Skiing is one of the best activities during the winter season. It is also a great way to exercise during the blustery months of the year. However, many skiers experience foot pain when skiing which stops them from having fun. Most of these are severe and searing foot pains in the arches of their feet. This condition is referred to as “Skier’s Foot Myalgia” which means foot muscle pain.
What Causes Foot Pain When Skiing?
The foot pain that skiers’ experiences are mostly because of the overuse of small muscles in the bottom of the foot which are called intrinsic muscles. Foot pain is commonly experienced with people who have flat feet. It’s because a flat foot tends to be very unstable and skiing requires stability to transfer force effectively from the boot to the edge of the ski to turn the ski. When the intrinsic muscles of the people who have unstable feet start working hard to stabilize the foot, they will eventually run out of adequate blood flow to support their activity which causes the searing pain in the arch of the foot.
However, if you do not have a flat foot but you still experience foot pain when skiing, here are three things that might also be causing the pain.
- Tight Fitting Boots: This is one of the most common causes of pain when it comes to skiing. If your ski boots are too tight, you might feel a burning sensation or ache across and around your entire forefoot area which sometimes leads to numbness.
- Inflexibility: Our feet have a natural tendency to change shape and alignment depending on our movements. When skiing, as you place your foot down, it adapts to the terrain by collapsing and acting as a shock absorber, so it has a tendency to become wider and longer. Since the ski boot is rigid and does not flex, your foot’s movement in the boot does not make it comfortable and causes you pain.
- Uneven Pressure Distribution: If the pressure distribution on your foot is poor, it will cause a burning sensation and sometimes lead to bruises and soreness.
If you often experience having foot pains whenever you go skiing, here are some tips which might help you prevent or avoid it.
Wear Proper Fitting Boots
Since tight-fitting boots are one of the causes of foot pain, it’s important to wear ones which fit perfectly. Aside from tight-fitting boots, two to three sizes too big is not good either. When purchasing ski boots, it’s better to visit a ski shop that specializes in custom fitting. This way, you’ll be able to get a pair of ski boots that will fit perfectly on you.
Use Padding in Ski Boots
Most of the ski boots are rigid and does not flex which causes your foot to feel pain. Using an extra padding or pre-molded insoles in your ski boots can help make your feet more comfortable while skiing. It can also help correct any weight distribution imbalances your feet may possess.
Wear Custom Ski Orthotics
If you are flat footed, wearing custom ski orthotics might help you avoid foot pain when skiing. Padding or insoles which can be bought from ski shops are helpful but sometimes they don’t work for a skier with a flat foot. Custom ski orthotics are made especially for flat-footed skiers and they offer a great support to your foot while skiing.
However, ski orthotics are not found in ski shops. You might need to find a podiatrist who specializes in orthotic therapy, sports medicine, or experienced with skiers because they are most skilled in making these.
Perform Exercise to Strengthen the Foot’s Arch Before Skiing
Based on a study, there is an exercise you can do to strengthen the arch muscles of your foot which can help avoid foot pain when you go skiing. The exercise is best done at least one month before the ski season. You can check it out here on how the exercise is done. It is from the Foot and Ankle Center of Washington.
Other Things Which Can Help Avoid Ski Foot Pain
Aside from the tips mentioned above, check out these things we’ve gathered that may also help you avoid foot pain when skiing.
Another option is how you handle your foot care after your done skiing. A good foot massage can be a great option to increase blood flow, relax muscles and ease the pain.
To sum it up, just remember to wear proper fitting boots as well as other foot support such as padding and orthotics, and perform feet exercises before skiing to prevent experiencing foot pain. We hope these tips will help you in avoiding foot pain the next time you go skiing.