If your child is signed up to play hockey this fall and winter, you'll likely be in the process of buying new equipment for him or her soon. While a helmet, shoulder pads, shin guards, and other protective gear can keep your child safe on the ice, you should also give some thought to the child's feet. Skates will protect the child's feet from pucks and sticks, but unless you take the right approach to foot care, you could end up having to take your child to see a local foot doctor because he or she is dealing with chronic foot pain as a result of playing hockey. Here are some steps that you can take to avoid common foot issues associated with wearing skates.
Ensure the Skates Fit Correctly
There's no doubt that skates can be expensive, which means that some parents try to stretch their dollar by buying larger skates that their children can grow into or trying to get their children to wear small, poorly fitting skates for one more season. Both approaches can be detrimental to the health of your child's feet. When skates are too small, blisters, sore toes, and ankle pain can develop. When the skates are too large, your child's feet can slide around in the skates, and this can lead to blisters. Visit a reputable ice-hockey equipment shop and have a trained fitter help you buy properly sized skates for your child's feet.
Don't Shy Away from Insoles
Modern-day ice skates are more comfortable than their predecessors, but the fact remains that many skates don't have adequate arch support. This can put your child at risk of issues such as plantar fasciitis, a strain of the fascia on the bottom of the foot. If your child's skates have flat insoles, don't hesitate to visit your local foot-care store to get insoles made of foam or gel that provide proper support for the arches. If you can't find the right product, schedule a visit to a local foot doctor to have custom inserts made.
Air the Skates Out Between Uses
Hockey equipment, because of the amount of sweat it holds, can be notorious for the growth of bacteria. Athlete's foot and other similar issues can arise if your child is constantly putting his or her feet in wet skates. Make sure to dry the skates between each use by hanging them in a well-ventilated space rather than leaving them in the hockey bag. You can also use an antibacterial spray on the insides of the skates.