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from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Diseases & Conditions



Staying Healthy

Inline Skating Injury Prevention

More than 17 million Americans participate in the sport of inline skating. Whether skating fast or standing still, you can get an injury -- from fractures or dislocations to more serious injuries to the head -- if you do not follow the rules of the sport.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 61,000 people were treated for inline skating-related injuries in hospital emergency rooms, doctors' offices, clinics and other medical settings in 2007.

The key to remember is that many inline skating injuries are preventable if you follow these safety tips:

  • Learn the basic skills of the sport particularly how to stop properly, before venturing into traffic
  • Wear a helmet, wrist protectors and knee and elbow pads
  • Always put on protective gear before putting on your skates
  • Perform warm-up exercises before and after skating
  • Obey traffic signals, stay at the right side of the road and don't weave in and out of lanes
  • Avoid skating in crowded walkways

Skate boots always must fit properly. Here are some tips you can use when purchasing inline skates:

  • Don't buy boots that put too much pressure on any area of your foot; the pressure can cause blisters.
  • Choose the boot size at the end of the day or after training, when feet will be at their largest.
  • When selecting the size of the boot, wear the same type of sock that will be worn when skating.
  • Kick both feet into the back of the boots before buckling and skating.
  • Be certain the heel doesn't move up and down in the boot during skating.

Last Reviewed

September 2009

AAOS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians referenced herein. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, or locate one in your area through the AAOS Find an Orthopaedist program on this website.