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Skiing and the Feet

The feet and ankles are of particular importance in skiing, thus is it vital that we keep them happy and healthy by putting preventative measures in place to avoid common complaints such as blisters and sprains.

The Skin

Blisters occur when frictional forces are increased on the foot. Forces applied to the skin will prevent it from moving whilst the underlying skeletal structures continue to move, resulting in shearing stress which traumatises cellular layers causing them to fill with fluid. The increase of frictional forces can be caused by, moisture, heat and ill-fitting ski boots.

Blisters can occur on any area subjected to increased frictional forces, however the most common areas are bony prominences such as the ankle joint, the top of the foot, under the ball of the foot, the toes and the front of the shins where they come into contact with your boots.

Your socks, clothing and ski boots can all play a part in the prevention of blisters.

It is vital to keep the feet warm and dry to prevent blistering and/or other skin associated conditions. Your socks should be moisture wicking to keep the feet dry (avoid cotton material) as moisture retained in the socks will result in blisters. DO NOT layer up on socks, one thin moisture wicking pair is advised by Podiatrists and Ski specialists alike. Merino wool socks will regulate foot temperature and keep them dry.

 If the Boot Fits

Your ski boots play a vital role in maintaining happy healthy skin and furthermore provide support and stability to the foot and ankle.

A correctly fitted ski boot will reduce the risk of detrimental frictional forces and resulting blisters. Ill fitting ski boots (tight fitting or too lose) are precursors of blisters. 

Diabetic associated foot conditions and Raynauds (a circulatory condition) are made worse by Ill fitting ski boots.

Take time to carefully choose the best fitting boot for you. Consider the length (not too loose or tight), the depth and width of the toe box and the rigidity of the heel counter (area around the back of the heel and ankle). A rigid heel counter will prevent the foot from moving into a greater angle of medial (rolling in) and lateral (rolling out) rotation, reducing the risk of sprains, soft tissue damage (muscle, ligament, tendons and connective tissue) and bone trauma.

Motion analyses

The movements required in Skiing apply a greater force on the medial (inner) forefoot and medial knee than on any other part of the body. An underlying discrepancy in your biomechanical alignment can hinder the required skiing postures, resulting in an overload of tissues and joints or compensatory movements, both of which can lead to injury of soft tissue or bone.

A podiatrist will carry out a biomechanical assessment considering your feet, knees and hips, their associated soft tissue attachments, and their relationship to the required movement in skiing. 

Call our friendly team for more information on biomechanical assessment or to book an appointment. 

Largs: 01475 64 88 38  Troon: 01292 737350