If you are a hockey player, the most important piece of equipment is no doubt going to be your skates. You spent time at the pro shop with a fitting specialist trying on various styles of skate boots to achieve the best fit possible. One area of the fit that is often missed is support for underneath your foot. Having the right support and contact for your foot will increase skating performance, reduce pressure points, and can help prevent and relieve many foot and lower limb complaints and injuries which may occur while in skates for extended periods of time.
Skating is different from walking and running. It places stress on the sides of the feet, ankles, arches, and ball of the foot. Some common complaints from players whom we help treat at Healthy Steps are numbness in toes, painful pressure points caused by bony prominences from the ankle and navicular bone. General muscle soreness and fatigue are also common issues. Some players will face more serious injuries such as over-use tendon disorders, plantar fasciitis and metatarsalgia.
The insole of the skate, the part that is under the foot, is important because it holds the entire body weight. If the insole is not fitting well or not holding and supporting the foot correctly your skating performance will suffer, and you are more likely to develop an injury. Custom Orthotics will give you the best possible fit and support between your foot and the skate. When skating and pushing off, your arch will already be in contact with the orthotic; not allowing your foot to drop or roll down and inwards. This immediately transfers the energy from your legs, through the orthotic, into the skate and finally to the ice. This same type of energy transfer will occur during stopping, cornering and other maneuvers. Overall, skating performance will be improved by providing a more responsive skate. Turns will be sharper, more immediate power with push off and quicker stopping.
Custom Orthotics are made from a cast and molded to match the exact shape of the foot eliminating any gap between the foot and skate. Specially designed skate orthotics will align the foot within the skate improving pressure distribution on the bottom and sides of the foot and ankle. By reducing pressure and helping with alignment blood flow will be improved and your foot will be better supported. Stabilizing the foot within the skate can lessen the load on muscles that can be overworked if not supported well.
We can also modify the skate boot to relieve pressure on prominent bones rubbing or causing blisters. This is done by using heat and specific tools to punch out areas or by applying accommodating cushioning materials.