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Author Topic: Training/Practice after stress fracture recovery?  (Read 190 times)

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Offline SCS8

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Training/Practice after stress fracture recovery?
« on: December 21, 2017, 08:50:38 PM »
I skated recreationally up to Freestyle 1 when I was younger, and recently (8 years later) got back onto the ice. I had been skating for 3 months, twice a week for about 4 hours a week and re-learned my LTS skills and waltz jump, salchow, and toe loop. I guess I was over-doing it on the practicing because I developed a possible stress fracture on the fibula of my landing foot, and have been off the ice for 3 weeks now. I'm probably going to take another month to let it heal completely, but want to transition back into it correctly.

Any other skaters out there who have advice on how to avoid injuries or how to healthily transition back into skating after a long break? Cross training, PT, or certain amount of practice time per session? How much is "too much" practice for a session?

Online nicklaszlo

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Re: Training/Practice after stress fracture recovery?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2017, 09:26:54 PM »
When I thought I had a stress fracture, I did some research into this.  It is very rare for figure skating to cause stress fractures.  When figure skaters get stress fractures, usually it happens to elite skaters during the off season.  The cause is too much cross training (they run too far, too suddenly).

In my case it turned out I had a capsule injury.  Your situation is probably different.

If you get a stress fracture from 4 hours/week training in any sport, you should consider if there's a second cause, like diet or low bone density. 

I think going from zero to 4 hours/week suddenly is totally reasonable.

Offline Query

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Re: Training/Practice after stress fracture recovery?
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2017, 12:07:30 AM »
Let me start by saying I have no medical training.

I fractured a Fibula too, during a skating fall.

It was a very slow fall, that shouldn't have broken anything. I eventually decided it was because I fought the fall too hard. I.E., the muscle tension used to fight the fall did the actual damage, before I actually hit the ice. And/Or maybe I responded to the fall by getting very stiff, which makes one more likely to break something. Now I relax when I fall.

It is possible that you are a bit nervous, and are too stiff. But there are so many different ways to hurt yourself, that might not apply.

As best I understand it, the Fibula is not the main weight bearing bone of the lower leg. Instead, it takes on little torques, to create twisting forces. If that is correct, if your alignment is right, it accepts very little force. So it is conceivable your weight and leg weren't aligned correctly. e.g., says
What causes fibula fracture?
extreme inversion or eversion of leg

I am not as fancy a jumper as you. But I know I have had trouble landing jumps in part because I sometimes let the knee bend a bit to the outside as I land - which I guess would be an example of poor alignment. A coach pointed the mis-alignment out to me - so it is possible a coach might help you too.

But once again, there are so many different ways to hurt yourself, that might not apply either.

As to how to heal efficiently. I don't know. After my injury the doctor wrapped my leg in a rigid cast for 6 months, and I couldn't do much of anything athletic. I wondered whether he wrapped it that way to make sure I wouldn't try to do anything athletic. :) After the 6 months was over I was so weak I needed PT. I suspect that wasn't optimal, but I don't have medical training. It took me 12 months to get back to skating, though that was partly psychological, and only after I had well over 1000 hours of gentle fall practice, to make sure that particular injury wouldn't happen again.

I do know that I feel a lot better after exercise in general if I soak immediately afterwards in a hot tub. :) If I don't, I sometimes feel sore the next day. A trainer at a local gym tried to convince me I should alternate the hot tub soak with a cold soak - which sequence is what a lot of books say to do (many go so far as to recommend ice water - Brrr), to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is said to slow the healing process. But the whole idea of soaking in cold water doesn't appeal to me, at all. I choose to believe the hot tub soak is enough.

Maybe you just tried to get into jumping again too much too fast. They say that you can gradually build up the strength of your bones - but that it takes a lot more time to strengthen bones than to strengthen muscle.

Can you find yourself a good physical trainer who can help? I don't mean someone who has taken a 20-40 hour certification course, after which he/she can go to some place like Planet Fitness, and work as a trainer. I mean someone who has a related college degree, like an APT and/or PT.

I found a trainer near me, after a recent hernia, that I am using. He only has a community college degree - in "medical exercise therapy" - but he comes very well recommended, and has a lot of experience, including working with a lot of gymnastics and swimming coaches. (He has a nice letter of appreciation from Gabby Douglas.) One of the things he is telling me is to avoid weight training, or anything extreme, until I increase my cardio endurance, and to do body weight ab exercises. Of course that is somewhat specific to hernias, which often occur during weight training when one's abs aren't strong enough to hold the muscles and organs inside the abdominal wall - NOT YOUR PROBLEM - but he seems to think it is a good way to avoid injuries in general. He thinks that a lot of people, especially guys, go directly into strength training, without making sure the rest of the body is ready to take it. He believes you should start out any strength training doing a lot of reps, but with very little weight. Jumping IS strength training, especially if you push yourself to your limits. He has me working on an elliptical machine, doing sit-ups, leg raises, stretches, and leg presses (only pressing 10 pounds, with a lot of reps, whereas, before I got the hernia, and leading up to it, I was trying to press close to my strength limits, and was also doing other things up to my strength limits). The idea is to build up muscle, cardio and aerobic endurance, core strength, and bone strength, and only when they are quite good, to start pushing muscle strength to its limits. I figure it is worth a try, because I hate getting hurt.

Anyway, good luck!