How to Prevent Foot and Ankle Fails on the Ski Slopes

How to Prevent Foot and Ankle Fails on the Ski Slopes

Colorado is known for beautiful winter weather and its wealth of winter sports activities, including skiing and snowboarding. Plenty of Coloradans look forward to the winter months so they can practice new skills and show off their moves on the slopes.

Unfortunately, while winter sports are fun, they can also be dangerous — and, like any other sport, skiing and snowboarding have their share of injuries. In fact, up to 600,000 Americans are injured each year as a result of skiing or snowboarding activities, according to a study led by researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine. 

While it’s not always possible to avoid accidents during any type of sport, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of injury. Kerry E. Berg, DPM and the team at Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates in Colorado Springs, Colorado, offer these tips to help you prevent injuries when you’re out on the slopes this season.

Keep your feet warm

Cold feet might be common for some brides and grooms, but when it comes to winter sports, they need to be avoided at all costs. Most people know that extreme cold can lead to frostbite. 

But even moderate cold can make it harder for you to feel your feet, and that can lead to accidents. Chemical “hot packs” may help, but ideally, if your feet are feeling cold, take that as a sign that it’s time to head in for a warm-up break.

Stretch regularly

Strong ankles and legs provide better support, better balance, and better coordination, all of which reduce your risk of accidents. Plus, regular exercise keeps muscles and joints flexible for better performance. 

Make fit a priority

Everybody loves a good deal, but your boots are not an item where you should skimp on quality or settle for “good enough.” Your boots play a critical role in your sport and in helping you prevent accidents and injuries, too. 

If your boots don’t fit well, you won’t control your skis or snowboard as well, which means your risk of injuries increases. Poor fit also increases your risks of blisters, corns, and calluses, and if your boots are too tight, your socks won’t insulate your feet as well. 

Socks matter, too

Socks keep your feet warm, and they prevent friction, too. Ideally, you want socks that absorb excess moisture. Wool is a great material, but there are synthetic options, too. Stay away from cotton — it has little-to-no insulating value. 

You might think two pairs of socks would be better than one on particularly cold days, but you’d be wrong. Extra socks can alter the fit of your boots, cramping your toes and actually making it harder for your socks to warm your feet and absorb moisture. On very cold days, adding a sock liner is a better option.

Don’t push yourself

Sure, learning new techniques is always fun, and it can help you get the most from your sport. But before trying something new, invest in professional training, and work your way up to a new level slowly. Moving too quickly can lead to strains, sprains, and even fractures. 

Don’t ignore problems

If you develop even a minor injury, like a twisted ankle, a blister, or a bruise, don’t ignore it — seek treatment right away. And if you have any type of pain before hitting the slopes, make sure to treat it first before heading out. 

Ignoring “mild” discomfort can quickly lead to a more serious injury, and it can throw off your balance and coordination, too. Dr. Berg can help you find an orthotic that manages your discomfort without preventing you from enjoying the activities you love.

Stay safe on the slopes this winter

Keeping your feet healthy is essential for enjoying winter sports and warm-weather sports, too. Regular podiatry visits ensure your feet get the attention and care they need to help prevent injuries and help you get the most from your sport.

To learn more, call 719-493-9241, or book an appointment online at Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates today.

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