5 Keys to Ankle Kinematics in Ice Hockey Skating

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Previous literature has investigated the stride length and rate data of ice hockey skating. This brief article seeks to further examine the foot and ankle kinematics with bilateral twin axis electrogoniometers. “The purpose of the study was to examine the kinematics of the foot and ankle using electrogoniometers during the start, forward skating, and stop.” The subjects tested in this paper were three male varsity level athletes.

  1. The acceleration is done when both skates are on the ice.
    “The skating stride is biphasic in nature, consisting of alternating periods of single support and double support. The single support phase corresponds to a period of glide whereas the double support phase corresponds to propulsion (Marino, 1977).”
  2. At terminal extension or propulsion,  the rear leg has its highest demand for dorsiflexion. With respect to neutral, this is over half the full range of motion (20° healthy maximum).
    “As the single support phase ended and the double support phase began at about 31% of a completed stride, the right skate increased dorsiflexion reaching a cycle maximum of 11.8°.”
  3. Due to the nature of the skate, the foot can only reach about 1/4th of it’s plantarflexion range of motion (45° healthy maximum).
    “Once push off was completed, the blade of the right skate came off the ice to begin a swing phase. The skater quickly plantarflexed from 11.8 ° of dorsiflexion to 1.9 ° of dorsiflexion. The foot was dorsiflexed with respect to the neutral position throughout the cycle.”
  4. Skaters retain a positive shin angle and forward lean for extended time periods while accelerating.
    “They revealed that speed skaters used a sitting position and leaned their trunks forward in order to counterbalance the effects of air resistance. During pushoff, van Ingen Schenau et al. (1989) explained that a dorsiflexed skate was necessary to prevent scraping of the skate tip on the ice surface causing a large frictional force.”
  5. The ankle does work in the frontal plane due to the nature of the stride.
    “As the skater approached a double su
    pport phase, preparing the right foot for push off, the foot reached maximum eversion at 7.1 °. The maximum eversion was likely a result for the need to generate a resultant force on the ice.”

In summary, the essence of ice hockey skating requires adequate ability to perform in a dorsiflexed position for extended periods. Tolerance to this position should be trained to mitigate injury to the involved tissues. In combination with the forward lean, there may be an increased level of hip and spine pathology in players less resilient to these positions.

 

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Thanks, 
AJ

 

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