What Is A PT’s Prospective On Curling Injuries?
Last summer, my husband and I were confronted by our friends to join a curling league. I figured if I can sweep my kitchen floor, curling couldn’t be that much different? Well, we decided to give it a try thinking it couldn’t be that hard to do. Our first night of league we were shown by our friends how to position our feet in the hack and told what the basic rules were. After falling several times on the ice and struggling to push the stone down the sheet of ice to land in play, I realized the sport is harder than it looks! I had only seen curling on the Olympics and should have known every Olympic athlete makes their sport look easy.
It was a fun challenge last year trying to understand the etiquette, technique, and strategy of the game. Once you figure out how to stay upright on the ice and how lightly you need to throw the stone, it becomes a game of precision and accuracy.
During the two years of curling league, I have witnessed several injuries amongst our team and fellow league players. Most of them falls landing on their shoulder or complaints of hip pain when crouched down low to throw the stone. Thankfully, I’ve only experienced small bumps and bruises which resolved within a few days. According to a study by Reeser & Berg, the highest reported injuries amongst competitive curlers are knee, back, and shoulder pain. These injuries typically occurred with sweeping and delivering the stone. In this study, only 2 in 1000 curlers had to take time off the sport to recover from an injury. These numbers are actually pretty low, making curling a safe winter sport.
Even though it’s hard to prevent a fall on the ice, there are many other factors curlers can control to prevent injuries. The sport of curling requires a lot of flexibility, balance, and stability. Utilizing proper technique during curling will help prevent injuries. As you can see by the picture, I’m still learning this!
Including a thorough warm up prior to playing and working on your flexibility of your low back, hips, and knees will allow the range of motion needed to sweep and throw the stone. Curlers need strong leg and core muscles when pushing themselves across the ice. Balance is also crucial for walking on the ice and sliding out throwing the stone. I personally enjoy yoga and feel certain poses really help with my flexibility and strength needed to curl. If you are not a yogi, there are many other exercises and stretches you can perform to address possible weaknesses or flexibility issues you have. Consulting a physical therapist can help you determine what specific stretches or strengthening exercises you need to help you perform at your best.
If you are a curler who is having pain during the sport or have experienced injuries on the ice, I’d love to help you out! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.