Skateboarding is one of the most popular action sports in the world. It has been a part of the X-Games since they started, and is now an Olympic sport with the first games to be held at the 2020 Olympics.
Because of the extreme nature of the sport, there is a high risk of falls and repetitive stress lower body injuries in skateboarding and similar sports. It’s important for skateboarders to understand how the lower body works and what safety measures should be taken to avoid injuries.
Lower Body Injuries
The risk of fall injuries to the knees, hips, and the lower back in skateboarding increases with speed, height and the level of challenge. Bruises and sprains are common in this sport, especially while doing tricks like ollie, flips and grind.
According to a study in the Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine comparing in-line skaters and skateboarders, skateboarders had more significant lower body injuries than in-line skaters. The authors also observed that more skateboarders were hospitalised with prominent or severe lower body injuries than upper body injuries.
A study in Injury Epidemiology observed that the risk of lower body injuries, was higher in teenagers and adults than children. Ankle sprains were reported as the most common injury amongst skateboarders. Another study pointed out that ankle and foot account for common skateboard injuries.
Ankle sprains typically occur when landing awkwardly on the skateboarding after performing a trick. The tricks can be as simple as an ollie or as complex as a kick flip indie.
Case studies have also highlighted that injuries to the knees and hips can occur while skateboarding. The cause of such injuries is down to the high impact nature of the sport and the repeated stress on the lower body. ACL and MCL injuries are sighted as the common types of knee injuries.
Impact of Foot Posture
Weak foot posture, such as flat feet, can increase the risk of injuries in skateboarders. As the foot arch flattens on the ground, it produces abnormal foot movements which can create a chain reaction. This chain reaction causes the shin and thigh bones to twist inwards which affects the postural alignment of the lower body over time.
Because of the postural misalignment, more stress is placed on the ankles, knees and hips and the lower back. The added stress on the lower body can increase the likelihood of injuries such as sprains, tears or fractures, especially while performing tricks.
With weak foot posture, there is uneven distribution of pressure to the feet. More pressure is placed on the forefoot when a skater has a flatfoot posture. This can affect the impact absorption ability in the feet, which may lead to foot and ankle injuries.
Safety Measures and Treatment
Skateboarding, regardless of age and expertise, should be limited to skateparks to avoid injuries sustained from skating in busy streets and public spaces. Skateboarders should always wear knee pads, hip pads and proper footwear to protect the lower body.
Foot insoles such as MASS4D® can be recommended to treat problems caused by weak foot posture and improve the shock absorption capability of the feet. MASS4D® insoles help restore healthy movement and function of the feet which can promote healthy function and movement in the lower body.
By supporting the feet in their corrected posture, MASS4D® helps promote postural alignment which can reduce added stress on the lower body. This helps reduce the injury risks, foot & ankle, knees and hips, and allows skaters to maintain form while performing tricks.
MASS4D® insoles come with accessories such as add-on support that help protect the feet from extra load placed while performing high impact tricks. The add-on support is highly durable and can easily be fitted and removed.
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Reference: Osberg, J. A., Schneps, S. E., Scala, D. S. (1998) Skateboarding: More Dangerous Than Roller Skating or In-line Skating. Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine: 1998, Vol. 152, pp. 985-991.
Reference: McKenzie, L. B., Fletcher, E., Nelson, N. G., Roberts, K. J., Klein, E., G. (2016) Epidemiology of Skateboarding-Related Injuries Sustained by Children and Adolescents 5-19 Years of Age and Treated in US Emergency Departments: 1990 Through 2008. Injury Epidemiology Journal: 2016, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 10.
Reference: Luciano, A., P., Lara, L., C., R. (2012) Epidemiological study of foot and ankle injuries in recreational sports. Acta Ortopédica Brasileira: 2012, Vol. 20, No. 6, pp. 339-342.
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