Roller Shoes Risky
Protective Gear Recommended When Using Roller Shoes
WebMD News Archive
June 4, 2007 -- Gliding down the sidewalk in roller shoes may look like fun,
but without protective gear the shoes may wind up sending kids straight to the
A new study shows one hospital reported 67 cases of injuries caused by
roller shoes last summer vacation. Wrist injuries were the most common. No
protective gear was used during the time of these injuries.
“To reduce the rate of such injuries, parents buying roller shoes need to
understand both the benefits and risks of this activity,” write researcher
Mihai Vioreanu, MRCSI, of Temple Street Children’s University Hospital in
Dublin, Ireland, and colleagues. “Full protective gear needs to be used at all
times, including a helmet, wrist guards, knee pads, and elbow pads when using
Roller shoes are a popular type of sneaker that has a detachable or
convertible wheel in the heel, which allows the wearer to lean back and glide
on the wheel as well as walk. They’re often sold under the brand names “Heely”
or “Street Gliders.”
The shoes were introduced in 2000 in the U.S., but researchers say little is
known about their safety.
Roller Shoes Tied to Injury
In the study, published in Pediatrics, researchers tracked the number
of roller shoe-related injuries at their Dublin hospital during the 2006 summer
They found 67 children suffered orthopedic injuries while using Heelys or
Street Gliders, such as broken bones or dislocated joints. Girls were much more
likely to be injured than boys, and the average age of injured children was
just under 10.
The study showed:
- Broken wrists were by far the most common type of injury reported. Other
injuries included other broken bones in the arm, elbow dislocation, foot and
ankle injuries, and broken bones in the leg.
- Injuries were most commonly caused by falling backward or forward as the
child tried to transfer their body weight and find balance on the wheels. In a
few cases, the injury was caused by jumping or a sudden change of
- Most of the injuries happened while gliding outdoors on a road, sidewalk,
cycle lane, or playground.
Researchers also found that 20% of the injuries occurred on the first time
the child tried to use the roller shoes and 36% occurred while they were
learning to use them.
They say the results show that close adult supervision is needed during this
learning curve and use of protective gear, including wrist guards, is
recommended at all times.
- How do you keep
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