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Author Topic: Health question  (Read 492 times)

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Offline Peach

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Health question
« on: September 18, 2017, 08:30:30 PM »
Can skating cause you to be short or bowlegged?

Offline tstop4me

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Re: Health question
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2017, 05:29:03 AM »
I assume you are concerned about the effects of skating on a child that is still growing, rather than on an adult.  Is that correct?

Offline Peach

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Re: Health question
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2017, 07:54:00 AM »
Yes i stopped growing suddenly

Offline FigureSpins

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Re: Health question
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2017, 08:17:10 AM »
Check with your doctor.  I've never heard of a particular sport causing those issues.  They usually have a health-related cause, like nutritional deficiency or genetics.
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Offline Query

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Re: Health question
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2017, 01:04:19 PM »
I have no medical training, so don't take these statements as authoritative.


Many nutrition issues can make you short.

  I've met a few elite female figure skaters who were told to malnurish themselves, to delay maturity. I've not met any male figure skaters who were told that.

  Many elite figure skaters are told to underfeed themselves, to keep their weight down - especially female Dance and Pairs skaters, who need to be lifted by their partners.

  A very few female ice dancers and pairs skaters use surgery to lose weight. I don't know what such surgery does to your health.

  Even if they don't deliberately malnurish themselves, many serious athletes feel they are too busy to take the time to eat right, though a good coach might try to correct that.

OTOH, there is a selection factor - being short (like being thin) may help you be a better freestyle skater, though I don't know all the reasons. (But Dance and Pairs males are often tall, so they are strong enough to lift the lady.) I wouldn't be surprised if that is at least big a contributor to the tendency of figure skaters to be short.

(But hockey skaters tend to be big bruisers overall, including somewhat tall, because hockey is a combat sport. Maybe having a little extra reach helps too. So there is a selection factor in hockey AGAINST small people, especially at elite levels.)


But why would skating make you bow-legged?

I suppose it is possible a very cautious newbie skater, who tries to always stay on the inside edges of both skates, might make themselves slightly bow-legged, if they skated A LOT. In addition, beginner skate often are mounted with the blades slightly to the inside, which might create such a posture, to a small extent. A poor skate tech might have mounted your blades that way on even non-beginner skates, which maybe could create such a problem - which is one more reason to argue that you should only use first class skate techs.

Many hockey skaters do deliberately skate on the inside edges of both skates for balance, but very few really good (e.g., NHL) hockey skaters look appreciatively bow-legged.

Of course, skates are not as good as other shoes at correcting bow-leggedness, because you don't have as much surface in contact at one time. (From what I can tell, podiatrists sometimes use "wedge" orthotics in other shoes to correct it a little - but the physics mostly doesn't work in skates.)

But I think a good figure skating coach would try to train out such a postural/gait issue, if it is small enough, because figure skating is an appearance sport. In addition, I wonder if bow-leggedness would interfere with pushing efficiently? And if it would affect your ability to land jumps, without injury to your knees? I used to let my knee bend slightly to the outside, as I landed. A coach made me try to correct that. When I was slow to correct it, it helped create knee pain.

(I bet short and long track speed skating can create other postural problems - because you are almost always leaning far to the left, on both blades.)


Any sport can and likely will cause a variety of physical problems specific to that sport, as can the physical training programs you use to be better at it. Just like not getting into ANY sport or physical activity can cause a variety of physical problems too.


But like I said, I'm not medically trained.


Offline tstop4me

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Re: Health question
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2017, 03:52:02 PM »
Yes i stopped growing suddenly
If your question pertains to your actual state of health (rather than a hypothetical question in general), then I agree with FigureSpins:  see your physician. 

Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: Health question
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2017, 04:40:39 PM »
Yes i stopped growing suddenly

If this is concerning you, you should see your doctor. However, girls stop growing between 11 and 15. It's a wide spread. The bowlegs may be treatable by a doctor if you are young enough.

