Can You Roller Skate With Scoliosis? – Roller Skating Tips 2021

can you roller skate with scoliosis
Photo by Arif Maulana on Unsplash

Can I roller skate with scoliosis? That’s a good question indeed. The answer is somewhat, yes and no. Everybody’s situation is different. Everyone has a different severity of scoliosis. So whether you can rollerblade with scoliosis, or not, is your decision.

Roller skating is a low impact workout, that’s easy on the knees and also burns a lot of calories. It’s advantage over running is that it doesn’t put much pressure on the joints, which can reduce joint problems in the long run. If you’re looking for a healthy workout, it’s everything you need.

However, can you roller skate with scoliosis? Let’s find out.

What is Scoliosis? – Mild And Severe

Scoliosis is a condition, which causes the spine to curve in a sideways direction. It is mostly diagnosed in children and adolescents. It’s cause is unknown.

The larger the curve, the more back problems you’ll get. These back problems can create hindrances in your roller skating. If you’ve got mild scoliosis, there may not be much of a problem, but if there’s a moderate or severe curvature of the spine, then you might face some difficulties.

Mild Scoliosis

In mild scoliosis, the curve is less than 45 – 50 degrees.

While mild scoliosis doesn’t really cause much of a difference in a person’s life, but, the curve can become greater and greater as the child continues to grow and cause other problems. In a lot of the causes, no treatment is necessary.

Severe Scoliosis

If the curve reaches 45 – 50 degrees, then it may get larger throughout life. If it reaches 70 degrees, it can cause severe complications.

On the other side of the spectrum, severe scoliosis can cause disabilities. If the curve grows larger than the limit, it can hinder the proper functioning of the lungs. It can also cause back problems and even changes in appearance like uneven hips and shoulders, ribs and a shift of the waist towards the side.

What Does It Feel Like To Have Scoliosis While Roller Skating?

The symptoms of scoliosis usually include:

  • Mild to severe pain (common)
  • Difficulty in breathing (severe)
  • Uneven back, hips or waist
  • Difficulty in bending forward

In roller skating, you might face a little difficulty in

  • Doing tricks that require you to bend a lot like figure skating
  • Doing tricks that might put a lot of pressure on your back, like aggressive skating and jumping.

However, you should be able to simply skate. Now, this might not always be the case. Most of the cases are mild and don’t need any treatment. And a lot of the time, you can go about your skating as usual, without worrying too much about your condition.

However, you won’t be reading this article if you’ve got no problems. You probably feel uncomfortable roller skating with scoliosis. So, let’s figure out how we can go about this issue and make it work.

Can You Roller Skate With Scoliosis?

That depends on a lot of factors.

  • Is the pain mild or severe?
  • Does the spine curve keep on getting worse or not?
  • Is my skating causing an increase in the spine curve?
  • Can I bend my back comfortably?
  • If there is pain, is it bearable or does it hurt like hell?

All these factors can affect your decision to roller skate. The decision is yours to take. Also seeking professional help is not a bad idea when picking up a new sport.

Roller Skating Tips For Scoliosis Patients

1. Consult Your Doctor

Believe me, your doctor can help you more than any other self proclaimed therapist on the internet. If you’ve got scoliosis, and you’re thinking of roller skating, you should tell your doctor about this and take his advice.

The doctor’s going to take the right action. If your condition is really bad, he might advise you not to roller skate. If your condition is mild, he might ask you for a small therapy session. He may advise you to keep visiting him to keep you under check. He may use bracing to stop the curvature of the spine from growing further.

So, whatever hobby you want to pick up, whether it be roller skating or something else; you should always consult your doctor and he’ll help you work around it. Getting professional help is always a good idea when it comes to these matters.

2. Try Not To Fall On Your Back

Wear your knee pads and other safety gear. If you’re falling, you should try to fall on your knees rather than your back. If you fall backwards, fall on your hips, and don’t let the fall impact your back. If your back somehow touches the ground, try to make the landing as soft as possible. This will not trigger your scoliosis in any way.

Of course all this is not as easy to do as you think it is. When you’re falling, there’s no time to think or correct your balance, when you fall. Accidents happen all the time in roller skating.

However, if you’re not doing anything crazy, you won’t fall hard enough for your back to touch the ground. Roller skating simply on the ground, or dropping down simple verts, is not the same as performing a backflip. My advice would be to stay away from jumps and flips and focus on skating on verts and ramps.

To sum it up, here’s what you can do to not fall on your back badly.

  • Fall forwards on your knees.
  • If you fall backwards, try to fall on your hips rather than your back.
  • Don’t do crazy jumps, backflips or hand stands.
  • Stay away from bumpy roads and street skating
  • Skating on simple verts is fine.
  • Be careful skating backwards.

There you go. Caring about these small things can make a huge difference in your journey.

