There is no more exhilarating feeling than feeling fresh powder beneath your skis or board, and heading out the enjoy great day in the slopes or on the trails. All skiing, whether cross country, downhill or snowboarding demands a lot from your feet and ankles, which need to act as your steering, your brakes, and as shock absorbers. So, it makes sense to look after your feet in return!
Don’t slither and slide in your downhill skiing boots
Properly fitted ski boots are the single most important factor in safe downhill skiing. All ski boots should fit snugly, but not too tightly, so make sure you’re wearing your ski socks when you try them on. If ski boots are too tight, they can cause blisters or restrict your foot movements, while boots that are too loose boot can cause problems with your toes.
Take time to choose the best fit, and if you’re still uncertain, bring them to a podiatrist or chirpodist at one of the Hunt Footcare clinics in Stratford, London or Ingersoll, Ontario. We’ll assess your foot position in the boots and advise on ways to make them more comfortable and safe, which might include custom orthotics just for your ski boots.
Tom Rothrock, Olympic slalom skier, uses orthotics in his high tech ski boots; “We have the regular bootliner and custom orthotics can be put in. Footbeds help with your balance and lateral quickness. I have kind of a flat foot, so I put a bit of an arch in there. It helps a little with edge control too.”*
Foot health for cross country skiers
Cross-country skiing boots are more like a bicycle shoe, attached to the ski only at the ball of the foot. So it’s vital that your cross-country boots fit enough to allow you to flex and your heel to rise and fall. Due to this action, cross-country skiers are particularly prone to Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis. At Hunt Footcare, our feet specialist can advise on stretching exercises before you ski to help you warm up and loosen up to prevent injury or strain.
Snowboarding boots advice
Snowboarders’ boots need to be large, sturdy and well insulated and flexible, so you can easily twist your body and control your board. Again, if you have any doubts come in to one of our specialist foot clinics in London, Ingersoll or Stratford, and consult one of our specialists.
Skiing with pre-existing feet conditions
If you have any pre-existing feet conditions such as calluses, corns, bunions, consult one of the team at Hunt Footcare before hitting the slopes. Our podiatric team can advise you on how to enjoy your skiing without further trauma or problems. This is especially important for diabetics, where reduced feeling in your feet may mean you don’t feel problems occurring as fast as you might have previously.
Other feet problems associated with skiing include blisters, neuromas (growth of nerves between the toes), shin splints, sprains and strains, blackened toesnails (subungal hematoma), chillblains and bunions.
Sock it to them!
Key to all skiing is keeping your feet warm. Wear either a pair of thick socks or two pairs of thin socks in materials that wick moisture away from your feet, such as a wool blend or man-made fibres. Most of the moisture in your ski boots will be your own perspiration, so the socks need to draw that from your foot to keep it dry and therefore warm.
Wet feet in cold weather are bad news, so if your feet start to get cold, move indoors and take off wet socks immediately. If you’re out for a whole day in the snow and your feet tend to sweat more, take an extra pair of socks so you can change them at lunchtime. Never underestimate the dangers of cold feet – frostbite can set in when toes are cold for prolonged periods of time.
Come to Hunt Footcare for expert advice
At Hunt Footcare, we’d far rather talk you through how to prevent injuries than just treat them, so do feel free to make an appointment with us before hitting the slopes. Of course, if you’re just back and suffering from sore feet or toes, call us straight away, at either our London, Stratford or Ingersoll clinics. Our team can help you get back on your feet, with expert diagnosis and treatment plans.
*in an interview with Foot.com.