How do you avoid foot cramps when skating? Foot cramps when ice skating or skateboarding or when doing any other kind of skating sucks. But it’s not like there’s nothing you can about them. In this post, you get to learn why skaters experience foot cramps, most important, what you can do about this annoyance and pain.
Related: Why Does My Foot Hurt When Roller Skating?
What Are Foot Cramps When Skating?
Foot cramps are essentially a sharp pain that skateboarders, ice skaters, roller skaters, and inline skaters have to deal from time to time. This pain affects typically affects the feet although it can happen to any of the other muscles. These muscle spasms are usually felt inside the arch of the foot as well as on the big toe according to Your Family Foot Care.
They don’t last long (they usually last no longer than a few minutes), but foot cramps can be pretty annoying. In some cases, cramps can make skating completely impossible to do, at least for some time. Some skaters find that massaging the feet or resting for some time tends to lessen or eliminate the pain.
Why Does a Skater’s Feet Cramp?
Foot cramps happen to skaters some of the time, and there’s a bunch of reasons they do. The most common causes of these foot cramps include muscle overuse, staying in one position for too long, and dehydration. Many new skaters experience this situation, but it resolves with time for the most part.
Even though it seems like some people are born to skate, there’s nothing natural about the sport itself. When pushing off the ground on some board with wheels or gliding around an ice rink on ice skates, you use muscles you naturally don’t use.
It takes some time for these muscles to get accustomed to this new way you’re using them, and foot cramps may or may not happen during the acclimatization process. This isn’t saying that only beginner skaters ever experience foot cramps.
What to Do About Skating-caused Foot Cramps
Below are a few suggestions on what to do when afflicted by foot cramps.
1. Tough It Out Until Foot Cramps Vanish
I’m not saying keep pushing even when doing so proves to be extremely painful. Rather, I’m saying to realize that skating may cause some discomfort initially. And that for many skaters, these discomforts resolve on and you don’t have to do a thing to make them go away.
Just keep going, and once your muscles finally get used to the new way your skating uses them, you’ll experience the issues less frequently if at all.
2. Rest If You Have to; Just Don’t Quit Unless You Must
Many skateboarders and other kinds of skaters have noticed that when they rest for a while during a session, the foot cramps disappear. And they can often continue skating without issues afterward.
But the discomfort tends to return after some time, usually in the span of 10-15 minutes. Here’s the thing: don’t push yourself through pain, but if resting for a moment or two makes the situation better for you, why not?
3. Eat Right: Consume Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium, and Potassium
Many experts say that including the right nutrients in your meals is a good way to keep foot cramps at bay. WebMD recommends consuming electrolytes such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium to stop foot cramps.
Bananas are a rich source for potassium, magnesium, and calcium. If you get in the habit of eating those yellow-sheathed fruits, you stand to get 3 of the 4 recommended nutrients into your body.
Most experienced skaters eat bananas and encourage beginners to do the same because they’ve found this delicacy to be a natural path toward foot cramp relief.
Do you know what provides larger amounts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium? It’s sweet potatoes, avocado, pumpkins, and regular potatoes according to the experts over at WebMD.
4. Warm Up the Muscles on Your Foot Soles Before Skating
Many skaters know that one of the best ways to deal with foot cramps is warming up the muscles on the soles of the feet just before skating.
When you do off-ice or off-rink warm-up, you jump-start blood flow to the arches and ankles before you hit the skating surface. Here’s what works best for most skaters: toe raises, heel raises, and even foot massage.
5. Could it be a Skate Fit Issue?
If your toes do lots of gripping in the skate or skate shoes, cramps might happen. Usually, gripping happens because the skates/shoes are too big or the wearer tied them up too loose.
One way to get a tighter fit is to change how you lace up or buckle up your skates/skateboard shoes. Another way is to insert thicker, better quality insoles. And if the skates are designed for heat molding, you can bake them in the oven, or have an expert do the heat-molding for you.
I also suggest that you visit a Local Hockey Store and get fitted for skates. Nothing works better than custom-fitted ice skates, roller skates, or inline skates.
6. Get Better Ice Skates, Skate Shoes, or Other Skates
All too often, beginner skaters keep using skates that no longer work well for their current skating ability. Suppose you got into ice skating with entry-level boots such as Riedell Diamonds.
