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For many people, getting their fill of cold weather sports may not be limited to watching the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Plenty of locals from Lemont are sure to make ski or snowboard trips this winter to places such as Four Lakes in Lisle or Villa Olivia in Bartlett – not to mention resorts in Wisconsin or Michigan.

Skiing is great exercise, but can also damage the feet. Here are a few tips for the slopes from the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists. After all, your feet and ankles act as shock absorbers and brakes while skiing – make sure they are protected.

Blisters and bruises

It may sound minor, but a bruise or blister can keep you off the slopes! The ankle, toes, top of the foot and front of the shin can get rubbed by ski boots – even those that fit well. Plus, moisture held against the foot can cause friction and cause blisters.

Remember not to pop a blister. If it breaks naturally, apply antiseptic and cover it with a bandage. Skiers who are prone to blistering in a specific area might consider dabbing Vaseline on that spot before skiing.

 

Foot conditions

Ski boots have potential to aggrivate pre-existing issues such as bunions, while diseases such as diabetes – which can impact circulation – can get worse by the cold and footwear that doesn’t fit right. Before skiing, people with these conditions should consult a podiatrist such as Dr. Michelle Kim and myself at DM Foot and Ankle. For many conditions, keeping the feet warm and dry is the best prevention.

 

Good boots

Boots should fit snugly – if they’re too loose, the feet and ankles can slide around. Meanwhile, the pressure and motion of skiing could lead to sprains, strains and fractures.

Your boots should be rigid enough to keep your feet, ankles and heels in place, with enough room for your ankle to flex. The toe should not be too tight.  Check the fit of your boots by kicking your heel, then your toe, against the ground. If your foot slides forward and back, the boot is probably too loose.

Try on several pairs and wear them around the shop before deciding on a boot.

 

Socks

A good sock will keep your feet dry by wicking moisture from the feet while keeping them warm.  Take your socks with you when you try on boots. Both podiatrists and ski experts recommend thin socks. 

By Diana Emini