There are also vitamin deficiencies that can cause bowlegs, and you should see your doctor to get checked out for that.
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Offline Peach

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Re: Health question
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2017, 06:39:35 PM »
I am seeing a dr. Im 12 and 115 lbs. solid muscle and eat very well. Was just curious if anyone heard of such a thing.

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Re: Health question
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2017, 04:22:31 AM »
Im 12 and 115 lbs.

Based on CDC data, that is slightly above average for a 12 year old female.  25% of adult females weigh less.

Can skating cause you to be short or bowlegged?

Being short causes figure skating. 

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Re: Health question
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2017, 04:34:01 AM »
Many elite figure skaters are told to underfeed themselves, to keep their weight down - especially female Dance and Pairs skaters, who need to be lifted by their partners.

But Dance and Pairs males are often tall, so they are strong enough to lift the lady.

This is a myth.  Size difference is not necessary for lifts.  The elite pairs men are strong enough to lift other pairs men.  A trained, elite male athlete is strong enough to lift four normal women.

Removing should be an effective way to improve jumps, though.

Offline FigureSpins

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Re: Health question
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2017, 09:10:30 AM »
Being short causes figure skating.

 :laugh: Small of stature and love figure skating? Count your blessings!
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Offline davincisop

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Re: Health question
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2017, 10:27:57 AM »
Keep in mind, you're 12. You're not done growing. Women have growth spurts into their early 20s.

Several girls at my rink didn't have growth spurts until they hit 15, and then suddenly had to account for a bunch of new height. One has switched to ice dance, because she has long limbs that look beautiful in that discipline, but she's still jumping. But she had to essentially relearn her jumps as a result.

Count your blessings, short in this sport is great. I'm 29, I stopped growing in my mid-teens at 5 feet tall. My whole family is significantly taller than me, but genetically I got a recessive gene, because only one grandma was my height and that skipped my mom and my sister, my dad's side is ALL tall.

Offline tstop4me

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Re: Health question
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2017, 11:29:56 AM »
I am seeing a dr. Im 12 and 115 lbs. solid muscle and eat very well. Was just curious if anyone heard of such a thing.
But how tall are you?

Offline Query

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Re: Health question
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2017, 04:07:16 PM »
They say damaging the "growth plates" at the ends of long bones can make you stop growing, or make you grow in a pathological manner. E.g.,

  https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info//Growth_Plate_Injuries

Perhaps repetitive figure skate jumping can create such injuries? If so, I'm sure it would take a medical exam and tests to determine if it is a factor - it is probably too hard to diagnose yourself.

On the advice of a physician, one of my very short relatives considered HGH (human growth hormone) treatment, when she was young, to get taller. She was also told that it can produce severe side effects. But this is something to take up with a physician who specializes in sports medicine, not with random advice from the Internet.

But hormone treatments could disqualify you from athletic competitions, including figure skating. (I'm not sure if it can be allowed if ruled medically necessary by the appropriate figure skating organization.)

You CAN possibly determine yourself if over-cautious avoidance of outside edges, or poor blade placement on your skates, tends to FORCE you into a bow-legged position. That may not be something most doctors are trained to see or understand. You basically have to FEEL these things within your body, though sometimes a coach can help figure that out.

And there are exercises which might help.

But beyond that, if you have become bow-legged, it makes much more sense to consult with a doctor, who can look and test to see if causative injuries exist, and determine if surgery or physical therapy can help, than to ask us.

I know many people hate seeing doctors, and they are expensive if the exam isn't covered by insurance, but sometimes they can help. If you are seriously concerned about this, I hope you see one.

P.S. If you have religious objections to seeing doctors, I mean no harm by suggesting it.

Offline RinkGuard

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Re: Health question
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2017, 05:45:39 PM »
I'd like to remind all the well meaning posters that the OP is a child. None of us are her physicians and other than to encourage her to see her doctor, or to discuss the issue with her parents  we shouldn't discuss this further or ask her any personal information.

FigureSpins has answered her question that skating won't make her growth stop.

I think now is a good point to close it down.

