Winter sports such as skiing, ice skating and snowboarding are great fun and good for cardiovascular exercise. However, they can be linked to serious injuries so it is important to spend some time preparing before launching yourself down the slopes this winter.
- Before you start, check your feet for potential problems such as blisters, corns, bunions, fallen arches, etc. If necessary, seek professional help
- Start exercising slowly and build-up so you are ready to participate without serious injury, e.g. go to a gym, take lessons, exercise at home. Wobble board exercises are particularly good for knees and ankles and for improving balance.
- Healthy feet and ankles are used for steering, as shock absorbers, accelerators and brakes so it is important to start with some stretching to prevent muscle, ligament and tendon damage, making sure your muscles are warm before you start
- Boots need to be professionally fitted. They need to be snug without being tight as this can lead to blisters and corns and restrict circulation, and not too loose, which will not give the support needed to allow control and reduce injury
- It is generally recommended to wear one pair of thick socks made from a material which will ‘wick’ away any sweat e.g. cotton, wool, bamboo, silver
- Keeping your feet dry is very important because if they get wet and cold this can lead to chilblains or even frostbite. Keep boots dry and change socks regularly. A cream such as Akilwinter can help prevent chilblains and frostbite and can be used on the hands and face as well
- Common injuries include sprains, strains, Achilles Tendonitis, Plantar Fasciitis, blisters and chilblains but if you prepare well winter sports should be fun and painless!