For many of us, winter means hockey. Whether you play on a neighbourhood team or are a member of a competitive league, you probably have two goals: to perform your best and to remain injury free.
Many hockey players understand the role good quality, professionally-fitted skates play in game performance and injury prevention. However, do you know that custom foot orthotics, designed specifically to fit inside your skates, can have an even greater influence on your game and reduce your risk of injury?
Overpronation – when your foot rolls excessively inwards – is a common issue. While overpronation can cause pain and injuries when you walk or run, it can cause even greater problems when you skate as skating requires you use the side of your feet and ankles. Inserting foot orthotics, into your skates, will make your feet more comfortable and reduce the risk of injury as they will help to properly align your feet, shifting pressure off areas that aren’t designed to bear weight. For example, if you overpronate, foot orthotics will prevent the arch of your foot from collapsing.
By preventing your foot from dropping, your orthotics will also make your push off more powerful and improve your technique as it will give your foot better contact with the ice and thus give you better control. Without orthotics, some of the power from your push would be lost through the arch, but with orthotics the full power of each push is transferred directly to the ice. In addition, skaters who experience difficulty maintaining power and control when crossing over or with tight turns may benefit greatly from custom orthotics. Collapsing of the arch may not allow skaters to confidently access the inside edge of their skate without becoming unstable or losing power. Orthotics may also reduce your fatigue on the ice. As they help to stabilize your legs, placing them in a neutral position your leg muscles won’t have to work so hard and won’t tire so quickly. Injuries often happen when muscles and tissues become fatigued. Preventing or reducing fatigue will be instrumental in decreasing the occurrence of injury.
Orthotics for your skates can help with a wide range of issues from overpronation to knee injuries to comfort. If you experience pain when you skate, or have difficulty with control, power or speed on the ice, take your skates to your next pedorthic appointment and ask your Canadian Certified Pedorthist if orthotics for your skates would be beneficial for you.
By Alyssa Milton C. Ped (C) Cambridge, Ontario