Offline Leif

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Re: Health question
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2017, 04:17:52 AM »
A bit off topic, however:

(But hockey skaters tend to be big bruisers overall, including somewhat tall, because hockey is a combat sport. Maybe having a little extra reach helps too. So there is a selection factor in hockey AGAINST small people, especially at elite levels.)

I would argue that hockey is not a combat sport and that it is a game of considerable skill, although there is some aggression in the contact versions. Watch Sidney Crosby play and you will see what I mean. As to size, I have no data but from looking at recreational hockey some of the best players I have seen are actually fairly small, and some might be called weedy. But they are highly skilled skaters and stick handlers, who can skate the socks off the opposition. All of the coaches that I have come across have been lean, not obviously muscular, and range in height from small to average. Of course there will be some players that are chosen because they are big and can flatten opponants. I know one chap who is big, and despite limited skating ability he was asked to join a rec. team and my guess is that his size was a key reason. But you can't have all big lads. And in fact a lot of the players in the rec games I attend are women, and very good they are too. I recall making a few passes to one particular lass (woman) and on each occasion she'd scoot off to the other end of the rink and take a shot at the goal, very good play indeed. As I say, I have no proper data, just my observations here in the UK. Are you perhaps thinking of sumo wrestling? The two are easily confused.  :)

Offline tstop4me

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Re: Health question
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2017, 06:45:34 AM »
A bit off topic, however:

I would argue that hockey is not a combat sport and that it is a game of considerable skill, although there is some aggression in the contact versions. Watch Sidney Crosby play and you will see what I mean. As to size, I have no data but from looking at recreational hockey some of the best players I have seen are actually fairly small, and some might be called weedy. But they are highly skilled skaters and stick handlers, who can skate the socks off the opposition. All of the coaches that I have come across have been lean, not obviously muscular, and range in height from small to average. Of course there will be some players that are chosen because they are big and can flatten opponants. I know one chap who is big, and despite limited skating ability he was asked to join a rec. team and my guess is that his size was a key reason. But you can't have all big lads. And in fact a lot of the players in the rec games I attend are women, and very good they are too. I recall making a few passes to one particular lass (woman) and on each occasion she'd scoot off to the other end of the rink and take a shot at the goal, very good play indeed. As I say, I have no proper data, just my observations here in the UK. Are you perhaps thinking of sumo wrestling? The two are easily confused.  :)
Ah, but your sampling population is rec teams, and that's far different from the NHL, Olympic, or NCAA teams [that's like making conclusions about figure skaters by observing a public session].  There have been many studies of the potential effect of intensive sports on growth in children, and many are flawed from improper statistical sampling and analysis ... with some concluding that gymnastics stunts the growth of young girls, and basketball enhances the growth of young girls.   ;)

Offline Leif

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Re: Health question
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2017, 07:27:36 AM »
Ah, but your sampling population is rec teams, and that's far different from the NHL, Olympic, or NCAA teams [that's like making conclusions about figure skaters by observing a public session].  There have been many studies of the potential effect of intensive sports on growth in children, and many are flawed from improper statistical sampling and analysis ... with some concluding that gymnastics stunts the growth of young girls, and basketball enhances the growth of young girls.   ;)

From this link:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/516389-body-characteristics-of-hockey-players/

Quote: "There is no one defined body type for forwards. Players with a more muscular physique are better able to take a hit and keep on going, but smaller and faster players have been among the most successful players in the game's history. "

Goalies do tend to be big, even the women, but that is so they block more of the goal!!!!

Query referred to hockey players in general, not professional hockey players. I do think it worth commenting on his statement, because it might turn people off hockey when in fact lighter and thinner types such as me can successfully participate as long as they have enthusiasm, endurance and skating ability. Despite being 54 I have more energy than many of the lads half my age. And I can steal the puck from the big chaps too.

Also have a watch of hockey training sessions on YouTube, you might realise that it is not a bunch of thugs having a fight, though sadly that does happen during games. There is an awful lot of athleticism and skill involved, as there is of course in figure skating. ;D

I read that running leads to stronger leg bones. I used to do long distance running for 30 years. It might be that skating has a similar effect, though I have no evidence, just a guess.

