February 2010

Mr. Edge is a qualified skate technician with years and years of experience. He can answer your questions on boots, blades and foot problems related to your equipment. Questions will be answered in SKATING magazine and later posted on the web site.

Some time ago, I talked about an injury that was brought to my attention by a coach. Known as chronic compartment syndrome, this condition is similar to shinsplints but treated differently. Coach Sarah has e-mailed me with some news about her quick recovery from this particular injury.

"It's been a year since the fasciotomy and everything has been great. I have about a 4-inch scar and there's still a bit of puffiness where the fascia was cut (and I expect that part of my leg will always bulge a bit and be squishy since they cut through the fascia). I was able to go back on the ice less than three weeks after the surgery, as soon as the stitches were removed. The only pain I experienced skating occurred the first few weeks while doing moves that caused the edge of my boot to push into my leg where the incision was (back crossovers were probably the most painful)."

The reason I mention this is because there are a few lessons to be learned from Sarah's injury:
    If necessary, always get a second opinion if your body isn't responding to treatment.
    Staying in good health will allow your body to heal quickly.
    Never assume that any pain is just part of what skaters go through. There are reasons why skaters develop pain in specific areas of the body. When you first feel pain, and if pain persists, have it checked out.

I'm sure no one wants to go through the type of surgery that Sarah did, so use common sense and listen to your body when skating.

Now, let's move to our question-and-answers segment.

Q: I recently bought a new pair of skates, hoping it would prevent me from getting hot spots (located just above the ankle bone on my right foot) like I experienced with my old skates. It hasn't worked. What should I do?
Anastasia, Georgia

A: Although you don't say if it's your landing foot, you indicated that you put a lot of pressure on this foot when skating. You now have a size 9-wide boot. Perhaps your thinking was that if you got a wider-fitting boot around your ankles, it wouldn't rub as much because it would be too loose. The bottom line is that your boots most likely are too stiff for you, and you may start to develop a similar, if not the same, injury as Sarah had. My advice is to buy a properly fitted but less supportive boot.

Q: Despite wearing gel pads, I can't prevent getting blisters. I bought a new pair of boots about 10 months ago and they are already falling apart. What should I do?
Shannon, Brea, Calif.

A: First thing to do is understand that your skates are too big in the heel pocket and around your ankles. The fact that the insides are falling apart tells me that your feet must sweat a lot. It's common for the inside lining of boots to absorb the sweat from one's feet. The more your feet sweat, the sooner your boots start deteriorating on the inside.

I suggest starting with the proper size boot for your feet and then moving forward from there. If you're not already doing so, loosen up your laces, pull your tongues forward and let your boots dry out (outside of your skating bag) overnight. You might also want to put some medicated foot powder directly on your feet (underneath your tights) each time before you skate. This will reduce the amount of sweat that is transferred from your feet into the boot lining.

Just a quick note, I expect to have my yearly product review ready next month on boots, blades and other related equipment.

Mr. Edge

Mr. Edge and all related elements are property of Arena Sports & Consulting Services, Inc. ©2016. Send your questions to Mr. Edge via mail (Ask Mr. Edge, SKATING magazine, 20 First Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80906); FAX (719) 635-9548 or e-mail them online.

The opinions of Mr. Edge are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the U.S. Figure Skating or SKATING magazine. Remember, if you have problems with your feet, check with a doctor the problem may very well be with your boot, but it could be more serious. Check with your local pro shop for more information about boots and blades.