How to treat skateboarding injuries

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Most of us have seen a compilation of skateboarding injuries, witnessed someone in person getting injured at a skateboarding park or even experienced a skateboarding injury ourselves. As we have heard our grandma say a million times, “skateboarding is dangerous, no one should do it.”

However, skateboarding is a great way to get exercise outdoors. So it makes sense that those loyal to skateboarding find that the rewards of skateboarding outweigh the risks.

OrthoIndy foot/ankle and sports medicine specialist, Dr. Michael Shea, has frequently treated skateboarders who have injured themselves while participating in the sport.

“I think there are two basic areas where injuries occur while skateboarding. One is the wrist and the other is the ankle,” said Dr. Shea. “These are mostly due to falls.”
The symptoms of these injuries include pain, swelling, difficulty bearing weight, difficulty moving the injured area, bruising after some time and occasional numbness or tingling associated with the injured area.

“In my opinion, there are two components to skateboarding that lead to injuries. The first one is straight-line speed, when you are going straight on the skateboard really fast and you lose your balance or you go to stop and put your foot down, the foot sometimes catches on the ground and this can lead to rotational type injuries,” said Dr. Shea.

“The second component is with height. When you are up in the air performing a skateboarding trick you might land awkwardly; there is a lot of force that lands on your ankle and you might get compression type injuries, where the bones and joints kind of jam together, or rotational injuries, where you can tear ligaments and get fractures as well. I think the more catastrophic injuries usually come from people landing awkwardly from jumps.”
To diagnose a skateboarding injury, a physician usually begins with asking the patient how the injury occurred. Then the injured area is assessed to test for ligament instability or make sure the tendons are working properly. Bones in the injured area are also evaluated to test for fractures. Afterwards, an X-ray may be necessary and sometimes an MRI is ordered as well.

According to Dr. Shea, treatment options vary upon the degree of injury. Sometimes an ACE wrap or ankle brace is necessary. Other times the patient will need further immobilization like wearing a fracture boot for a certain amount of time. This can go anywhere from a few days up to six weeks followed by rehab. Occasionally a patient will end up with a chronic instability and may need surgery to have the ligaments reconstructed.

“The other treatment options deal with fractures. Fractures can be treated either non-operatively or operatively depending on the fracture pattern, the bone that is fractured, the amount of displacement or misalignment of the bone,” said Dr. Shea. “Sometimes, you can bear weight on it right away in a boot. Other times, you may need to protect it with non-weight bearing for a while or you may even need to consider surgery.”

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Shea please call 317.802.2821 or request an appointment online at OrthoIndy.com/request.

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