Anway, I made no comment on growth as I don't know. I do think giving a child a poor diet to enhance their performance is wicked though.

Offline Query

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Re: Health question
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2017, 05:24:35 PM »
I admit that a lot of my impression of hockey is from watching a few televised NHL and Olympic games. I suppose those players are indeed no more typical of your average hockey player than Olympic figure skaters are typical of the general class of figure and public skaters.

But I constantly see recreational hockey players, figure skaters, and public skaters at the rink where I work.

It is absolutely correct that not all the little hockey kids are huge or super-strong, though you rarely see ones who are tiny for their age. Some are just very athletic, and a lot of the kids, for some reason, are extremely hyperactive. But by the time you get to the adult leagues, especially the more advanced ones ones where "checking" contact is allowed, almost all the males are large and beefy. Even the ladies tend to be kind of scrappy, though they don't tend to be nearly as large and strong-looking as the males. (A lot of the adult hockey leagues here are coed.)

In addition, there are a fair number of injuries here as a result of non-cooperative physical contact with other hockey players. It seems obvious that being larger and stronger than your competitors will tend to reduce the frequency and seriousness of those injuries in hockey.

There are a fair number of figure skating and public skating injuries here too - but I think most of those aren't caused by contact with other skaters - though I haven't tried to keep statistical records. That means that being larger and stronger than your peers and competitors isn't as important to injury avoidance in figure and public skating. An astonishing number of figure and public skating injuries here are from falls - for which being tall would presumably be something of a disadvantage, because there is a greater distance to fall, though I haven't confirmed that assumption. I also see some jump landing injuries among figure skaters; I'm not sure how being large and tall affects the likelihood of such injuries. I would assume that being overweight isn't good from a figure skating injury perspective, but maybe being ultra-light, from deliberate malnutrition, isn't so great either; I don't attend freestyle sessions, and never attended many, so am not sure. In truth, jump landing falls are a lot less common here.

It is certainly my impression that many kids who are small and thin are often encouraged to enter activities like figure skating, gymnastics, and some forms of dance, because it is thought that they can do well there. A lot of the best little figure skating kids here do all of those. AFAICT, a lot of big beefy male kids are likewise encouraged to enter activities like football and hockey. In fact there is a lot of overlap between adult males who have played both football and hockey, based on conversations I have had with some of the hockey players. I don't know how much of that is physical, and how much is attitude.

So, while those stereotypes aren't universal, they aren't atypical either. I think it makes sense to choose your sports based on your body.

I have seen a much greater range of physical types among kayakers, both recreational and elite. Backpackers too, though I never knew much of the elite competitive crowd there.

P.S. I see no obvious dominant physical types among the public skaters, except for those who also figure skate or play hockey. And there actually is some overlap here between figure skaters and hockey players, so it is obvious the stereotypes can't be completely accurate. Also, this is just one rink. There was a time when we produced some elite competitive figure skaters, but at this time we generally don't produce the best figure or hockey skaters.

But the main original question: because of the selection factor, I don't think it would be easy to prove or disprove that figure skating makes you short. But I see absolutely no tendency for many skaters here to be obviously bow-legged. It would be interesting to know whether all the extra gear that goalies wear could do that - they do walk funny with the gear - maybe even a little bow-legged. But I haven't noticed it after they take the gear off.

Offline Leif

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Re: Health question
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2017, 03:48:37 AM »
Query: Very interesting, whether this is a UK vs USA difference, or just our rinks, who knows. But interesting to hear your viewpoint.

When we knock each other over, we check that the other person is okay, and apologize, before carrying on. One lad does tend to skate into others and he is disliked by many. I guess this is because we play non contact and we are there to have fun and meet people. Not unlike many figure skaters I guess.

I think age influences injuries too, kiddies seem to fall over with impunity, maybe they are more rubbery, or just less tense. The injuries I've seen have almost all been casual skaters, the ones wearing 'death wellies' as someone once called them. A friend fell during ice hockey and landed on his jaw, causing injury, but I'd say it was his fault for not wearing a full face cage.