Roller skating is a great way to exercise and enjoy yourself at the same time. There has been some concern about the dangers of roller skating though.
Whether you are a parent concerned about your child’s safety while roller skating or an adult worried about the injuries, this article is going to be helpful for both and is going to answer all your questions.
This article will share some important information with you that debunks common myths around roller skating safety and will talk about some injuries you may get and then will compare it with other sports.
At the end I am going to share with you some best practices to ensure your safety when roller skating or even going ice skating.
Many injuries are caused by roller skating but most are not that critical and you will be safe from most of these injuries by wearing complete protective guards. Hence, It is safe to roller skate but it can be dangerous if we don’t take precautions.
Dangers & Common Injuries Of Roller Skating
There can be many dangers and injuries of roller skating, a mile-long list would still not be sufficient. But, below I am going to talk about some basic and most common injuries, pains, and some problems caused by roller skating.
In roller skating, you can hurt yourself in a large variety of ways. Most common way to get injured is falling and basically you can’t learn skating without falling so you have to be prepared of these injuries.
Wrist Injury And Sprains (Fracture)
The wrist injury is the most common injury roller skaters get usually when they lose their balance and fall and then extending their hands to stop or control the falling.
This makes the wrist to be the first body part hitting the ground causing it to get injured.
A sprain is graded on how severely the involved ligament is stretched or torn. This grade is based on a scale of 1.0 to 3.0 (1 being the least severe, but still likely to cause pain and swelling, 3 being considered severe, and most likely to involve other structures in the wrist).
Severe sprains or grade 3 sprains may require surgery to recover the ligaments. You should always consult a doctor when your wrist pains a lot as it could be a fracture as well. (The chances of fracture are less but people get fractured while roller skating much time)
Although, you can prevent this injury easily by wearing wrist guards when skating. This will not completely make you protected, you are still going to feel some pain but it is going to be very less comparatively. It will absorb 90% of the damage.
Contusions Or Bruises
A contusion is an injury to the soft tissues of the body that occurs when a direct force is applied to the area. If you fall while roller skating, the force of the impact can cause a contusion.
A lot of bruises are on the surface or under the skin, but any blow to the body can bruise bones and sometimes internal organs.
Contusions occur mostly on the knees and elbows of roller skaters. So, consider wearing knee and elbow pads all the time.
Dragging Of Elbow, Hand, And Knee
Every person would fall while doing roller skating (even an expert would fall but less often).
And most injuries are caused by falling in roller skating. When you fall on the front while roller skating, you fall on your knees and hand.
This makes your knee and handgrip on the floor and it drags forwards causing severe pain. It really hurts a lot. I have been through this many times in my life while roller skating.
Although, it is not a very severe injury still it hurts a lot.
Bashing Your Head On Ground
Another injury due to falling. This injury can get severe if you hit really hard. If you fall forwards, you may end up losing 1-2 teeth of yours, you may get this injury even when you fall backward.
You should consult a doctor immediately if it bleeds or hurts a lot even after an hour.
Blisters are a very common problem of roller skaters. Blisters occur due to friction to the skin. This also happens due to ill-fitting skates. If you have very tight skates, then you are going to be highly prone to this.
It also happens when you do roller skating without wearing socks or when you wear thin socks. So, always wear thick socks while roller skating to prevent this.
Blisters get cured after a few days so there is actually nothing to fear about.
Aching in the feet is very common and occurs usually when you skate too much consistently. A good rest is needed when you have sore feet.
Pain In Butt
This is another very common injury, this happens usually when you fall backward harshly. Although, this pain would get fine usually after a few minutes this is something that happens so often.
Once, I fall on my butt so hard and it felt like I will not be able to walk for many weeks but the pain went away within 3-4 days.
New roller skaters skating outdoors are more prone to car accidents as they don’t have proper knowledge of roller skating. While this may happen to pro skaters as well if they ignored their surroundings.
Many precautions should be taken while roller skating outdoors especially on a busy road. You should stay attentive all the time. I have written a complete article on this topic, you can check it out by clicking here.
You should never roller skate outdoors when you are a complete newbie to roller skating. This can be very dangerous.
Has Anyone Died Of Roller Skating?
Injuries from roller skating are very common but death is extremely rare. No one has died doing roller skating since 1999 when a 66-year-old man fell and hit his head.
Is Roller Skating Safe For Kids?
Although there are many injuries caused by roller skating it is still safe for kids above 5 until and unless they wear proper protective guards. It is recommended for kids to roller skate indoors because most severe injuries are caused while skating outdoors.
It is completely fine and safe if you’re planning to send your child to a skating academy.
