S P R I N G B R E A K ! ! ! !
Are there two better words at this time of year? For many, spring break can mean going somewhere warm and getting a tan for the final weeks of school. But for others, the lure of the slopes for the last time of the season is strong. A day of exercise, sun, and thrills is a powerful pull.
For some, a day on the slopes can lead to arch pain. This problem particularly affects those with flat feet. This pain should not be dismissed. It is a searing pain that can cut a much-desired day of skiing short. What should you do to avoid having this ruin your day?
Let’s start with your boots and bindings. It is imperative that your boots are fitted correctly by a professional. Ill-fitting boots can cause a multitude of problems for you. If the boots rub against your skin, they can cause bruising. Boots that move too much can cause damage to your toe nails and can lead to fractures of the toes, ankle, or shins. Your foot needs to be stable in the boot – it needs to be centered in the boot and supported. Your bindings should match your ability, your height, your weight, and the terrain. Please, oh, please tell the professional helping you the truth. This is not the time to try and impress anyone. If you have barely ever skied in your life, don’t act like you have. It will affect your day.
So, you have the best boots and binding for you. But there is still some pain. This is where you need to realize that there are muscles in your feet that need strengthening. These are the intrinsic muscles. (If you want an in-depth view of the intrinsic muscles, please see Intrinsic Muscles of the Foot) There are 10 intrinsic muscles located in the sole of the foot. These muscles work together to stabilize the arch of the foot and they work separately to control the movement of the toes. A study showed that the intrinsic muscles in people with flat feet tend to have smaller intrinsic muscles then those with normal arches. It is suggested that you see your friendly local podiatrist at least a month or two before your ski trip to get exercises that will help strengthen these muscles for your skiing trip.
The last element in getting your feet ready for skiing will be to also get a good pair of orthotics made for your foot. Flat feet are relatively unstable. The orthotics that you need will give you the support that you need. Regular ski boot supports are great if your feet aren’t flat but if they are, you need to go see your friendly local podiatrist and get some orthotics that fit extremely tight to your arch so that your foot bed is controlled. As with the exercises, you will need to get to your friendly local podiatrist 6-8 weeks prior to your ski trip. The orthotics are custom made and you need to get used to them before you try and ski with them all day.
Have a great spring break!