How Dangerous is Skiing for My Feet?

Skiing is a fantastic sport with high thrills and enjoyment. But there are also some high risks, especially to your feet and ankles. Each year, over 600,000 people are treated for skiing-related injuries with up to 37% of those injuries occurring in the lower extremities.

Skier’s Toe (Subungual Hematoma)

If your ski or snowboard boots are too tight or short in the toe box, it can put pressure on your toenails and cause a subungual hematoma. This is essentially a bruise under the toenail that causes the nail to appear black and may result in painful pressure building up. Avoiding this is easy if you wear properly padded socks and allow for enough room within the toe box of your boots.


Another possible result of tight boots, particularly in the toe box, is the development of a neuroma. Usually occurring in the ball of the foot between the third and fourth toes, this nerve injury can cause pain, tingling, or eventual numbness. Make sure your bindings and boots allow for enough room for toes to spread out and be comfortable.

Ankle Sprains

It may seem strange to think you can still get a sprained ankle in those heavy, high boots required for skiing and snowboarding, but this is a common winter sports injury. Sprains occur when the foot is twisted or bent inward as the skier lands on the outside of their foot. Sprained ankles are more common in skiers since the nature of skis allows for this sideways twist while snowboard configurations do not. Improperly fitted boots with gaps around the ankle can also contribute to the risk of ankle sprains.


Although not the worst of all possible injuries, nothing can ruin a day of skiing like a painful blister in the wrong place. Too tight or wrong-shaped boots rubbing through thin socks can lead to sores, bruises, and blisters. Be sure your boots are comfortable and don’t rub anywhere. Avoid borrowing boots from a friend and test rentals before you head out to the slopes.


A little more on the serious side, foot and ankle fractures can occur during skiing and snowboarding. These generally happen during collisions with people or objects or from unsuccessful jumps and tricks. Excessively tight bindings and boots can contribute to your risk of a fracture.

Don’t fret, you can still enjoy your favorite winter ski spot without fear of these injuries. Just be sure to wear the proper gear, use good judgment when choosing your slopes, and drop by your podiatrist beforehand for a foot and ankle evaluation so you can be sure to start out ski season with healthy feet and ankles. Call the FAAWC today!

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