Roller skating is very challenging and requires some serious balance, stamina, coordination, and physical strength. Every person who performs this amazing physical activity should know it requires the involvement of the core muscles and legs.
Therefore, any skater needs to develop some much-needed muscle strength before a roller skating session. But, despite all of that, many roller skaters experience knee pain and wonder why it happens.
Some knee pain can be a result of falling during roller skating. But, there could be some silent culprits, such as overuse, wrong knee position, problems with hip or ankle, and loose patella.
So, in today’s topic, we will talk about roller skating’s influence on the knees, and how to avoid injuries during this great sports exercise.
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Is Roller Skating Bad For Your Knees?
If you are a novice in this area and don’t have the required strength and stamina, roller skating can put some pressure on your knees. It’s good to know that roller skating actually presents a great exercise for the overall body, and has the least impact on the knees.
So, if you want to strengthen your body before skating, you could try strength-building exercises or some yoga. If you have previous sports experience, building strength will be less difficult. But, it’s very important to build your core and muscles, that way you could avoid injuries and knee pain.
Why Do Knees Hurt After Roller Skating?
Besides possible knee pain from falling, there could be some other factors that cause this problem. So, take a look at some of them.
- Overuse. If you are a new skater, you may inflame your knees and make them painful. Overuse is an activity that is more than 10% higher than any of your usual exercises. So, start slowly, at your own pace, and rest if you need to.
- Bad posture. If your knees track over the toes as you skate, or rotate inward – that’s bad. This puts stress on the knees and therefore makes you more prone to ligament tears.
- Hip or ankle issues. The knee joint needs to be stable, and the knee should hinge only back and forth. But, your hip and ankle joints should be movable. If you lock your hips and ankles, the knees become loose, so this creates stress on the ligaments and can lead to knee pain.
- Loose patella. The patella needs to move in a certain way over the knee joint, and some people have loose patella. So, when it gets out of alignment it can cause knee and ligament pain.
Common and Serious Roller Skating Knee Injuries
In most cases, skaters suffer some minor injuries during a fall. So, they may end up with a few bruises or sore knees. But, sometimes some serious damage can happen to the kneecap, or in extreme cases put it out of alignment.
This condition may lead to some further damage of knee tissues and can cause chondromalacia patella. So, it’s mandatory to treat any kind of knee injury by a physiotherapist. Sometimes, roller skaters can injure their knees by a sudden twist. These kinds of injuries can damage the ligaments.
Some extreme pain on the inside of the knee can be a result of medial collateral ligament damage. It’s important to mention that you may feel intense pain at the front of the knee, during the anterior cruciate ligament damage. This condition disables the knee to take the skater’s weight and may require some restorative surgery.
How to Prevent Knee Injury When Roller Skating
People sometimes relate roller skating to knee injuries. But, the truth is that knee problems are often the result of bad posture, falling on knees, not doing tricks right, or just twisting knees while skating. Otherwise, this activity should not have a major effect on your knees.
So, it’s good to know that many knee injuries during roller skating are preventable. Check out some tips that may help you avoid knee injuries.
Learn the Basics of Roller Skating
If you are new to roller skating, you should carefully learn some basic steps. It’s very important to learn how to stop, tread, and maintain body balance before you hit the road. You will need to follow the techniques correctly, any improper form may add pressure on the knees, and cause pain or injuries.
Have the Correct Posture
The right posture is extremely important. So, don’t slouch or bend. You should try to maintain a straight position with the head above the shoulders, and the shoulders above the core. If you slouch forward you could weaken the core, and put some additional stress on your knees.
So, if you try some tricks, always bend your torso, and learn how to keep a squat position for as long as you can.
Have the Safety Gear
Safety gear is mandatory! Never go on a roller skating activity without a helmet, elbow pads, wrist guards, and knee pads. If you wear knee pads during skating, you can minimize severe knee injuries. Some research says that wearing wrist, elbow, and knee protectors may account for:
- 87% fewer wrist injuries.
- 82% fewer elbow injuries.
- 32% fewer knee injuries.
Very similarly, the helmet can protect your head from serious damage. So, even though protective gear might not look trendy to some people, it can save your body and life. Therefore, never hesitate to wear it.
Before any roller skating session, you should do some warming-up exercises. These activities help you prepare your muscles and core for the upcoming pressure. You can also do some of those exercises after skating, as they can help your muscles to relax more easily.
Some off-skate weight training can also be a good option. That way you can add some strength to knees and legs muscles. But, during warming up, make sure to equally train your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles. That way you are reducing knee pressure during exercise.
Watch Out Where and How You Skate
Before learning to skate, you should learn road rules, and obey every one of them. Always skate on the proper side, stop at traffic signals, and never change lanes out of the blue.
Never roller skate on wet concrete, walkways, or crowded pavements that are full of people and obstacles. Especially if you are a beginner, avoid any hills, obstacles, uneven surfaces, and heavy traffic.
Know Your Limits
Whenever you skate, you should always know your limits. And there is nothing wrong with that, as the limits are there to be slowly pushed forward. It doesn’t matter if your technique is amazing, too much of a workout can put stress on your knees. So, the injuries are possible regardless of your body’s stamina and limits.
The muscles are generally more predisposed to injuries if you over-train them. Also, one more important thing: you should try to keep a healthy weight when skating. Because excess weight can make you more prone to chronic knee pain or injuries. So, it’s best to have a healthy BMI to prevent some knee injuries.
Learn to Fall Properly
It may sound silly, but learning how to fall properly is a very important part of any extreme sports activity. Because, sometimes, whatever you do, you may not be able to avoid falling. Lots of injuries can happen during a wrong fall.
So, for the best fall, you should try to move the body slightly forward, and keep your ribcage, arms and head away from straight hitting the surface. If you can, try to sit down by using one side of your buttocks or thighs, and that way avoid tailbone injury. It’s good to know that strong thigh bones can absorb the fall impact.
Bear in mind, you should never use your hands to try to break a fall. So, the falling sometimes may be inevitable, but the landing can be smoother and without severe injuries.
Get the Right Shoe Size
When buying your new roller skates, it’s very important to buy the right shoe size. You shouldn’t feel pressure on your feet, and the skates shouldn’t be too tight. Many skates will fit like sneakers, but it can also depend on the style of skating shoes.
So, it’s very essential to measure your feet and opt for a suitable skate size. It’s good to select your skates after some training. That way you’ll be able to choose the right fit. Also, be sure to use the same socks you use during your roller skating sessions.
The Bottom Line
Roller skating is a really great sports activity. It can give us some good cardio workouts, and it’s also very fun. If you experience any knee pain, check with your doctor, just to be sure it’s nothing serious.
If you’re dealing with some light pain that is not dangerous after the skating session, you should pay attention to the mentioned cause of knee pain. So, be sure to prepare your body before roller skating activity, that way the chance of injuries will be less, and the knee pain may be avoided.
Therefore, all that is left to do is to enjoy your skates and the trails before you.