A prospective study was undertaken recording the data of all roller shoes injuries referred to an A&E department during the summer school holiday. Over a 10-week period, 67 children suffered orthopedic injuries while using Heelys or Street Gliders. There were 56 girls and 11 boys with a mean age of 9.6 years. Upper limbs were the most common location of injury. Distal radius fractures (forearm) were the most prevalent, followed by supracondylar fractures, elbow dislocations, and hand fractures. The majority of children suffered the injury while heeling or street gliding outdoors. 20% of the injuries happened while trying Heelys or Street Gliders for the first time, and 36% of the injuries occurred while learning (using 1–5 times) how to use them. None of the children used any sort of protective gear at the time of the injury. The majority of the injured children expressed their intention to continue heeling or street gliding after complete recovery from their injury. This report the single largest prospective epidemiologic study of orthopedic injuries in children that resulted from the increasingly popular new activities heeling and street gliding during the school summer holiday. To reduce the rate of such injuries, parents buying roller shoes need to understand both the benefits and risks of this activity. Children and their parents should appreciate that injuries are particularly common in novice users and those more adventurous advanced users. Full protective gear needs to be used at all times, including a helmet, wrist guards, knee pads, and elbow pads, when using roller shoes. Wrist guards should always be worn to reduce impact forces and distribution when a child falls on the outstretched hand, because upper-limb trauma constitutes 86.5% of our cases. Special attention should be paid to the needs of novice skaters to avoid injuries. We recommend that a safe-use guide be provided with each pair of roller shoes. An induction demonstration on safe use should be provided by retail outlets at the time of purchase of these roller shoes.
Vioreanu M, Sheehan E, Glynn A, Casidy N, Stephens M, McCormack D. 2007 Heelys and Street Gliders Injuries: A New Type of Pediatric Injury
Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery Department, Temple Street Children's University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland