Skiing is among the most popular winter sports in the country. But perhaps because skiing is a seasonal activity for most of us here in the Greater Washington Area, we’re more likely to get injured on the slopes than we are shooting hoops. Every year, we see more than our fair share of ski-related injuries.
Skiing Makes Unique Demands of Your Feet
For podiatrists, there’s no surprise—skiing is a high-speed sport, and it places an incredible amount of stress on athletes’ feet and ankles. Whether you’re going downhill or cross-country, you’re being propelled by your feet and the boards under them. Whenever you turn, slalom, or jump, you’re subjecting your lower extremities to significant rotational and gravitational forces. Left to their own devices, these forces will happily toss you head-over-heel.
Since skiers are affected by so many outside variables and factors—the density of snow or the angling of a hill, for instance—they must take safety seriously if they wish to avoid foot injuries.
Common Ski Injuries
Some of the most common injuries sustained by skiers are:
- Skier’s toe—similar to runner’s nail, skier’s toe is caused by the hefty forces exerted upon your toe while skiing. You’ll know if you have it because one or more toenails will turn black due to burst or damaged blood vessels
- Ankle twists, sprains, and fractures, often as a result of slipping and falling at an unnatural angle
- Bruising of the lower extremities
Skiers are also susceptible to their own oversight. Among the most common mistakes skiers make is renting or purchasing boots that are too tight or too loose. Since your boots are an integral piece of equipment, their misuse can lead to avoidable injury:
- Snowboarders and skiers both regularly contract Morton’s neuroma. Morton’s neuroma occurs when ill-fitting boots pinch your nerve, causing inflammation and pain
- Cross-country skiers may be most at risk of metatarsalgia, another source of pain and inflammation. Metatarsalgia can occur when you overwork your feet, and may be made worse by ski boots that aren’t fitted for your body or athletic needs
You should therefore take great care to not only ride the slopes safely, but to ensure your feet are strapped into the right gear for the right job.
Podiatrists Help You Get Back on the Slopes
If you still end up injured despite your best efforts, a podiatrist can almost always provide a solution. Aside from being able to provision or create orthotics and casts to treat twists, sprains and fractures, podiatrists can also pinpoint the cause and source of nerve pinches and overuse stress.
Sometimes winter can feel too long—but for those of us who love to be on the snow and ice, every day we’re in pain is a day we can’t spend enjoying the season. If you want to protect yourself from an injury or recover from an existing one, don’t hesitate to call or send us a message today—the sooner you act, the more your body will thank you.