Skateboarding has grown in popularity over the years – and so have injuries relating to the sport.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are about 50,000 visits to the emergency room each year due to skateboard injuries. While it’s great that skateboarding keeps kids active, it is considered a high-risk sport. And because of that, it’s important to take safety precautions to minimize their chance of injury – especially when they’re first learning to skateboard.

Orthopedic surgeon Deb Bohn, MD, from TRIA Orthopaedic Center gives these safety tips:

What are the best ways for a skateboarder to prevent an injury?

Falling is a natural part of learning how to skateboard. But there are things you can do to minimize injury, like:

  • Use professionally constructed equipment in controlled environments, like a skate park. And follow the rules of that skate park. They exist for your safety.
  • Skate in control at all times.
  • Wear preventative equipment such as helmets, elbow pads and wrist guards that can prevent some injuries.
  • Learn to fall properly.
  • Skate within your limits. Just starting to skateboard? Don’t try any tricks until you have the basics down!

It’s also important for skateboarders to:

    • Avoid skateboarding on streets where there are cars and sidewalks, or on plazas where there may be pedestrians.
    • Be alert to your surroundings including unexpected changes in the surface, obstacles in your path and other skateboarders around you.
    • Make sure you can hear your surroundings. Do not wear headphones so that you cannot hear someone else or a car nearby.
    • Stay hydrated during the day, and rest every couple of hours.

  • Stay safe during changing weather conditions, and alter your schedule based on the conditions.

Is there a right way to fall?

Yes! If you are going to fall, just fall. Don’t put your hand or arm out to break the fall, as this can lead to injuries in your elbow, wrist or hand among others. Also, try to absorb the impact by rolling into the fall – tuck and roll. This can disperse the impact of the fall on your whole body, causing less harm.

Signs and symptoms of a hand or wrist fracture

Wrist and hand injuries are the most common injuries for skateboarders. Here are some signs and symptoms of injuries you should get checked out:

  • Swelling
  • Your hand or wrist is hard to move, or you can’t move it at all
  • Pain and tenderness, especially if it continues for more than a day or two
  • Deformity such as a shortened finger, crooked arm or depressed knuckle

If you suspect an injury has happened, you should seek medical attention for further evaluation and treatment. No appointment is needed for injury evaluation at TRIA’s walk-in clinics. The Bloomington and Maple Grove locations are both open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.