Hitting the slopes and needing to know about looking after your feet this snow season? Skiing and snowboarding are among the most popular recreational activities undertaken by Australian families. With a reported 1 million people visiting an alpine resort annually.
Snow sports, as exhilarating as they are can effect your feet in many ways. The biggest two concerns are the temperature and positioning of your feet in the boot.
Travelling downhill at high speeds, in equipment allowing limited foot movements can have the potential to cause serious damage to the feet. Looking after your feet during snow sports, is vital as the feet are under constant strain. Therefore choice of boot is very important, when it comes to injury prevention.
If you are frequently heading to the slopes a customised pair of ski boots is beneficial. The better the fit the more control and the less energy loss from the transfer from your body to the boot. A well-fitted boot will also provide more comfort and reduce the likelihood of cramping, cold or numb feet and shin bruising.
When snowboarding and skiing the feet have to do a lot of work. This is because high pressures go though the big toe towards the heel, while moving through a turn. Problematic foot types are excessively high arched feet and flexible first rays. Both of these foot types have difficulty initiating and maintaining enough force being transferred into the ski boot.
To counteract this the knee needs to excessively internal rotate and adduct to transfer the weight to the inside section of the forefoot, increasing risk of medial knee injury.
Tips for looking after your feet this snow season
- Have your boots professionally fitted. The wrong fit or boot can cause very damaging effects to the feet, including permanent nerve damage.
- Apply a fresh pair of dry, thin, woollen socks daily to prevent chilblains and regulate moisture within the boot.
- Make sure your feet are warm before putting them inside your ski or snowboarding boots. Do not walk around barefoot on a cold wooden or tiled floor beforehand.
- Reynaud’s suffers need to have well fitted moulded boots and ski orthotics, and should consider boot heaters to prevent chilblains.
- People with high risk diabetes or peripheral vascular disease should consider another sport in order to avoid causing damage to their feet.
- Securely fasten your boot to prevent any movement.
- Appropriate orthotics (slightly different from normal orthotics) are beneficial for placing your foot in an optimal position all day. They reduce the amount of pronation and tibial rotation, improving alignment and control of your ski or snowboarding boot. They help to avoid issues like blister, numbness, cramping and heel pain.
- Have your snow equipment checked and tuned prior to your ski trip, by a snow equipment store.
- If your boots are over 10 to 15 years old they need replacing.
- Ensure hire boots are waxed, sharpened and in good condition.
- Have a check in with your local podiatrist to ensure your feet are in good condition (ie no painful corns, ingrown toenails, callus, heel cracks etc) and to check the fitting and insole of your current boots.
WARNING: This information is a guide only and does not replace professional podiatry advice.