It’s finally starting to feel like winter! Although it hasn’t snowed yet, we can prepare to bring out our skis, snowboards, ice skates, and sleds. Winter sports are extremely fun and something we look forward to every year. Whether it’s a casual stroll on ice skates or zipping down a snow-covered mountain, people of all ages and skill levels mingle together and play in the snow. Here are a few things to watch out for that can help keep you, and especially your feet and your ankles safe.

SKIING: Unless you’re a pro, you’re most likely renting skis for the winter. If you own your own skis, make sure they aren’t worn down and that all of the components are working correctly. A latch that doesn’t click all the way or boots that don’t snap in anymore can cause serious injury if they come loose while skiing. If you are renting, you need to make sure your feet fit just right. If your feet are too cramped or the boots are too big, it will cause a lot of pain and can create blisters or achy feet and toes. Boots that don’t fit properly can also make you more prone to hurting your ankle if you fall.

SNOWBOARDS: The rules are generally the same with snowboards. The fit of your boots must be correct and you must wear thick socks. Bring a change of extra socks in case snow gets into your boots or your feet get sweaty. You board should also be freshly waxed when the season begins to help give you a smoother glide and prevent nicks on your board from catching and causing you to wipe out.

ICE SKATES: If you’re an occasional ice skater, or it’s your first time going, be very, very careful if you want to try some of those professional moves, twists and turns you see on TV. It’s not as easy as it looks. Ice skates, even if they fit well, can still give you blisters on your heels so wear double layered socks or put on Band-Aids before the blisters form. If your ankles are weak, wear ankle braces so that if you slip and fall, your ankles are protected.

SLEDS: Wear many layers of clothing that are waterproof or at least quick, drying and warm. Also wear boots, a hat, gloves, and any other protective gear you may have. Sleds may seem the safest, but they can get out of control and be especially dangerous if there is an obstacle in the way. Snow can also prevent you from seeing what’s actually there, so try to avoid anything that is sticking out.

Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center has been treating patients in the Centreville, VA area for over seventeen years. If you have any questions call our office at 703-996-300 or make an appointment here.

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