Connecticut Medicine

Mar 2015

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volume 79, no. 3 133 e Biomechanics of Cranial Forces During Figure Skating Spinning Elements DaviD H. Wang, MD, MS, Regina O. KOStyun, MSeD, atC, anD MattHeW J. SOlOMitO, MS ABSTR ACT — Several facets of figure skating, such as the forces associated with jumping and landing, have been evaluated, but a comprehensive biomechanical understanding of the cranial forces associated with spinning has yet to be explored. e purpose of this case study was to quantify the cranial rotational acceleration forces generated during spinning elements. is case report was an observational, biomechanical analysis of a healthy, senior-level, female figure skating athlete who is part of an on-going study. A triaxial accelerometer recorded the gravitational forces (G) during seven different spinning elements. Our results found that the layback spin generated significant cranial force and these forces were greater than any of the other spin elements recorded. ese forces led to physi- cal findings of ruptured capillaries, dizziness, and headaches in our participant. Keywords: Figure skating, acceleration forces, spinning. Background t here are nearly 180,000 members of united States Figure Skating association 1 the majority of whom are adolescents. youth athletes have often been studied to identify techniques in decreasing sport-specific injuries, such as basketball and soccer with knee injuries. 2,3 as in any sport, there are certain injuries specific to figure skating 4 and an improved understanding of these injuries has provided the ability for enhanced athletic performances. On-ice biomechanical analyses of complex jumps have lead to customized dry-land train- ing programs to enhance the athlete's ability to create appropriate vertical and rotational velocities needed to execute these jumps. 5-7 a proper understanding of jump landing forces to the lower extremity has encouraged boot modifications and increased off-ice training of jumps. 8 Spinning is an essential element in figure skating, but it has not yet been examined to the same extent as jump- ing. Senior level skaters are required to complete three separate spin sequences dur- ing a program. ese spin sequences are a combination of several different spinning positions, and can vary be- tween 10 - 30 seconds in du- ration. Within the skating community there are reports of dizziness, headaches, vi- sion disturbances, and rarely sudden loss of consciousness while practicing spinning elements. e vestibular system, specifically the vestibulo-ocular reflex, is challenged during these spinning elements, since the head is moving in a direction opposite of the eyes' gaze. 9 Repetitive rotations can cause insult to the vestibular system and may result in symptoms similar DaviD H. Wang, MD, MS, Regina O. KOStyun, MSeD, atC, Connecticut Children's Medicine Center Division of elite Sports Medicine, Farmington; MattHeW J. SOlO- MitO, MS, Connecticut Children's Medicine Center, Center for Motion analysis, Farmington; Corresponding Author: DaviD H. Wang, MD MS, Summary Box e cranial forces in the spinning elements of figure skating are significant enough to result in superficial vascular damage. ese cranial forces are also significant enough to lead to symptoms of headache, nausea, and dizziness lasting hours after figure skating spinning. Spins with the head near the axis of rotation are subjected to less force compared to spins where the head is further from the axis of rotation.

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