When it comes to hockey, I have two thoughts immediately: 1. I’m always jealous of those who grew up playing ice hockey and 2. I never envy ice skaters’ feet. I grew up in a town with a big high school, but not big enough to have a hockey rink, so we never had a hockey team. Now that I am a foot and ankle surgeon, I have no regrets when it comes to my feet. In fact, I often tell patients that they didn’t do anything to make their feet worse, but hockey skates are one of those exceptions.
Notably, lace bite is a condition associated with significant pain across the top of the foot that is caused directly by lacing of skates. The pain is from an inflammatory response along the extensor hallucis longus tendon and often seen after purchasing new or stiffer skates. When the foot tries to bend, the top of the foot and the tendon right underneath it become irritated from the stiff lacing up-front.
There are plenty of treatment options for lace bite and, thankfully, none are surgical. As with most inflammatory conditions, rest and anti-inflammatories can often be the answer, while padding and softening the skates will go a long way as well. If you or someone you know suffers from lace bite and these treatments aren’t helping, please contact our office in either Avon or Frisco to come see our doctors.