Availing Ailments

photo cred: JCB

Despite the surge of invincibility accompanying the taming of some terrifying transition with a new trick or solid run, our skateboards like to remind us that we are unfortunately mortal. The passionate outlet that drives us, skateboarding, and our ability to do it is as fleeting and delicate as the human body.

Just yesterday at the Protec Pool Party qualifiers, Josh Stafford was rushed to the ER after a collision in the pool. He will be sadly sidelined along with a broken-ankled Bucky and an injured Grosso during tomorrow’s event. Others are barely recovering from new ailments, Daniel Cuervo, Lincoln Ueda and Lester Kasai have all managed to heal up enough to ride. The fact that even Tony Hawk broke his pelvis a few months ago on a 540, a trick he’s been doing for close to two decades, shows just how easily we can be humbled by our precious planks of joy.

Bob Burnquist. X Games 2011. Credit JCB

I’ve come to find that despite whatever hobble-filled situation my skateboard has put me in, somehow the pang of not skateboarding has overwhelmed any physical pain or discomfort.

Having gone through my fair share of skate-related mishaps. I’ve developed a healing regiment to help me get back to skating in order to avoid nasty skate withdrawal symptoms.

Here’s a quick how-to on how to heal sprains and strains, which can give you some serious, long-term issues if you just ignore them.

1) The most obvious R.I.C.E method: Rest (stay off of your tattered limb until pain subsides!) Ice (Most important in the first 48 hours- 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off) Compression (Ace bandage, but the point of this is to drain the inflammation so don’t just trap the fluid in there, start wrapping tightly below the joint and then wrap more loosely as you go higher up) Elevation (keep your limb above your heart, allowing gravity to help decrease swelling.)

2) Various topical creams/ applications
1. Arnica Montana– this homeopathic remedy comes in both pill and cream form and helps decrease swelling and pain, and promotes healing. You can find this at most health food stores.
2. DMSO – a byproduct of tree sap that works as a really efficient and powerful anti inflammatory. There is a lot of uncertainty behind this product, but based on all of the research I’ve done as well as being a first-hand witness to its effects, I would highly recommend it. It’s important to get one that is at least 99 % pure DSMO and diluted to about 70% DMSO, 30% distilled water. You have to be careful when you use it because it is also capable of transporting things through your skin so you want to make sure you wash the area with warm water first and then make sure that nothing else comes in contact with that area until you wash it off about 30 min- 1 hour later. You can couple this with arnica gel to allow the arnica to get to the damaged tissue more quickly. You can get this online or maybe at health food stores.
3. Voltaren Gel– This is essentially ibuprofen in gel form. Anti-inflammatory and a pain killer. You might need a prescription for this.
4. Traumeel<a . This works really well, PLG has also recommended it to me. I got mine in Poland but I'm sure you can get ahold of it somehow…
5. It is important to take a Glucosamine Chondroitin supplements (pill form) even when you aren't injured to promote joint health/strength.

Also, in my desperation I've researched diets that are optimum to healing. Essentially it comes down to leafy greens and lean protein. Some specifics include: pineapple is the best natural source of Glucosamine, red meat increases the inflammatory response so it is best to avoid it especially within 48 hours of injury, artificial sweeteners like aspartame block your calcium intake, diuretics such as alcohol and caffeine should be avoided because they leech your body of valuable nutrients that you will need during times of healing.

The most important and difficult step is to stay off of your weakened limb until you can skate pain-free. It is much easier to do further damage to an already-wounded joint…

Needless to say, I get pretty desperate/borderline dramatic when it comes to striving for a quick recovery…


  1. Thank you for a great post.

  2. Good stuff! I would include soft tissue as a means of increased recovery. Graston Technique, Augmented Soft Tissue, and or ART all are great ways to increase tissue recovery rates. As a clinician, Im less of a fan of ingesting anecdotal products compared to hands on tooling or massage. Although painful at times, tissue response and healing seem to be productive with these methods of treatment.

    Happy healing 🙂


    1. ameliabrodka says:

      ooooh! I’m very interested to hear more of your expertise

  3. Ethan M. Kreiswirth says:

    cool! Here are a few links that explain each treatment I suggested.

    Graston Tech. http://www.grastontechnique.com/GTImproves.html

    Augmented soft tissue tech. (ASTYM) http://www.astym.com/video/

    Active Release Tech.(ART) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1bMbN9VgBM

    The first two are “tooling” massage techniques, and ART is without tools.

    The outcomes on patient care are great! I do agree with RICE for acute injury, then, within 5 days post injury, a hands on approach is warranted.


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