Roller Skating Vs Skateboarding – What’s More Dangerous?
According to Injury Severity Score, In comparison to roller skates, Injuries caused by skateboarding is 8 times more likely to be critical. This can be because roller skates have in-built brakes in them while skateboards don’t make them harder to stop and also there are many dangerous tricks of skateboards causing injuries.
You can read more about this report here – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9790608/
Roller Skating vs Rollerblading – What’s More Dangerous?
According to Injury Severity Score, In comparison to roller skating, injuries caused by inline skating are 2 times more likely to be severe. Hence, we can conclude that inline skating (rollerblading) is more dangerous and can cause more severe injuries than roller skating.
Comparing Dangers OF Roller Skating With Other Sports
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission did a study in 2001 comparing the possibility of injuries per 1000 people across numerous sports including roller skating and they found that.
(You can see the report here: https://www.cpsc.gov/Research–Statistics/Injury-Statistics )
3.4 people out of 1000 people have reported the critical situation and required hospitalization. The same number for cycling was 4.1 / 1000, for soccer it was 8.6 / 1000, for basketball it was 8.8.
Hence we can conclude from this study that, roller skating is far safer than other ball sports like soccer and basketball.
And it is also safer than cycling, and I am sure that you would also have bicycled one day. So, we can say roller skating is safer than cycling or biking.
Indoor Skating Vs Outdoor Skating – What’s More Safer?
Indoor skating is considered safer than outdoor skating as most severe injuries caused by roller-skating were caused outside on the road which has rough surfaces, pebbles, small stones, and ongoing traffic making skating outdoor on road to be more dangerous than skating indoors.
How to Stay Safe While Roller Skating
Although most injuries caused by roller skating are not that critical but still all the injuries caused by it are extremely painful. Here are some tips for you so that you can avoid this pain and have fun with your roller skates.
Wear Complete Protective Gear
CPSC estimated that wearing wrist guards alone can prevent 33.33% of severe injuries caused by roller skating. This shows how much important wearing protective gear is.
Well, this doesn’t mean that you should only wear wrist guards, every protective gear is important. Below are all the protective gears you should be wearing when you roller skate.
The helmet is yet the most important protective gear for roller skating as the head of any person is the most vulnerable body part. So, regardless of skill, you should always be wearing a helmet.
Roller skating helmet is mostly of two types:-
Dome Skate Helmets
They are shaped like a dome as the name suggests. They are multisports helmets and can be used for many different sports as well. They provide basic protection and will work just fine for roller skating.
There is a large variety of color options in dome helmets, you can choose any helmet based on your color choice as there are basically no quality differences in most of them.
You can find them on Amazon.
They are light in weight, look really cool, and provides a little more protection than dome helmets. Some customization is done to these helmets to improve the performance of skating.
Dome skate helmets might feel uncomfortable sometimes and may reduce the speed of your skating. So, Performance helmets are great for pros and speed skaters who want to boost their speed.
Here’s a link to the best performance helmet, it weights only 0.63 pounds (285 gram) while most other dome-shaped helmet weighs more than 1.2 pound (544 gram) almost double of it.
You can find it on Amazon
Honestly saying, I didn’t found much difference between both the helmets in terms of protection, in terms of speed I did saw some difference but the main thing was it felt like a headache while wearing a dome-shaped helmet and I felt far more comfortable and relaxed while wearing a performance helmet.
Wrist Pads, Knee Pads & Elbow Pads
All three of these play an important role in protection. You should be wearing them always while roller skating to prevent any sort of injury.
Here’s a link to the best pads kit, you can find it on Amazon for a very cheap price. I labeled them as best because they have a little bend at elbow pads which feels super comfortable and this feature is not found in many other pads.
And also there are a lot of color options for these pads so make sure you check them out.
Get The Right Sized Roller Skates
This seems obvious but it actually isn’t.
Ill-sized roller skates can cause blisters on your feet, they can make you feel uncomfortable which can make you lose balance quickly and at the end making you fall more hardly which can injurious.
So, you have to get the right-sized roller skates.
I see many people getting wrong sized skates and regretting afterward. They get blisters very often and then after a month of usage they either stop roller skating or get a new pair of roller skates.
So, make sure you check the size chart and measure your feet with an inch tape and buy slightly bigger roller skates.
Practice Skating Indoors First
Getting a new pair of roller skates is really exciting and due to this excitement, people make a big mistake of going to a park or any other public place and even on high traffic roads.
This can be super dangerous. I understand your emotions but you’ve to control your feelings to be safe.
You should first always practice roller skating either inside your house or in your own driveway.
