Snowboarding is a great experience once you get the hang of it. However, it’s most definitely a physically demanding sport.
Suffering from foot pain is the most common complaint amongst snowboarders. Here are some quick fixes to try if your feet hurt when snowboarding.
Your feet may hurt when snowboarding due to an improper setup, strained muscles, bad circulation, or other medical conditions. If you are experiencing pain and numbness in your feet, you should ensure you have the proper setup, look into custom orthotics, and work on strengthening your muscles.
Ultimately, you shouldn’t be suffering while doing something you enjoy!
This article will go through common issues and some quick fixes. Let’s get you back on the hill!
Why Your Feet Are Hurting When Snowboarding
The most common cause of foot pain in snowboarders is your gear not fitting correctly. When your feet are in the wrong boots and strapped down incorrectly, the circulation to your feet is going to suffer!
The first thing we should do is completely review your gear to make sure it fits your feet and how you ride.
1. Your Boots Aren’t Broken In
Just like getting a new pair of shoes, your boots will need to be broken in so they can form to your feet. They should feel snug but not uncomfortably tight.
If your liners are heat mouldable, that’s always a good start. Here’s a guide on heat moulding your boots.
Your boots may hurt your feet before they are broken in, but this should only last for a few sessions. You’ll know they’re the wrong boots for you if there’s any pain or numbness that continues after being broken in.
Having the proper boots fitted in the right size and the correct width will reduce the chances of having pain in your feet after riding.
2. You’re Wearing the Wrong Socks
It may sound odd, but snowboarding socks are one of the most underrated pieces of snowboard gear.
Regular socks tend to bunch up in your boots, putting pressure on your feet and restricting proper circulation, which can result in these issues. Your socks may also be too thick, which’ll cause the same problem.
It is also important to note that nothing else should be shoved in your boots. Your thermals and pants, for example, shouldn’t be tucked in your boot with your socks.
If you don’t already have some, these are the best specialized snowboard socks on the market.
3. Your Bindings Are the Wrong Size
It is essential to get the right size bindings for your boots and board. You should be able to adjust the toe ramp and heel cup, so your boots are centered, feel secure, and so your feet feel comfortable.
Adjust your toe and ankle straps to tightly secure your boot with the straps aligned in the middle of your boot. You shouldn’t need to over-tighten your bindings to feel secure.
4. Your Feet Aren’t Properly Supported
Understanding your feet will help you to understand which boot you need – and if extra support is required.
Your arches are a key player.
For example, if you have low arches (flat feet), you don’t have a proper arch in your foot.
While snowboarding, you may experience a burning sensation on the insteps, pain in the outer edge, or cramping in your feet. In this case, orthotics will help alleviate pain by giving your feet the proper support.
5. You’re Straining Your Plantar Fascia
If you’re experiencing pain in your arch and heel, the most common reason is the straining and overworking of the plantar fascia.
The plantar fascia is the ligament that connects the heel to the toes, and when stretched more than usual, it can cause pain and inflammation. Usually, this is caused during toe-side turns when the arch has extreme flattening with nothing to support it.
Proper foot support with orthotics can help you get the support your feet need.
6. You Have Restricted Blood Flow
Numbness is usually a result of your blood flow being restricted in some way.
For snowboarding, this is often caused by your boots fitting poorly, or your straps being too tight when securing them. As mentioned above, it can also be caused by wearing improper socks.
You may also experience numbness if the pressure on your cuneiform bone is higher than usual. This bone connects your ankle to your toes. If this is the case, try to gently lace boots and avoid the area of your cuneiform bone when strapping your foot to the board.
7. Other Medical Issues
If the explanations mentioned above don’t contribute to your foot pain, you should consider talking to your doctor for medical advice. They can put you in contact with a specialist to find out what’s causing your foot pain or numbness.
It’s imperative to take care of this as soon as possible to prevent nerve damage and chronic inflammation.
3 Quick Fixes For Foot Pain When Snowboarding
Your feet support your body and are designed to absorb shock. When your feet aren’t adequately supported and taken care of while snowboarding, it can cause pain, numbness, and other issues.
Here are some quick fixes to help if you are experiencing foot pain while snowboarding.
1. Go Over Your Setup
As mentioned above, the first thing you should do is check your gear. Get help from a professional fitter at your local shop to ensure your boots are the correct size, and that you’re strapping in correctly.
If you find your setup isn’t appropriate for you, that may be what’s contributing to your foot pain.
If your boots, bindings, and board all check out, then move on to the next step.
2. Custom Orthotics
This goes a bit beyond just walking into your local department store and picking up a pair of insoles. Foot orthotics are custom designed for your feet. Since your snowboarding stance is entirely different from walking or running with your regular shoes, you’ll need separate orthotics for your snowboarding boots.
Your snowboarding insoles are designed to give you full support and absorb shock, reducing the stress of impact on your muscles and joints.
They’re also designed to align your body and evenly distribute your weight. Keeping your body aligned will prevent injury from overuse and will help alleviate any foot pain you are experiencing.
Not only will custom orthotics help relieve your foot pain, but they’ll help your overall riding performance by providing the support needed for a proper stance, balance, and weight distribution.
3. Stretching and Strengthening
Not everyone has the ability to snowboard all year round. So, during the off season, it’s essential to take care of your feet with stretches to strengthen them, even if you aren’t in pain at the time.
That way, when you’re ready to get back out there, your feet will have little problem adjusting.
There are several ways to stretch and strengthen your feet.
Walking or running on the sand is an excellent workout for your feet and other areas, and has been recommended for snowboarders.
Rolling your foot over a tennis ball will help resolve discomfort in your arch and alleviate pain from plantar fasciitis. Another way to stretch the bottom of your feet is to pull back on your toes. You should feel the stretch from the toes to your heel.
Not only should you focus on your feet, but since you’re using most of your muscle groups while you’re snowboarding, you should keep those in shape as well.
Keeping your core strengthened is essential for any sport, including snowboarding. This’ll lessen the chance of injury and pain when you hit the slopes for the first time during the season.
Experiencing foot pain during or after snowboarding is an indicator that something is wrong, so don’t ignore it!
Go over your boots, bindings, and board to make sure everything is fitted for you and how you ride. If you’re still experiencing pain after trying the suggestions above, maybe see a physio or medic for medical advice.
Don’t ignore your foot pain thinking it’ll eventually go away. If left untreated, the condition can worsen and become chronic. Chronic foot pain can also affect your riding, which may lead to injury.
Also got pain in your calves? Read this.
Want to know how to size snowboard boots? Read this.