This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Editor’s note: In each issue of SKATING magazine, one of the country’s top skate technicians will provide their expertise on skating boots, blades and related industry equipment.

Causes, prevention of some common injuries Injuries can be acute, chronic or acute-on-chron-


ic. Acute injuries are those that happen suddenly: trip- ping over the toe pick and falling, or landing wrong on a jump. Chronic injuries can be unrelated to any specific incident, although they may start out as an acute occurrence. Chronic injuries don’t go away, and they usually worsen as time goes on, ending up in the category of overuse injuries, which account for most long-term injuries to figure skaters. Overuse injuries happen when a skater consis-

tently works hard, is aggressive and persistent in train- ing, and aggravates the same area of the body, usually joints or muscles, over and over. The fact that most skaters have young, growing bodies only adds to the problem. Osgood-Schlatter’s Osgood-Schlatter’s is one of the most common

injuries among young teenage skaters in the midst of a growth spurt, and may continue on and off until the skater is done growing. It is characterized by pain, swelling and tenderness just below the knee, over the shin bone. The notorious bump under the knee is a dead giveaway for Osgood-Schlatter’s. This injury usually becomes more noticeable

during activities such as jumping, running and going up and down stairs. A reduction in the amount of time spent practicing jumps, sit spins and moves requiring deep knee bends — such as dance moves or jump landings — will help prevent Osgood Schlatter’s. Achilles tendinitis Sudden starts, stops and repetitive jumping in-

crease the risk for Achilles tendinitis. The swelling of the Achilles tendon is occasionally caused by an im- properly fitted boot or by forcibly pushing and pulling

the heel in and out of the boot. If too much force is applied, the Achilles tendon eventually be- comes irritated, causing inflammation. Persistent Achilles problems often have a biomechanical origin. Excessive pro- nation and supination can both be factors. Achilles tendinitis may also occur when practicing off-ice exercises, such as box jumping, jumping rope and jumps. In rare cases it may result from improper use of off-ice conditioning equipment. Plantar fasciitis Misalignment caused by abnormalities in the

structure of the feet or poorly fitted boots can lead to plantar fasciitis. Other causes include repetitive jump- ing and running, and boots that do not fit correctly, in- cluding off-ice gym shoes, flip-flops and winter boots. John Harmata, aka Mr. Edge, is a former X-ray

technologist. He has serviced figure skaters for near- ly four decades. Applying his medical and scientific training to his business practices, John discovered a more accurate way to fit boots and mount and sharpen blades. In the fall of 2000, a member of U.S. Figure Skating heard about John’s work and asked if he would be interested in contributing an article to SKATING magazine. John’s “Ask Mr. Edge” column was featured in SKATING for more than 10 years. In 2012, John released his first book; titled Anatomy of a Figure Skating Injury. He is working on revising and updating that book, with plans to release it this year.

product spotlight: John Wilson blades

Editor’s note: In each issue of SKATING magazine, a skating equipment manufacturer will profile one of its products. This is not an endorsement from U.S. Figure Skating or SKATING magazine.

John Wilson blades has been perfecting and

crafting the art of blade technology for World and Olympic champions longer than anyone. Over the last two years, we have seen our athletes ascend to new heights. The observer with an untrained eye will ask, “How is this possible?” The Revolution technology is unlike any other

lightweight blade in the industry, and John Wilson is the only company that offers the true Pattern 99 and Gold Seal features. Composed of 100 percent unidi- rectional fibers, which are compression molded with a thermosetting resin, these blades deliver incredible strength and unprecedented performance. The unique cantilever shape, which has become

so popular with the world’s elite skaters, has led to re- ports of a “feel” unlike any other lightweight offering. Adam Rippon stated: “There is a quality to the run of

a Wilson blade and a softness that helps me feel my best while performing.” This re- sponsiveness allows the skater to give the impulsion of a jump and the certainty of a forgiving landing. The technology has changed the way the world thinks about figure skating blades and the manner in which equipment can define and enhance a skater’s aesthetic. Additionally, the resin we use in the carbon fiber acts as a thermal barrier that protects the feet from the cold transference felt through other blades. If you want a smoother, more responsive skating experience, you need to join the Revolution.

ask the expert



Q: How many sharpenings can one expect in a blade?

Greta, 13, Las Vegas, Nevada

The short answer is probably 10 to 16 times. The primary controlling factor, relating to blade life, is how much metal is removed from your blades each time they are sharpened. Blades that get nicked a lot or become rusty between sharpenings need to have more metal removed than blades that don’t. A skate technician who gets the edge you like in six or seven passes will allow you more sharp- enings than someone who needs 10 or 12 passes to achieve the same feeling. Both how well you take care of your blades and the skill of your skate technician play a role in how many sharpen- ings you can expect in your blade.


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