Why do my hockey skates hurt my ankles? Honestly, ankle pain from wearing hockey skates can be a nightmare. The pain is often unbearable and can affect your performance while in action. So many things can go wrong, causing ankle pains when you wear your hockey skates.
Below is a quick rundown of why your hockey skates hurt your ankles!
- Ill-fitting Hockey Skates
- Not Wearing Proper Socks for Ice Hockey
- Pronation and Supination
- Overuse Injury from Overplaying
- Weak Ankle Muscles
- Fall Injuries and other Hockey Related Injury
- Too tight Lacing
- Using thicker Insoles
Why Do my Hockey Skates Hurt My Ankles?
Guess what? This is only the tip of the iceberg. I cover details of why your hockey skates hurt your ankles in the rest of this guide. You don’t want to miss out on this, so I urge you to read on till the end. Let’s get it!
1. Ill-fitting Hockey Skates
Ill-fitting hockey skates are probably the number one cause for hockey skates that hurt the ankles. But what’s an ill-fitting hockey skate? You ask. An ill-fitting hockey skate fits tightly and exerts compression forces on the ankles.
There shouldn’t be too much pressure around the ankle area because it can hurt the ankle bone and muscles. This is why you only want to wear snug-fitting hockey skates, which are neither too small nor too big for your feet.
The rule of thumb is to wear hockey skates 1-1.5 size smaller than your street shoes. This way, you give your feet enough room in your hockey skates. Another way to solve the problem is to have your hockey skates ‘punched out.’ This creates more room for the ankle bone and helps reduce friction between your ankles and the ankle support.
Alternatively, it would help to switch to hockey skates with built-in ankle support. The best ones provide comfort and relax the ankle muscles and bone. Overall, this helps alleviate ankle pain and gives you the peace of mind you need to play stress-free.
Other ways to go about it if you can’t acquire hockey skates with built-in ankle support are;
- Using lace-up ankle braces
- Wearing athletic taping
- Using elastic ankle support
2. Not Wearing Proper Socks for Ice Hockey
Proper socks for ice skating are neither too thick nor too thin. Your hockey skates are probably hurting your ankles because you wear too thin or too thin socks. Or, probably you don’t wear socks at all (which is highly unlikely).
The problem with too thin socks is that they don’t provide enough padding around the ankles. Consequently, there’ll be much rubbing around that area, resulting in ankle pains.
On the other hand, too thick hockey skates prevent friction between your ankles and ankle support on the skates. However, this is a case of solving one problem then creating another. How’s that so, you ask? Thicker socks rub the ankles, which turn sore when you play longer.
3. Pronation and Supination
Pronation and supination are feet and ankle medical conditions. While pronation is when your feet bend or incline inwards, supination is when your feet bend or incline outwards around the ankle joints. These two are medical conditions that you can only know for sure after seeing a doctor.
If you feel the pain inside the bones, chances are high you could be having pronation and supination. Besides that, it’s easy to tell if you have these medical conditions from how your feet are aligned. If they’re aligning inwards, that’s pronation, but if it’s outwards, you have supination.
4. Overuse Injury from Overplaying
Overuse injuries are caused by too much pressure around the ankles, making them sore. Ice hockey is fun. I get it! However, most players can’t resist the urge to keep playing for longer hours.
Unfortunately, this is one of the main reasons why ankles hurt when playing hockey. Moderation is key in almost everything. So, you want to avoid playing when it’s not necessary.
5. Weak Ankle Muscles
Weak ankle muscles can be the reason behind your hurting ankles. This is especially possible if you have new hockey boots and yet to break them in. There are two ways to solve this problem.
First, you can heat mold them to fit into your feet without the hassle. Two, you can do ankle and feet exercises to strengthen the muscles. This way, you get your ankle muscles used to skating in your new boots.
More reading: What Muscles does Ice Skating Work?
6. Fall Injuries and other Hockey Related Injury
Injuries are common when playing hockey. However, the most common way to pick hockey injuries is to fall on the ice or hit a hockey stick or puck. Though the pain may be insignificant in the onset, it can worsen after repetitive falling or taking the hits.
The best solution is to take pain killers like ibuprofen and allow the pain to go away. After that, you should wear your hockey skates and play stress-free. However, if the pain persists, it’s best to seek medical attention for further assistance.
7. Too tight Lacing
When you tie your laces up too tight, it can also cause the skates to hurt your ankles. When hockey skates are too tight, they exert pressure and compression forces on the ankle area. Sadly, your ankles may hurt if you don’t have hockey skates with built-in ankle support or you don’t wear ankle braces.
The rule of thumb is to lace up moderately. This means your hockey skates should be neither too tight nor too loose after lacing up. Always consider the balance. This way, it’s hard to have them hurt your ankles when playing.
8. Using thicker Insoles
Insoles are crucial when playing hockey because they help prevent blistering and cramps. However, when they’re too thick, it beats the logic of having them. The reason behind this is that they raise your feet, causing the ankle bone to rub on the edge of the punch out of the ankle support.
As always, moderation is key. So, you only want to have moderately thick insoles to help prevent blisters while not promoting ankle pain.
How Tight Should Hockey Skates Be Around the Ankle?
Hockey skates should be a snug fit around the ankles to help prevent ankle pains. Too tightly fitting laces exert compression forces on the ankles, making them sore and painful. You’ll want to avoid that!
How Do I Stop My Ankles from Hurting when I Skate?
There are several ways to stop your ankles from hurting, which we’ve already looked at. However, here’s the quick summary!
- Wear properly fitting hockey skates with built-in ankle support
- Use alternative ankle support like athletic taping and lace-up ankle braces
- Have someone punch out your hockey skates to create more room for the ankle bone. You can also do it yourself using this Handheld boot punch tool on Amazon.
- Wear the recommended socks for hockey skating—neither too tight nor too thin
- Take painkillers then seek medical attention if the pain persists
- Lace up properly—should be a snug fit
- Exercise your feet and ankle muscles to strengthen them for hockey
- Heat mold new hockey skates before breaking them in
- Avoid overplaying if you can
Why Do My Hockey Skates Hurt My Ankles? Wrapping Up
Ankles that hurt when playing hockey aren’t a cool experience. This can affect your productivity in the rink and may stop you from playing altogether. However, it doesn’t need to end that way when you can take the recommendation in this guide. I hope you found this guide helpful!