Skiier’s Toe & Tips for Staying on the Slopes

Hopefully, we are through the snowy, cold winter in Ohio. While the snow storm “Nemo” did not hit Columbus as hard as it did along states bordering the Atlantic Ocean, there is still plenty of snow and cold in the area for people to enjoy some fun winter activities! Skiiers and snowboarders alike have been able to take advantage of the weather at nearby ski resorts such as Mad River Mountain in Zanesfield, OH. As with any sporting activity, there are always risks of foot and ankle injury and ways to prevent such injuries from occurring!

While knee injuries are the most common of all ski injuries, the alignment and function of the foot can play a role in the development of these problems. The kinetic chain is the term used to describe the interrelated motion between the foot, leg, knee, hip and so on continuing up through the head and neck that allows motion to occur. Due to its critical role as the base of the chain, any problems in the foot can translate to mean problems in the knee, hip or back. In downhill skiing, the foot pronates to maintain control by edging skis into the slope. When an individual suffers from overpronation, this exaggerates the motion required for control and can cause a variety of problems. Pronation rotates the leg towards the middle of the body, a position that can increase the chances of a knee injury. Overpronation can also cause the outside or the heel and foot to rub against the inside of ski boots. This rubbing can result in soreness or even painful blisters or callus formation in points of rubbing. Custom orthotics can be used to correct overpronation and other mechanical deformities to allow the foot to function more efficiently for skiing. Much like custom orthotics in shoes, the ski boot must fit properly in order for the orthotic to be effective. Boots that are not long enough or wide enough will continue to cause pain regardless of what orthotic is used.

Boot fit also contributes to another common problem in skiing called “skiier’s toe”. Skiier’s toe appears as a darkening underneath the toenail. Toes often naturally slide forward in a boot while skiing, but a properly fitted boot should not be too tight at the toes or allow too much sliding. When toes hit the front of a boot excessively, bruising and a hematoma develop causing a portion of the toenail to appear black or dark brown. Small hematomas may be drained by your podiatrist if seen within a few days of their development. In some cases, if the blood has pooled under more than half of the nail, the nail may need to be removed to relieve pressure on the area.

Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

Columbus Podiatry & Surgery has opened a new location in Gahanna, near Easton. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.

If you would like to be seen by our podiatrists in Dublin, Ohio near Tuttle Crossing, call 614-859-3338 (FEET) for an appointment.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia