The holidays are here – and what better way to celebrate them than by enjoying an afternoon ice skating outdoors with your friends and family at the Robson Square Rink? For those of you who are not familiar with the location, it is in downtown Vancouver at the corner of Robson and Howe. If you are taking the SkyTrain, it is two blocks southwest of Granville Station on the Millennium or Expo Line, and only one block southwest of Vancouver City Centre Station on the Canada Line.
The Robson Square Rink is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with an additional two hours of skating until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, so you can really take advantage of your weekend free time. There will be live band performances starting on Dec. 13 all the way through Christmas Eve, with a shortened skating session from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Christmas day.
If you’re caught up in the holiday rush and can’t make it before New Year’s, don’t worry – the rink will be open until February 2014 so there is plenty of time to go and check it out. You can skate for free if you have your own skates, but if you don’t, you can rent ones out for $4, cash only. Also, children under 12 have to wear helmets for their own safety.
Speaking of safety, skating and Christmas time in general can be hard on your body. Whether you are skating around Robson, getting a head start on your New Year’s resolutions (of getting in shape), or cruising down runs on Whistler Blackcomb, your knee joints can be the recipient of unwanted aches and pains.
The knee is the largest joint in the human body and is comprised of four ligaments, two types of cartilage and connects your femur (thigh bone) to two other bones, the patella (knee cap) and the tibia (shinbone). Due to the intricacies of the knee joint and the large amount of body weight supported, the knees are quite susceptible to injuries. Here is a list of common knee injury causes as well as some prevention and treatment methods:
1. Twisting of the knee
Twisting your knees (whether they are sudden or not) can cause many problems, including:
- Torn or ruptured ligaments (ACL tears, MCL tears)
- Sprained Knees
- Torn cartilages (Meniscus tears)
Symptoms: Swelling, Pain, Instability, Difficulty bending and straightening, Difficulty walking
Sudden impact to the knee (such as by falling) can cause the following:
- Dislocated or fractured patella
- Sprained Knees
Symptoms: Swelling, Pain, Locking of the knee, Difficulty moving the joint
3. General wear and tear
The above were all examples of sudden trauma; every day wear and tear can also cause knee problems:
- Strained Calves
- Inflammation or tendonitis
- Tear in the Meniscus
Symptoms: Difficulty walking, Difficulty Bending Knees, Swelling, Calf pain, Cramps, Knees Locking
Prevention and Treatment of Common Knee Problems
Make sure your shoes have good grip in the winter so you don’t slip on patches of snow and ice
Warm up before any physical activity, especially if you are a weekend warrior
If your pain is chronic and you are constantly experiencing any swelling, pain or other symptoms, book an appointment at a Vancouver physiotherapy clinict and/or try the PRICE strategy:
Protect your knees, Rest, Ice (remember to cover the skin with a towel and then ice to prevent cold damage), Compress the afflicted area, Elevate the leg above heart level to reduce the swelling (lie down first).
This article was written by Michael Cai at Connect the Doc. Connect the Doc in a website that helps people in Greater Vancouver find and book healthcare appointments online, 24/7 with different types of healthcare providers including physiotherapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, dentists, and naturopathic doctors.