It’s almost time for our holiday weekend, which means that many of us will head out of Houston; if travel is in your plans, and the ski slope is your destination, read on so foot pain doesn’t ruin your vacay.
Skiing and snowboarding are great winter sports—a fun way to get outdoors and get active all at once. If, however, you want to avoid foot and ankle injuries like sprains and fractures, you have to be very careful when getting fitted for ski boots. Don’t ruin your ski holiday with ill-fitting footwear; follow your Houston podiatrists’ suggestions for proper fit and your holiday will be a lot more enjoyable.
First things first: your boots should be comfortable; they should feel snug and also fit the shape of your foot appropriately. Loose boots allow your foot and ankle to slide around inside the boot, putting you at risk of injury as you shift forwards and backwards down the mountain. Tight boots rub and can leave you with blisters; a boot that’s too short can injure your toe as it gets pushed up against the hard interior. Thus, the perfect fit is just snug enough to stabilize your feet and ankles without causing undue discomfort.
If you have a hard time finding a comfortable boot fit, or if you use custom orthotics in your regular shoes, you may want to use them when skiing as well; most sets will be able to transfer fairly easily. If you’re a serious skier, and want to own your own pair, please feel free to schedule a consultation at my office to ensure you select a pair that will protect you from sport-related injuries.
All the points we’ve discussed should garner you a good fitting pair of ski boots, but if you don’t wear the right pair of socks with them, all of that will be for nothing. You might think that you need heavy socks to keep your feet warm, but remember, your boots are already insulated; warm socks could make your feet sweat and leave you vulnerable to athlete’s foot (plus, thick socks will affect the fit of a snug boot!) The best choice for a ski sock is a lightweight athletic pair, calf high (so the top of your boot won’t rub against your leg).
Common Snowboarding Injuries
Even with well-fitted boots, snowboarding is a sport that carries a large risk of injury. Today I want to let you know about one of the most commonly misdiagnosed snowboarding injuries—snowboarder's ankle.
Often mistaken for an ankle sprain, snowboarders’ ankle is actually a fracture of the outer lateral ankle-bone (Talus). This rare fracture got its name because only 1% of the general population breaks this bone, but 15% of snowboarder’s with ankle injuries have a fractured Talus bone.
While this injury is extremely painful, the good news is that it’s largely avoidable. Boarders, especially newcomers, should use boots specifically designed for the sport. Snowboarding boots are stiff but allow enough flexibility to prevent this kind of impact fracture; wearing hiking or moon boots, as many athletes choose to do, does not protect your delicate ankle bones sufficiently.
Of course, even with the proper gear, you need to exercise caution when engaging in a more adventurous sport like snowboarding. Before you go for that 360, make sure you have enough skill to safely perform the move. Some extra instruction may be a good idea if you are hoping to master new tricks on the mountain.
Nothing ruins a snowy vacation like a snowboarding injury; if you get hurt while you’re out of town, make sure that your first call when you get home is to your Houston podiatrist. I’ll want to ensure that your injury was properly diagnosed and that you are healing appropriately.