What is an In-Line Skating Injury?
In-line skating is a popular form of exercise with the potential for minimal stress on the joints of the body. However, in-line skating has inherent risks, and injuries are not uncommon.
Most inline skating injuries are musculoskeletal in nature, which includes sprains and fractures of the hands, and wrists.
Types of In-Line Skating Injuries
The wrist is the most commonly injured part of the body in inline skating. Most injuries sustained from this activity tend to be traumatic in nature rather than being injuries from overuse. Falling on an outstretched hand and excessive arm rotation are the most common causes of injuries while engaging in this activity.
The most common injuries include:
- Carpal instability: loss of normal alignment of the carpal bones.
- Distal radial ulnar joint instability: instability of the distal radioulnar joint most commonly results from traumatic injury.
- Distal radius fracture: fracture of the radius bone.
- Elbow fracture: damage to the olecranon.
- Perilunate dislocation: traumatic rupture of the numerous wrist ligaments.
- Pisiform fracture: a pinky side of wrist bone fracture.
- Posterior elbow dislocation: dislocated elbow.
- Scapholunate ligament injury: significant wrist sprain with an associated scapholunate ligament tear.
- Triangular fibrocartilage tear: traumatic injury to the cartilage structure in the small finger side of the wrist involved in forearm and wrist rotation.
Characteristics and Clinical Presentation of In-Line Skating Injuries
Injuries range from generalized swelling and inflammation to sprains, fractures, and dislocations. The degree of injury may be distinguished by immobility in the affected region. The injury may manifest in intense pain, including tenderness or bruising.
Other common symptoms include:
- Pain at the base of the wrist
- Pain worsens on radial and ulnar wrist deviation and rotation.
- Swelling in the wrist
- Painful clicking in the wrist
- Deformity of the wrist
- Loss of grip strength
- Decreased range of motion
Causes of In-Line Skating Injuries
When we fall, our first instinct is to catch ourselves with our outstretched hands. For this reason, injuries resulting from in-line skating most often occur in those who fall on an outstretched hand, FOOSH. Degenerative tears are more common in the older population.
There are several different causes related to in-line skating that can lead to injuries in the hand, wrist, and elbow:
- Acute traumatic events
- Chronic repetitive stress
- Acute on chronic injuries
Getting a Diagnosis for In-Line Skating Injuries
If an athlete presents with pain or swelling in the hand, wrist, or elbow after an accident occurs, it is important to seek medical supervision as soon as possible. In order to come to a diagnosis, patients may undergo an X-ray to determine if the injury resulted in a fracture or dislocation. An MRI scan may be used to aid in visualizing ligamentous injuries.
Treatment Options for In-Line Skating Injuries
Because most injuries are traumatic, many in-line skating injuries can be treated by taking a break from skating.
Mild injuries can be treated with a common set of standard treatments for generalized sports injuries. These include rest, applying ice, careful use of a supportive or compression device, and elevating the injured body part.
Early conservative treatments may include occupational and physical therapy. Immobilizing the wrist during this process can also prove beneficial.
Older or more severely disabling instances of injury may require arthroscopically assisted reconstructive surgery.
In the event of obvious bone deformities, such as a fracture or dislocation, athletes ought to seek immediate medical evaluation from an experienced hand surgeon. Wrist fractures can be treated with manual reduction but sometimes require surgical intervention.
Unstable fractures or cases involving joint disruption may require surgery to restore anatomy and reduce the possibility of arthritis.
Preventing In-Line Skating Injuries
While many injuries can be considered inevitable to some extent because falls are common, many potential injuries can be avoided with proper care and precaution. People unfamiliar with in-line skating should consider lessons prior to skating because many injuries are sustained by novices.
Learning proper stopping mechanics in addition to balance and speed control are also vitally important. Wearing protective gear is essential in minimizing serious musculoskeletal injuries.
Prognosis for In-Line Skating Injuries
Conservative treatment methods may be treated well with rest or by splinting. Simple fractures may be treated in a splint or cast.
Physical therapy may be required following the initial treatment period. Patients are often able to return to in-line skating pain-free following early diagnosis and prompt treatment.
If You Believe You Have an In-Line Skating Injury, Contact HandSport Surgery Institute
Please contact us to schedule an appointment with our talented team. People experiencing an in-line skating injury should be evaluated to try and prevent further injury and mobility issues, and to optimize recovery.
If you have been injured, it’s important to be evaluated by a highly skilled professional. Call Drs. Mark and Jason Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment and obtain an accurate diagnosis.