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Pediatric and Adolescent Figure Skating Injuries

A 15-Year Retrospective Review

Kowalczyk, Agnieszka D. MD*,†,‡; Geminiani, Ellen T. MD*,†,‡; Dahlberg, Bridget W. MPH*,†; Micheli, Lyle J. MD*,†,‡; Sugimoto, Dai PhD*,†,‡

doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000743
Original Research: PDF Only

Objective: To analyze the characteristics of injuries sustained by young figure skaters who were evaluated at regional pediatric sports medicine clinics.

Design: Retrospective chart review (2003-2017).

Setting: Sports medicine clinics at a tertiary-level pediatric medical center.

Patients: Two hundred ninety-four figure skaters (271 female and 23 male). Age rage: 9 to 19 years. Mean age: 14.2 ± 2.3 years.

Interventions: None.

Main Outcome Measures: Mechanism of injury (acute vs overuse), injured body areas, diagnoses for most commonly injured body areas, and distribution of bone stress injuries.

Results: Eight hundred sixty-four figure skating–related injuries were identified. Approximately 68.9% were overuse and 31.1% were acute. In female figure skaters, the most frequently injured body areas were foot/ankle (29.6%), knee (19.3%), and back (15.8%). In male figure skaters, they were foot/ankle (25.4%), hip (16.4%), and knee (14.9%). Most common diagnoses at these body areas were tendinopathy (foot/ankle), extensor mechanism (knee), and posterior column bone stress injuries (back). All injuries to anterior knee structures, excluding bone contusions, were categorized as extensor mechanism injuries. About 11.8% of all injuries were bone stress reactions/fractures with the majority occurring at the back (42.2%), foot/ankle (32.4%), and lower leg (15.7%).

Conclusion: Most injuries sustained by figure skaters were overuse and occurred most commonly at the foot/ankle (29.6%), knee (19.3%), and back (15.8%). Approximately 1 in 10 injuries were bone stress reactions/fractures, and nearly 1 in every 3 skaters who presented with back pain was diagnosed with a posterior column bone stress injury. Health care providers who take care of young figure skaters need to maintain a high index of suspicion for overuse injuries, especially bone stress reactions/fractures.

*The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention, Waltham, Massachusetts;

Division of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopedics, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; and

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Corresponding Author: Agnieszka Kowalczyk, MD, The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention, 9 Hope Ave, Suite 100, Waltham, MA 02453 (

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received September 25, 2018

Accepted February 09, 2019

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