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Ice skates and foot protection

Last Modified: January 24, 2020

Family Medicine, Sports & Exercise

Ice skates

This post was written by Ashley M. Bojrab, DPM, FACFAS, ABPM, PPG – Podiatry.

Winter is a time to be active in sporting activities like hockey and ice skating, to name a few. These pastimes are a perfect solution to staying healthy while having fun during the colder season. But from a podiatry perspective, it’s important to make sure that skates are properly fitted while participating in these activities.

Often, we hear that we should leave some room in our shoes. But actually, when wearing ice skates, you want the boots to fit snugly. The toes should just slightly touch the toe cap of the boot. Skate sizes typically run 1-1.5 sizes smaller than a regular shoe size.

Some skaters like to go barefoot within in their skates for a "better feel". I would discourage this, especially if the skates are rented. Socks are an important piece of your footwear, as they protect the foot from rubbing in the skate. They prevent blisters, corns, calluses and sores from developing. Also, this is considered poor hygiene and could lead to athlete’s foot, fungal toenails and even warts. Thin, moisture-wicking socks made from materials such as cotton are advised. 

Skating can be a fun sport, but it can be exhausting, especially for our feet. When wearing skates, our feet are balancing and gliding on a narrow blade, and our muscles in our feet become stressed and fatigued, which can lead to pain. Custom orthotics can be made to help prevent the fatigue and support the foot. If you continue experiencing foot discomfort or pain, contact your podiatrist for an assessment. 


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