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.

Skateboarding is an exhilarating sport that requires balance, skill, and precision. However, it also comes with its fair share of risks, particularly when it comes to ankle injuries. Understanding the common causes, types of injuries, symptoms, and when to seek medical attention for skateboarding ankle injuries is crucial for both skateboarders and their parents.

illustration showing the different grades of an ankle sprain. JOI Rehab

Grades of an Ankle Sprains

Types of ankle injuries commonly seen in skateboarders include sprains, strains, fractures, and even dislocations. Sprained ankles are the most prevalent, occurring when the ligaments that support the ankle are overstretched or torn. Strains refer to stretched or torn muscles or tendons, while fractures involve broken bones. Dislocations occur when the bones in the ankle joint are forced out of their normal position.

Recognizing the symptoms and signs of ankle injuries is essential to determine the appropriate course of action. Common symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, difficulty walking or bearing weight, and limited range of motion. If you experience any of these symptoms after a skateboarding incident, it is important to take them seriously and seek medical attention.

Skateboarding Ankle Injury Treatment and Recovery

Skateboarding ankle injuries are common among riders of all skill levels. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced skateboarder, it’s important to know how to properly treat and recover from these injuries to get back on your board as soon as possible. Here are some common treatment options, rehabilitation exercises, expected recovery timeframes, and tips for preventing future ankle injuries:

Common Treatment options for skateboarding ankle injuries

When it comes to treating ankle injuries, the RICE method is often recommended. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. It’s important to rest the injured ankle, apply ice to reduce swelling, use compression bandages to support the ankle, and elevate the foot to reduce pain and swelling.

Rehabilitation exercises for ankle strength and flexibility

Once the initial pain and swelling subside, rehabilitation exercises can help strengthen and improve the flexibility of the ankle. Some exercises to consider include ankle circles, calf raises, heel-to-toe walks, and balance exercises on a wobble board or balance disc.

Expected recovery timeframes for different types of ankle injuries.

The recovery time for skateboarding ankle injuries can vary depending on the severity of the injury. Mild sprains may take a few weeks to heal, while more severe sprains or fractures may require several months of recovery and rehabilitation. It’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations and give your ankle enough time to heal properly.

Tips for preventing future ankle injuries after recovery.

To prevent future ankle injuries, it’s important to take preventive measures even after you’ve recovered. Some tips include wearing proper protective gear such as ankle braces or high-top skateboarding shoes, warming up before skateboarding, practicing proper skateboarding techniques, and gradually increasing the intensity and difficulty of your tricks and maneuvers.

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.

Common Skateboarding Injuries.

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.

skateboarder

skateboarding woman legs at sunrise street

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.

Calf Stretching

Calf Stretch can help prevent strains

Consulting a JOI Foot and Ankle Specialist

If you’ve experienced a skateboarding ankle injury, it’s crucial to consult a foot and ankle specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment. While some injuries may seem minor at first, they can lead to long-term complications if not properly addressed.  During a foot and ankle evaluation, a specialist will assess the extent of your injury through a physical examination and possibly imaging tests like X-rays or MRIs. This evaluation helps determine the specific nature and severity of your skateboarding ankle injury.

Foot and ankle specialists have extensive knowledge and experience in treating various types of injuries related to the lower extremities. They can provide you with a range of treatment options tailored to your specific needs. These options may include conservative treatments like physical therapy, bracing, or immobilization, as well as more advanced interventions such as injections or surgical procedures if necessary.

After receiving treatment for your injury, your physician will also guide you on long-term care and prevention strategies. They may recommend specific exercises to strengthen your ankle, provide advice on proper footwear, and suggest modifications to your skateboarding technique to minimize the risk of future injuries.  A consult ensures that you receive expert care and personalized treatment for your ankle injury. By following their guidance for long-term care and prevention, you can help reduce the chances of re-injury and get back on your skateboard with confidence.

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To schedule with a JOI Rehab Center, please call 904-858-7045. 

By: Cameron Delicato, PTA Beaches Rehab 

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