Skating is a popular and exhilarating activity enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. Whether you are gliding gracefully on ice skates or maneuvering through a skate park on rollerblades, the freedom and joy of skating can be truly exhilarating.
However, for some individuals, the experience of skating is marred by foot pain. If you find yourself asking, “Why does my feet hurt when I skate?”, you are not alone.
Some common causes behind aching feet after skating sessions are ill-fitting footwear, inadequate arch support, incorrect blade alignment, shoes with poor shock absorption, and a lack of foot strength and dexterity.
Common Causes of Foot Discomfort & Foot Injuries in Skating
1. Improper Skates Fit
Ill-fitting skates are a primary cause of foot pain during skating:
- Tight skates can compress the feet, causing pressure points and restricting blood
- Meanwhile, loose skates can lead to excessive movement and friction. You may even “stub” your toes against the inside of the shoes.
2. Inadequate Arch Support
Insufficient arch support in skates can result in excessive strain on the arches of the feet. Skaters asking, “Who do my arches hurt?” tend to find themselves with conditions like plantar fasciitis, where the band of tissue that supports the arch becomes inflamed.
3. Incorrect Blade Alignment
This can affect the distribution of weight on the feet, leading to pain in the sole of foot. In addition, it can cause excessive pressure on certain areas, like the side of foot, leading to soreness and irritation.
4. Inadequate Shock Absorption
Skating on hard ice surfaces without sufficient shock absorption can transmit excessive impact forces to the feet, leading to foot pain. It can contribute to conditions such as Charley horse, inside of foot cramps, stress fractures, etc.
If the bottom of your feet hurt, this is the most likely culprit.
5. Lack of Foot Strength & Flexibility
Weak foot muscles and subpar flexibility, usually as a result of insufficient stretching, can contribute to foot pain. This is because your legs are quicker to get fatigued, while poor flexibility can limit the feet’s range of motion, causing strain and top of foot pain.
6. Overuse & Fatigue
Skating for extended periods or engaging in intense training sessions without proper rest can lead to overuse injuries, such as tendonitis or stress fractures. Overworked muscles and tissues can become inflamed, prompting foot pain.
Foot Pain Prevention Techniques
- Choose a well-fitted pair of shoes. Typically, skates will be 5-1 size smaller than your actual shoe sizes.
- Consider using custom orthotic inserts or arch support insoles to provide additional cushioning and support to your feet.
- Regularly check the alignment of your skate blades. Consult a professional if you suspect misalignment.
- Consider using gel pads, toe caps, or moleskin padding to provide additional cushioning and protect vulnerable areas of the feet from friction and pressure.
- Exercises like toe curls, picking up small objects with your toes, and using resistance bands can help strengthen the foot muscles and alleviate pain.
- Before skating, perform gentle stretches to warm up the muscles and increase flexibility. Focus on calf stretches, ankle rotations, and toe stretches to prepare your feet for the demands of skating.
Foot Pain Relief Techniques
- Take a break. Remove your skates and allow your feet to rest and recover!
- Apply ice packs or cold compresses to the affected area for 20 minutes to reduce inflammation and numb the pain.
- Gently stretch your feet and calves to relieve tension and improve flexibility.
- You can also massage your feet with your hands or a massage ball to help relax the muscles and alleviate discomfort.
- If the foot pain persists or becomes severe, you should seek help from a healthcare professional or a podiatrist.
Foot pain when skating can be a frustrating and limiting experience that hinders the joy and performance of this exhilarating sport.
However, now that you know the answer to “Why does my feet hurt when skating?” and have effective prevention and relief techniques up your sleeves, you can take control of their comfort and well-being on the ice and rink!
Harrison is a skating enthusiast who picked up the sport during her student exchange years in Canada. She has been a skating coach for children and teens for 3 years and now holds classes as a freelancer. Harrison entwines her experience leading skating classes in the content published on Cora to help readers fall in love with skating, just like she did.