Common Ice Hockey Injuries to Feet and Ankles

There’s no question that ice hockey can be a dangerous sport – all those skate blades flying around at top speed have caused some horrible injuries in the NHL, from severed ears to concussions, skull fractures to a really close encounter with a goal post that’s too gruesome to describe here (it was Mark Howe of the Hartford Whalers, if you’re tempted to research the injury yourself).

But adults and kids alike love this exciting game, so it’s a good idea to become familiar with foot and ankle injuries that you’re likely to encounter, even as an amateur hockey player. Here are some highlights, brought to you by the podiatrists at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland.


A hockey player may be moving around all the time, but his feet aren’t. They’re firmly encased in hard skates, unable to move around. Combine that immobilization with the closeness of the cold ice, and you have a recipe for poor circulation. Whenever blood flow slows down, feet and toes – especially little ones – can’t stay warm. Players should take frequent breaks off the ice to avoid frostbite.

Lace Bite

Lace bite happens when ice hockey players wear skates that are either laced too tightly or whose tongue padding’s become worn down. With lace bite, the tendons in the lower leg, ankle, and/or foot become inflamed, sometimes so badly that a player can no longer put on her skates. To treat lace bite, Dr. Megan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig B. Frey, our qualified foot doctors, might recommend rest, icing of the sore tendons, and anti-inflammatory medications.

Sprains and Fractures

Collisions are hard to avoid in hockey and when they happen, feet and ankles can get damaged. Ankle sprains, torn ligaments, and broken bones of the feet and toes are all very common. A good warm up and stretching routine goes a long way toward preventing these types of injuries.

Prevent ice hockey injuries this season by

  • proper training and conditioning
  • following safety rules and avoiding dangerous tactics
  • using equipment that isn’t damaged or properly sized for the player.

If skating causes you pain or injury to your feet or ankles, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Frey or Dr. Oltmann for an appointment at our modern office in Solon. Our staff is happy to speak with you and arrange time for a consultation: call us at (440) 903-1041, or make an appointment online.