Get your skates on – preventing ice hockey injuries

With the hockey season just around the corner, Ontario players will sharpening their skates for another exciting season. Hockey is a high-speed sport, and with players colliding, sticks flying and pucks moving at speeds of over 100mph, it’s no wonder that injuries do occur.

Vigorous skating and sudden turns on the ice can hard on your knees, ankles and feet. Knee ligaments can tear, ankles can sprain, and toes crunched even in the best skates.

While most everyday sprains can be treated using the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), more serious injuries may benefit from specialist strapping and supports. At Hunt Footcare, an expert foot doctor can help diagnose exactly which ligaments or muscles are affected, and devise a comprehensive treatment plan including physical therapy, so you can be back on the ice faster.

Common leg and knee injuries from hockey include:

  • anterior and posterior cruciate knee ligament (ACL/PCL) injuries
  • injuries to the knee cartilage meniscus
  • hamstring pull, tear, or strains
  • pulled or strained calf muscles
  • shin splints
  • sprains and strains

Ice hockey foot and ankle injuries include:

  • ankle sprains
  • Achilles tendinitis (inflamed Achilles tendon)
  • Achilles tendon rupture or tear
  • blisters

Best skates forward

Many injuries we see in our specialist foot clinics in London, Stratford and Ingersoll are due in part to ill-fitting skates. Your skate boots need to support your feet and ankles as well as protect them, and over the season, they will inevitably soften and wear through use.

You then pop them in a cupboard all summer, when they may fix in an unusual shape, and then expect them to perform out on the ice with only a quick dust or wipe. In the meantime, your feet may have changed shape, and your skate support needs altered. So, always check your skates fit snugly yet comfortably, and don’t risk a twisted ankle or strain (or a footful of blisters) for the lack of new skates.

If your skates look fine and feel fine, the question might be, do they smell fine? Bacteria can live in your skates over the summer, and as soon as you pop in your nice, clean, warm, humid feet again, the atmosphere is ideas for fungal skin and nail infections to occur.

At Hunt Footcare, we offer a shoe and boot disinfection service that leaves your skates clean on the inside, and we can also advise on keeping our feet healthy all season long.

Orthotics for ice hockey players

Like all footwear, store-bought hockey skates are made to fit as many different feet as possible, rather than made to fit just your feet! So, you may find that your skates don’t offer exactly the support your feet need, and this will affect how well you can move when wearing them. Custom-made orthotics slip into your boots to ensure the correct fit for your feet, and only your feet. So, you can feel comfortable, and skate at your very best.

For more information and advice, feel free to contact any of our sports injury experts at our podiatric clinics in London, Stratford and Ingersoll.

Published On: October 25, 2013