight
    and divide it by your body weight. Multiply times 100. This is your ratio of skate weight to body weight. The average skate
    weight to skater weight is 5 percent. Ratios more than 5 percent appear unnecessary and may contribute to an increased
    rate of injury. For example, practicing spirals with a lighter boot would be less stressful on the muscles of the low back. "


    She is at 7.5%. We'll talk to her coaches and fitter. Thanks for helping me think it through.

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    Wow, whoever wrote that blurb can sell ice to eskimos. It doesn't take fitness into account at all, which doesn't make sense since muscle weighs more than fat, and it ignores the fact that height adds weight as well. I know plenty of weak, but tall, skaters who weigh as much as their shorter athletic friends. They have to be in lower-stiffness skates just to be able to bend their knees.

    When a lower-level skater feels the boots are too heavy, they're typically not doing off-ice regularly. Ankle weights replicating the skate weight are a cheap way to increase strength through exercise so that the skater benefits overall. Certainly, professional off-ice training is better for a skater who gets back pain from spirals than lighter skates. Most problems with the back aren't related to skate weight, it's usually poor training or technique.

    Unless your skater is high-level, I don't see the need to pay extra for lightweight boots. It's better to put a small, lightweight skater in an appropriate stiffness skate. A taller/heavier skater would need a stiffer boot in order to make it last longer. The benefit to being small and light (or better yet, gentle on the ice) is that the skater doesn't need to be overbooted. Overbooting wastes money prematurely, delays progress and can cause injuries.

    You definitely don't want a very-soft boot for a skater who is recovering from an injury, but you also cannot overboot the skater. They'll never break in the skates.
    Last edited by FigureSpins; 09-25-2012 at 06:58 PM.

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    If boots feel too heavy after an ankle/foot injury, it's likely that the injury hasn't healed enough to return to skating. Be sure that your skater is continuing to do her physical therapy exercises to strengthen the muscle of the foot and ankle. In terms of breaking in new boots, some injuries flare up when faced with leather-masquerading-as-concrete, but the solution isn't necessarily "lighter" boots; it's less stiff boots. The problem with breaking in new boots after an ankle/foot injury isn't just how much weight is on the foot - it's also how hard the ankle needs to work to bend within the boot. Once the boots are broken in, you can have them rebuilt to be stiffer if your skater feels that she needs more support, but there are also advantages to being in a boot with less stiffness.

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    The current boots are softer from breaking in, but they are also too small.

    So when they go back on the ice, new boots have to be ordered ASAP. The current boots have been stretched a size larger already.

    It's the new boots that I'm questioning. The old boots are Riedell 435 and the new boots were (prior to injury) going to be the 875.

    But I'm wondering if she should stay with the less stiff boot or even go lighter. She needs new boots annually so I only anticipate them lasting a year.
    Last edited by TheGirlCanSkate; 09-27-2012 at 04:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGirlCanSkate View Post
    But I'm wondering if she should stay with the less stiff boot or even go lighter.
    Just to make sure that we're on the same page: there's a major difference between the stiffness of a boot and the weight of a boot. You can get light, incredibly stiff boots, and you can get heavy, floppy boots. It's been more than a few years since I bought boots ("when I was a skater, we had to butcher the cow ourselves - by hand! - walking uphill both ways, and then tan the leather in between the eight patch sessions we skated each day; hey, get off my lawn!"), so I can't give specific examples, but the stiffness of the boot is generally more salient than its weight - although both can matter for smaller skaters, and both can matter after a severe ankle/foot injury.

    Best of luck to your skater as she returns to the ice: there's nothing quite as wonderful as that first experience of glide and freedom when one has been away for a while.

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    You had said she was about to upgrade to a stiffer boot before the ankle break, to help with her double jumps. I would just push the date of those boots back until she's regained her jumps. Shouldn't take too long, maybe 6 months.

    Keep her in the 435's for now, so she won't have to break in new boots and adjust to a different model at the same time she's recovering. As she recovers, the boot might not fit properly in a few months, so whatever you buy may have a short skating life. The 435's will get her back on the ice faster, at less cost.

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    I can't do another pair of skates in 6 months though. I left a message with one of her coaches and we are going for a fitting this week. Since new blades are needed as well I might go for lighter weight there. We will see how the stock boots feel in stiffness/weight.

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    Lots of adults who came back from broken ankles have said the boots don't fit the same way as before the break and they had to get new ones when they returned.

    If her foot shrinks after skating for a few months, are you going to make her wear too-big skates that are also too stiff? That just doesn't make sense.
    Last edited by FigureSpins; 09-28-2012 at 07:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGirlCanSkate View Post
    I can't do another pair of skates in 6 months though. I left a message with one of her coaches and we are going for a fitting this week. Since new blades are needed as well I might go for lighter weight there. We will see how the stock boots feel in stiffness/weight.
    A note about the lighter-weight blades. They feel different than traditional blades. I know lots of people who love them. I don't particularly like mine - not enough to change them out, but probably won't get them again. Just be prepared if you go that route for your daughter to comment that they feel different.

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    I think she shouldn't change boots or blades. Stick with what worked before, so it's familiar.

    The girl's balance and strength are going to be a struggle when she comes back - the OP says the kid couldn't even jump up off-ice.
    She will have to figure out how to get her foot/ankle to work right without any compensation for the injury AND try to bend bigger, stiffer boots AND use new blades that might not feel the same.

    That's a lot of variables changing at once for someone who's coming back from an injury. I'd be worried about her getting frustrated and just hanging up the skates or being injured again.

  19. #19
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    Yes, reinjury or a new injury are my worst fears. Happily she is running pain free and has started jumping rope pain free. She is a little out of shape but in two weeks went from running a 12 minute miles to 9 (she was at 7 before injury). She is going back inches taller and pounds heavier.

    I think she will get her jumps back quickly since she is dedicated to working.

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