Skateboarding Ankle Injuries
By Cameron Delicato, PTA
Common Skateboarding Ankle Injuries
Children and young adults love the thrill of skateboarding. But oftentimes they end up with skateboarding injuries. They’re trying to hone in on the tricks of “riding the rail” and “catching air.” But according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS), risky tricks, can cause serious foot and ankle injuries.
Jacksonville Orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons continue to see serious lower-extremity skateboard injuries among their patients. The injuries range from minor bumps and bruises to open wounds or cuts to more serious foot and ankle sprains and fractures, which may require surgical repair. Some common skateboarding ankle injuries include:
Tendonitis and Ankle Sprains: Also, a common skateboarding injury due to overuse and/or landing wrong resulting in a sprain of the ankle. These usually present with localized pain, swelling, and stiffness. Tendonitis/sprains could also present with pain when pushing through the foot. Rest and ice help with the immediate onset of pain and/or ongoing pain, however, if pain persists then seeing an orthopedic doctor would be advised. The doctor would provide imaging and assessment of ankle/foot with the possibility of prescribing physical therapy to provide exercises to reduce inflammation and improve ankle stability, mobility, and strength.
Plantar Fasciitis: Occurs due to repetitive stresses on the heel. Usually with skateboarders the intense gripping of the foot/toes while skating causes this. The pain usually occurs in the heel and/or the arch of the foot. Most cases of plantar fasciitis hurt worse in the mornings and get better as the day goes on. Stretching the Achilles of the involved side, ice, and rest can help relieve plantar fasciitis.
Neuroma: A neuroma is a pinched nerve in the foot. The nerve becomes inflamed causing pain, tingling, and/or numbness between the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th toes. This typically occurs due to ankle over-pronation, overuse, or poor technique. Seeing an orthopedic doctor specializing in foot/ankle would be recommended.
Foot/Ankle Fractures: Most fractures while skateboarding would be apparent and would prevent further skateboarding until seen by a doctor, however, some fractures could be small enough for someone to continue skateboarding and heal incorrectly or slowly. Fractures typically result in pain, bruising, and swelling that does not resolve quickly.
Is Skateboarding Bad for You? And How Can You Protect Yourself?
First off, skateboarding is a physically demanding sport. Like any sport, there is a chance of injury every time you ride a skateboard. However, there are ways to reduce the chances of injury or prevent injuries outright. Wearing proper shoes is a must. Skateboarding shoes tend to have flat soles designed to grip the skateboard deck, although, these shoes tend to also have little to no arch support. This could be fixed with the use of custom or over-the-counter orthotics. If ankle sprains or ankle instability are a chronic problem, then the use of braces would help provide stability when skating. Regularly checking the skateboard is also a must. There could be cracks, tears in the grip, loose wheels, or other
irregularities that could be fixed to prevent potential injuries.
Calf stretches before and after skate sessions will help prevent injuries such as plantar fasciitis and tendonitis. Maintaining ankle stability and strength will also help to prevent injuries that result in falls.
Speaking of falls, it would be wise to look into the proper falling techniques to reduce stresses and injuries also. There are a bunch of good videos and articles on proper fall techniques when it comes to skateboarding injury prevention.
To schedule with a JOI Rehab Center, please call 904-858-7045.
If you have experienced a foot or ankle injury from skateboarding, JOI has Orthopaedic Specialists to help. To find a foot and ankle specialist near you call 904-JOI-2000 or click the link below.