Happy, Healthy Skating


Skating on the canal can be fun and is a must do for visitors to Ottawa, but anyone who’s been out there knows you have to watch what you’re doing. 

Choppy ice means falls are likely, and breaking your fall with your arm outstretched increases the potential for hand and wrist injuries.  Wrist guards can be helpful to prevent injuries, but sprained wrists are still common - especially when falling backwards on your hand. If you sprain your wrist, you may experience some pain, your range of motion may be decreased, and some swelling may be present.  Follow the PRICE principle for acute care – protect, rest, ice, compress and elevate your wrist.  If your wrist doesn’t feel better after a couple of days, or if there is any bruising or the swelling persists, make sure to have it checked by a healthcare professional.  It’s possible to have small fractures that disguise themselves as sprains.

Head injuries can be quite serious.  While wearing a helmet will help to protect you or your child’s head from injury, concussions are still possible.  If you or your child knocks their head on the ice and experience any one of the following: a period of unconsciousness, dizziness, blurred vision, confusion, forgetfulness, or feel like you’ve had your “bell rung”, you should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.  If necessary, have someone drive you to your evaluation.  If concussions are left untreated, symptoms can persist long after the injury and can be difficult to recover from. 

General aches and pains in the ankles, knees or hips from ill-fitting skates, or from using muscles you haven’t used in a long time often resolve quickly on their own.  If pain lasts for more than a couple of days, it’s best to get it checked out.  Chiropractors can be valuable resources to evaluate and manage any of the conditions mentioned here. 

If you’re not sure whether something requires the attention of a healthcare professional, remember the rule - When in doubt, get it checked out!