Idaho offers a host of fantastic winter activities. From skiing and tubing to ice skating and hiking, there are wonderful outdoor opportunities for fun throughout the state. Unfortunately, many of these pursuits also place a person at risk for foot and ankle winter sports injuries. Canyon Foot + Ankle’s team of podiatry professionals treat these conditions all throughout the year, and we offer this specific advice for prevention and, if necessary, treatment.
Common Foot and Ankle Injuries From Winter Sports
There’s no reason to restrict yourself from winter activities, but remember that some people experience compromising health conditions. Here are a few seasonal issues we treat.
This occurs as a result of exposure to cold temperatures, freezing skin, tendons, and even bones of the feet. You might notice pale or reddened skin, stiff toes, and a tingling or burning sensation. There are four stages of frostbite: podiatrists can help with the most severe stage, deep frostbite, by assessing circulation to prevent long-term issues and providing various treatment methods.
When traveling over uneven terrain at a high rate of speed, it’s easy to lose footing and suffer an ankle sprain. While minor issues can be remedied with proper home care, more severe sprains need medical intervention to prevent long-term damage, such as arthritis.
High-impact accidents, such as those that frequently occur while skiing, may break bones in the toes, feet, and ankles. With prompt and proper podiatric care, you can avoid serious repercussions and recover more quickly.
Also known as skier’s or bang toe, this trauma causes bleeding under the toenail, usually the result of poorly fitted boots or when a skier has to sharply shift their weight backward to steady themselves. It can also occur during snowboarding, although this is less common. A podiatrist conducts a thorough examination and drains blood beneath the nail—a procedure that should only be conducted by a trained medical professional.
While this condition develops due to various reasons, the repetitive motions of snowboarding are a common winter cause. Our office offers several different treatments for Achilles tendonitis including:
- Physical therapy
- Regenerative medicine, including MLS Laser Therapy and biologics
- Education about at-home treatments and preventing further issues
Stretched and Torn Ligaments
Awkward landings and sudden twists in winter sports frequently injure foot and ankle ligaments. Podiatrists offer assistance by diagnosing this condition and determining if the severity of the injury requires rest, a cast, a splint, crutches, or even surgery.
Winter footwear that doesn’t fit quite right creates friction and leads to blisters. Most blisters can be treated at home, but if they’re especially painful, affect your gait, or cause an infection, your podiatrist will drain it.
A neuroma is a buildup of tissue that forms when there’s excess pressure or impact around nerves in the ball of the foot. Skiers, snowboarders, and ice skaters frequently experience neuromas, which our office treats with custom orthotics and guidance about choosing better footwear and padding and taping methods to prevent future issues.
If you suffer a winter sports injury, the team at Canyon Foot + Ankle in Burley and Twin Falls can help you get back on your feet and return to the sports you love.
Preventing Winter Sports Injuries
Take the following precautions to ensure good foot and ankle health.
Get Your Body Ready
Before tackling your favorite winter sport, be sure you stretch, warm up, and ease into advanced maneuvers. And listen to your body: err on the side of safety, particularly if you’re already feeling fatigued. Pay attention to signals such as numbness or pain that indicate it’s time for a break.
Choose the Right Footwear Fit
If your hiking, snow, ski, or snowboard boots, snowshoes, or ice skates are too tight or loose, this causes many problems. Always try on gear with the socks you intend to wear to ensure a proper fit. Learn the proper lacing techniques, and consider using padding, bandages, or moleskin to prevent blisters and chafing.
Weather Appropriate Clothing
If you’re going to be outdoors in cold temperatures, make sure your clothing keeps you warm and dry. This includes water-tight footwear and plenty of sweat-wicking layers. It’s also a good idea to have spare socks available to change into if you’re planning daylong outings.