You should never go to public places in the very beginning as currently, you don’t know how to stop, how to turn, how to balance, and then, at last, you may end up hurting someone else by falling on them or getting over them.
Always spend your first week of roller skating indoor and then you can go outside in the skate parks but don’t immediately go on roads with traffic, you should always wait for 30 days of roller skating before you go to the road.
(Learn How to fasten this up by clicking here)
Skate In Skating Rinks & Unused Concrete Paths
Finding a safe place to roller skate is extremely important, if you roller skate on high traffic roads, parks with many people, or busy sidewalks then you may end up hurting other people and even yourself.
As currently, you don’t know how to stop properly, how to balance, turnings and how to go over bumps on the road.
Some safe places to roller skate are skating rinks, inactive sidewalks, unoccupied sports courts with concrete coverings. Avoid going on busy roads and busy sidewalks.
Even skating rinks are not suggested for beginners as when you fall, you may end up getting your hands rolled over by other roller skaters. That’s why I always suggest skating inside your house for the first week.
Don’t Be Over Confident & Over speed
I see many people getting over confident just after 1-2 weeks of roller skating which can be dangerous. They immediately go on high traffic roads or skate at a very high speed which becomes hard to control.
Over speeding can be very dangerous especially when you haven’t mastered roller skating completely. As you might find yourself unable to control this speed which may make you fall on the ground or be an accident victim.
So you should always stay within your limits, learn things properly first, give roller skating at least a month before you start trying some tricks.
Avoid Advanced Tricks & Tik Tok
These overconfident skaters also start trying some advanced tricks of roller skating.
You should strictly avoid performing these advanced tricks when you are a complete newbie, the same for kids under 8 years. This can be very dangerous and may cause a severe injury.
If you’re planning to roller skate for some Tik Tok videos, then you should strictly wait for at least a month before you try this trend. Because you will be focusing more on the video rather than skating.
So, to reach that level you will have to give it some time.
Another advanced trick that people do is Truck Surfing, and you should completely avoid this as it is extremely dangerous.
You’re basically behind a vehicle and you’re holding the vehicle at the same time with your roller skates to attain the speed of the vehicle on your skates.
Learn To Fall
Wearing all the protective gear doesn’t mean you are 100% protected (although you’re 80% protected) but accidents can still occur causing you injuries.
Falling is the most common way of getting injured in roller skating and actually
Falling is a part of Roller skating, you can’t learn to roller skate without falling.
So, you will need to learn how to fall to avoid injuries.
If you start to lose your balance, squat down quickly so that you’ll fall only a few inches. This will help you to find your balance again without falling or fall closer to the ground, minimizing the impact from the initial fall.
If you’re roller skating in a busy place like a skating rink where many people are skating together, then you should try to fall in a way that cushions the impact. By landing on your bottom with your hands planted on the floor.
Don’t Skate In Night, Hot Day & In Rain
Skating at the night can be dangerous because you don’t have the proper visibility of the traffic making it difficult for you to locate the obstacles and people, and other vehicles also cannot see you because roller skates don’t have headlights in them.
The surface becomes super slippery when you skate in rain or after some time of rain making it hard to balance on the roller skates.
Avoid Wearing Headphones
Wearing headphones while roller skating can make you distracted and make you not concentrate on the path. And this can be very dangerous, you may become a victim of an accident. So, completely avoid this.
What Is The Right Time For Skating?
Day and evening time is the best time for roller skating because you will be able to easily see your surroundings, see the obstacles and actually have fun during this time. You should not skate at night time due to poor visibility.
Can You Roller Skate On Roads?
Yes, but rollerblading on road can be unsafe sometimes because of high traffic and bumps on the road. A road with less traffic and a smoother surface is always safer and preferred for skating than other roads.
Read more about this topic here – https://solosportsworld.com/can-you-rollerblade-on-road/
Can You Go Roller Skating While Pregnant?
No, you should avoid going on roller skating when pregnant as there is a very high chance of falling on the ground which has to be avoided while pregnant.
What Age Is Safe For Kids to Roller Skate?
Generally, it is safe for kids to roller skate when they are above 5 years old. Although even 2-year-old kids can learn to roller skate it is best to wait until they are 5.
Roller skating is a fun sport in which falling on the ground is very common making people get many injuries but most injuries are not that severe. Roller skating is much safer sport in comparison to other sports like Soccer and basketball in terms of severe injuries.
To stay safe from these injuries, you will have to wear complete protective gear set every time you skate, there are many other safety measures as well which I have included above in the article.
I hope this article was helpful for you, consider sharing it with your friend who is worried about roller skating or a friend who gets injured very often while skating so that he can use the safety tips I gave in this article.