3. Stay Away From Figure Roller Skating

Figure skating is something not anyone can do. It’s hard. It involves lots of bending. It requires your back to be really flexible. And if you’re an average human being like me, your back isn’t really flexible. To make your back flexible, you need to stretch. Stretches in figure skating are hardcore and are not good for scoliosis patients.

Figure skating is also cruel when it comes to falls. When you’re doing that spin on one leg, and somehow your balance is disrupted, the fall isn’t really light. Figure skating falls are really unpredictable. You never know when you’re gonna fall or in which direction. You can’t do anything about it. Figure skating really isn’t a piece of cake. This isn’t just true for scoliosis patients but everyone.

4. Stay Away From Aggressive and Street Style Skating

The reason why I don’t recommend aggressive and street-style skating to scoliosis patients is because they’re really risky. They also won’t have any mercy on your back as you fall.

Aggressive skating is literally ‘do or die.’ You either land the trick, or you fall. Aggressive skating includes all kinds of rough tricks like jumps, backflips, spinning jumps etc. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about light jumps, I’m talking about those 5 feet jumps that we see skaters do. Even if you don’t fall and land these jumps, they still put a good deal of pressure on your spine.

Now comes street skating. Street skating is a bumpy ride. Just the vibrations are enough to impact your spine. Moreover, there’s always that one rock that you trip over and fall. If aggressive skating is risky, street skating is uncertain.

However, if you’re going to do street skating no matter what, choose smoother roads, like bicycle tracks or skating trails. Do not skate on that jagged foot path.

5. Wear Comfortable Roller Skates

If you have scoliosis and you want to roller skate, the least you can do is invest in some comfortable soft good quality roller skates.

I know, you might be thinking, what do feet have to do with the back. But let me tell you that the skates have everything to do with your back. The quality of your roller skates can make or break your roller skating experience.

Comfortable skate shoes will also minimize the strain on your back and make your skating more comfortable.

Here’s what you should look for when buying yourself a set of skates.

  • The shoes should be soft and comfortable.
  • The shoes should fit your feet. They shouldn’t be oversized or undersized.
  • The shoes provide good support.
  • The wheels should be suitable.
  • If you’re skating outside, you should get outdoor wheels.
  • If you’re skating inside, you should get indoor wheels.

That’s all there is to it. Nothing more nothing less.

6. Skate for a Limited Period Of Time

A lot of scoliosis patients can’t withstand pressure for a long period of time. They can’t lift really heavy weights or run for a long time.

So if you’re having trouble getting into roller skating, because of scoliosis, you should limit the amount of time you skate. At first you should only skate for a few minutes. Even as low as 5 to 10 minutes. You should roller skate 2 to 3 times per week. There’s no shame in taking a break every few minutes.

This will make your life much easier and fun. Taking things slow is the way to go.

7. Wear Your Bracing

Bracing is a common treatment for scoliosis in patients that are under the age of 18. When you’re an adolescent, there’s a high chance of the spine curvature to keep growing. That’s why doctors often recommend bracing to their patients

Bracing won’t really fix everything right away. It doesn’t improve your spine to it’s normal position. However, it’s useful in stopping the curve from continuing to grow. Now it doesn’t work for curves that are more than 40 degrees or less than 20 degrees. But if your curve is from 20 to 40 degrees, then bracing can be a huge help.

8. Do Light Stretching

Light stretching can improve your posture and relieve pain. It can be a lot of help to scoliosis patients who want to roller skate.

Be careful not to over stretch. Remember that you should not feel pain while stretching, just a light tension in the muscles. If you feel pain, stop.

Here are some things you can do.

  • Low Impact Yoga
  • Core Strengthening
  • Pain relieving stretches

These should really be good for you. It doesn’t matter exactly what stretches you do. Everybody’s body is different. Everybody has a different condition. What works for one person might not work for another.

That’s why I can’t recommend specific stretches for you to do. You should consult your therapist and they should give you the right advice.  False medical advice on the internet won’t get you anywhere. It can even make things worse. Consulting a therapist is the only right thing to do.

Everybody’s Condition Is Different

Everybody has a different body. Same is the thing with scoliosis. There will be different severities, different symptoms and different causes for every individual. If you want to do what you love, even with your medical conditions, the key is to work with professionals who know what works for you and your body.

Professionals will take your age, gender, hobbies, lifestyle, and body into consideration before their recommendations and treatments. They can devise a plan and make adjustments just for you.

So it’s always a good idea to get yourself professionally checked on a regular basis.

Conclusion

The last thing I want to say is that no matter what your situation and conditions are, you should never give up. Roller skating is a really fun activity. If you want to do it, then you should do it. Sure you’ve got to make a few tweaks in your routine here and there, but it’s not that much of a big deal.

If you’ve got scoliosis, or any other problem for that matter, you should do whatever it takes to overcome it. There’s no shame in resting a bit or seeking medical help.

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Good luck and have fun skating!

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