Now, the Riedell Diamonds are great boots for recreational ice skating. But in most cases, these boots are pretty much dead within 1 year of purchase assuming you use them regularly.
If you try to do any kind of serious jumps on the ice with these rec-level boots, you might notice that the bottom of your feet starts to cramp after a while. Because these stunts are simply way beyond the capacity 0f the Riendell Diamonds.
Lesson: If you grow a pair of beginner ice skates or other kinds of skates, be willing to upgrade to better-quality skates. Skates that can handle the whole new level of expertise your consistent practice has evolved into over time.
7. Use a Massage Ball to Roll Out Your Foot Soles
It’s unfortunate that most of us start taking care of our feet when it’s too late, when foot cramps and pain have already set in. But you don’t need to wait until the last minute to give your feet the kind of tender loving care they really deserve.
One great way to TLC your feet as a skater is to roll the soles out using a massage ball. But what’s the point of rolling the soles out at all?
Foot muscles and related connective tissue endure stress from overuse, injury, and poor mechanics. As a result, these muscles and fascia become sort of impaired and when this occurs, tension increases, inflammation happens, and mobility suffers a blow (in some cases).
In the grand scheme of scheme of things, the person endures foot pain and general discomfort. And if nothing is done to improve this situation, the skater ends up skating less and less, or not at all.
But things don’t need to go this way when you could do something to make things better before they get worse. If you can put the weight of your body to some good use, you can avert suffering and make skating a more enjoyable experience.
We can use our body to easily roll out the areas under stress to relief foot cramps, foot pain, and kick off the process that leads to complete recovery.
What to Use to Roll Out the Bottom of Your Soles As a Skater
Chances are that you have everything you need to roll out your soles at home. You can use a frozen water bottle, a tennis ball, a golf ball, or a lacrosse ball for this super important task. Using any of these readily available items allows a skater to deeply massage tissue on the bottom of the feet.
The amount of pressure or cushioning you need determines the kind of ball you need. If you need a bit of really intense pressure when rolling out your soles, use a lacrosse ball. And if you’re looking for a softer foot tissue massage, definitely go for a tennis ball as it’s not as firm.
If you have any kind of tissue inflammation, consider using a frozen water bottle for the exercise. Frozen water does a really good job of relieving tension and tackling tissue inflammation, decreasing discomfort.
What if you want something frozen but not necessarily a water bottle? No worries, you can always use a frozen golf ball to achieve similar results.
How to Roll Out the Bottom of Your Soles
The beauty of this exercise is that it doesn’t require any kind of specialized knowledge or expertise to carry out. And below is how to do it:
Step #1: Locate a comfortable sitting position around your house. Maybe that’s the basement, living room, bedroom, or wherever that might be for you.
Step #2: Sit down and place your feet in a comfortable position in front of you.
Step #3: Place the tool you’re using on the floor, place your foot on the ball, bottle, or foam roller and start the exercise.
Step #4: Begin rolling from the ball of the foot and proceed to the inside of the arch all the way down to the heel. Once you reach the heel area, start going in reverse, ending up around the toes in the front.
As you roll out, you want to apply as much pressure or firmness as you’re able to tolerate. But if the little exercise leads to too much pain or discomfort, it’s time to either switch to something less firm or simply reduce the amount of pressure you’re applying.
How long should you work on each foot? About 3-5 minutes is all you need to do a thorough job of this all-important activity. Be nice and slow and steady. The goal of this activity is to decrease tissue tension and reduce overall foot stiffness.
Note: If after following the above steps don’t deliver the kind of results you expected and the pain still lingers, it’s time to see a foot health specialist.
Putting It Together
Foot cramps are foot muscle and tissue-focused spasms that tend to happen unexpectedly to skaters and other people. The sufferer experiences a sharp pain and discomfort across the arch and the entire foot.
While foot cramps don’t typically last longer than mere minutes, they can be really painful and can even cause you to stop skating momentarily. Fortunately, there’s at least 7 strategies you can use to deal with this common issue in skating.
Massaging foot tissue and the bottom of the soles using foam rollers, a frozen water bottle, or a tennis/lacrosse/golf ball is a highly effective way of solving foot cramps.
Eating foods rich in calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium including avocado, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and bananas. Wearing properly fitted skateboard shoes and skates is another way to sidestep the issue as is cultivating a proper skating technique.
Let me know if you found any of the suggestions provided in this post useful and if applying any of them to your situation helped.