When practicing sports (not just extreme sports, but any kind of sports), it is fundamentally important to be informed on how to prevent and take care of injuries. Especially with a sport like skateboarding, it is possible to sustain some serious damage if you don’t protect yourself properly and if you are not aware of the measures to take before and after an injury.
Let’s see how you can avoid skateboarding injuries and how you can take care of them so you can make a quick and full recovery.
Do Not Skip the Protective Gear
First and foremost, you need to worry about protection. No matter how geeky protective gear is, it is non-negotiable. Have you ever seen that TV show, Scarred? You can find it online for free. It can give you a lot of insight into what happens when you skate without protection. The majority of serious injuries sustained while skateboarding happen because the person was not wearing their proper protective gear.
Full protective gear includes the helmet, but also things like elbow pads and knee pads, as well as gloves and wrist guards. Wrists are especially vulnerable and delicate, so if you’re missing the proactive equipment, you can find yourself sustaining some serious damage.
In order for protective equipment to work as intended, it must fit properly and comfortably. If your helmet or other proactive gear is uncomfortable (whether that means too tight or too loose), then it can do more harm than good. Protective gear (especially helmets) must be replaced regularly, according to manufacturer guidelines.
Here are some guidelines on how the helmet should fit:
- It must feature straps on either side of each ear
- Must fit flat on the head
- Must buckle tightly around your chin. If there is room for more than two fingers under the strap, it is too loose
- Must protect most of your forehead and sit two fingers’ width above your eyebrows
- Must not impair your vision or hearing
- Must include pads
Another important aspect to take into account are the shoes you wear. You can skate in normal sneakers, but skate shoes are specifically created to offer protection, support, and the necessary grip.
Before You Learn How to Skate, You Need to Learn How to Fall
Consider something most people don’t realize you’re going to fall, and a lot. Especially when you’re just starting out and still learning, falling is inevitable. The problems occur when one does not know how to fall correctly. Yes, there is a right way to fall.
There are certain techniques you can learn in order to fall safely. It’s all about avoiding putting pressure or strain on certain body parts that cannot sustain the weight of your entire body, such as your wrists. When you fall safely, you avoid very serious injuries.
Falling, just like skating, takes practice. When you feel like you are about to fall due to loss of balance, crouch. That will reduce the distance from the ground, making your fall shorter and less serious.
If you can, avoid falling on your arms, and instead, fall on your behind, or another fleshy body part. This takes a lot of practice but try to fall relaxed. The more tense you are, the higher the chance of injury.
You Need to Stretch Before Physical Exercise
Any kind of physical exercise requires some stretching beforehand, so why would skateboarding be different? Professionals do not hit the pavement without stretching, first, so start emulating their habits.
You’ll also want to either start an exercise routine or change up the one you currently have in order to benefit your skating. Weight training can really help strengthen your calf muscles, core muscles, and leg muscles. Those are the main areas you are using and straining while skating.
Make Sure Your Skateboard is in Tiptop Shape
If you haven’t done this before, you may not be aware of the fact that you need a different type of skateboard, depending on what you do – speed? Are you into freestyling? Do you want to learn slaloming? Your weight also matters when choosing the ideal skateboard.
When you’re just starting out, you’ll want to look for a board with a short deck, as it will make it easier to handle. You also want to make sure that the skateboard you’re using is in perfect shape. The wheels should not be cracked, the board should not be sharp, slippery, or cracked.
If you notice that your board is damaged, take it in for a professional to repair or replace the broken parts.
Be Mindful of the Terrain & Environment
Where you ride also comes into play when it comes to avoiding injuries. Designated skateparks are the ideal spaces, but if you don’t have access to one, you’ll have to find a place that puts you at lower risk.
For example, you want to avoid terrain that is irregular (that includes pebbles, debris, cracks, etc.), that has obstacles, that isn’t smooth, that is wet, and that is heavily circulated by people, vehicles, or even bikes. It goes without saying that skating in traffic is a no-no.
If you’re a beginner, there are areas of dedicated skateparks that you still need to avoid, such as ramps and bowls, as they exceed your skill level. DIY ramps are to be avoided, as well.
Be Aware of the Most Common Injuries
In order to avoid and prevent injuries, you also need to know what the most common injuries are. The majority of injuries occur because of loss of balance and the subsequent falling off the skateboard.
Most people instinctively outstretch their arms and land on them hard, thus sustaining damage to their wrists. The face (broken jawbone or nose) and ankles (sprains, fractures) are also oftentimes impacted. Lesser injuries include bruises, cuts, and strains all over the body. Serious injuries include various head impacts and concussions.
How to take care of injuries?
What if you are injured? What is the right protocol? No matter how lightly you think you’ve injured yourself, the right course of action is to seek medical attention. There may be injuries and damage that you cannot see or sense in the moment, so it’s always best to see a professional.
Healing time is also essential. Even if you think you feel alright, you can’t jump back on the skateboard. You need to allow your body some time to recuperate. That means taking a break from skating, but also from strenuous activities, in general.
Skateboarding is an awesome sport and a lot of fun at various ages. However, it can also be a dangerous activity, especially if one is not properly trained and equipped for it. Skateboarding injuries range from cuts, scrapes and bruises to broken bones and concussions, so it’s best to learn how to avoid them.
Avoiding injuries has just as much to do with protective gear as it does with learning how to skate, where, in what environments, and how to fall correctly. Injuries will happen regardless, but it’s important to be aware of how to avoid the most severe ones and how to take care of any damage that may occur as a result of a nasty fall.