Over the last several years inline skating has seen a surge in popularity. In fact, since 2007 more than 17 million Americans have participated in this wonderful sport. Like all sports, though, injuries can often happen. Since 2007 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported that more than 61,000 people have been treated for inline skating related injuries.

Some of the most common injuries that occur when inline skating are fractures and sprains. Making up 37 percent of all inline skating injuries is a wrist injury, of which two-thirds are wrist fractures. Head injuries make up 5 percent of inline skating injuries. These injuries occur most frequently due to people falling without wearing the proper protection. Another common injury, if you want to call it an injury, would be blisters. Blisters usually occur from not having the proper sized skates on or maybe having your skates too tight or too loose or even skating for long periods of time.

But you shouldn’t be deterred from inline skating.

Now that we got that information out of the way on how and why injuries occur let’s take a look at the way we can go about trying to prevent these injuries from taking place. First off, let’s just agree that even taking some of these preventative measures the possibility of injury is still there. As we stated earlier the biggest injuries come from falling. For beginner skaters it’s suggested that you take a lesson. These lessons will teach you the proper steps for stopping as well as keeping your balance and speed control. If you are a new skater I would highly recommend skating in safe areas, specifically avoiding places with lots of traffic, hills, uneven surfaces and other road hazards. The best place to skate when starting would be to go to a local park or area where you know there won’t be tons of traffic (car traffic and people traffic) and also will have smooth surfaces which will be ideal for learning how to skate on.

Yes, taking a lesson would be a good place to start, but in my opinion the #1 way to help prevent an inline skating injury would be to have the proper protective equipment on when you are skating, especially as a beginner. A helmet, wrist guards and knee and elbow pads are essential when inline skating. Studies have shown that when wearing wrist guards, wrist injuries will decrease by 87 percent. If you do happen to fall its best to fall forward to avoid a head injury and when you fall forward you land on your hands, hence your wrists will be in tremendous amounts of pain.

When wearing elbow pads your elbow injuries decrease by 82 percent and wearing knee pads will decrease knee related injuries by 32 percent. Head injuries are not that common but it is still advised for you to be wearing a helmet.

Blisters are a common injury. The best ways to avoid getting blisters are to make sure you have the proper size and proper fitting skates on. When looking for the right boot make sure it doesn’t cause any pressure on the top of the foot, most blisters come from the boot putting too much pressure on your foot. Make sure you are also wearing proper socks. Inline skating specific socks are made with a variety of materials anda simple Google search will provide you places to purchase said socks. Also when putting your skates on, kick your feet to the back of the boot before you lace, buckle or Boa your skates up – this will help make sure the heel will stay in place when skating.

A less common skating injury but one that can still occur nonetheless are muscle pulls. Before you even get your pads and skates on it is best to do some stretching. You don’t need to stretch for 20 minutes. Simply take a few minutes and stretch your muscles out to get them warmed up for skating.

You can also avoid injury by skating in less crowded areas. Skating around your neighborhood once you advance your skill set is great as your neighborhood streets won’t usually be crowded. Also if you are at a skate park on a busy day make sure you pay attention to your surroundings. Don’t try flying through people, skate at your proper pace and if you do need to pass someone then pass appropriately so neither one of you gets injured.

Hopefully this information was useful. Now strap on your pads and skates and start rolling with the rest of America.