We welcome all kinds of people into the Ski Boot Lab, all looking for the holy grail of skiing: a comfortable ski boot with the right level of performance. During appointments we hear all manner of questions about all kinds of issues, and here we tackle a frequently asked question: why do my calves hurt when I ski?
To answer this question we look at all aspects contributing to this discomfort, but the primary reason is that fundamentally, your calves are stretched in the flexed position for a prolonged period when skiing.
Calves are stretched in the flex position
The pressure on your calves when skiing can be crippling and in the worst cases, cut your ski day right down. When skiing we are in a flexed position that is not natural for most people. If your calf muscles are already tight, when you flex forwards into your ski position you are stretching these muscles to the max, so if they are not used to it they will eventually become tired and painful.
Here are some tried and tested solutions:
1. Advance preparation
Preparing your calves for ski trips is essential so make sure you stretch and use a foam roller if possible to lengthen these muscles, so you can happily ski all day. In the video below Dr Craig Mclean shows you some of the key exercises to help prevent a calf pain crisis.
2. Address limited ankle flexion
Another reason that your ankle flexion can be limited is if you have a bony ‘blockage’ – so however much you stretch you will not be able to flex any further forwards in the boots.
Adding a heel lift to the boots can relieve tension in the calves and under the forefoot. When ankle flexion is limited your heel has to lift to allow contact with the front of the boots. The heel lift fills the void under the heel, takes the tension out of the calves and allows contact across the whole foot again bringing welcome relief.
3. Get your ski boots adjusted
A consequence of not having enough ankle flexion is that you can end up skiing ‘in the back seat’ because you can’t get forward.
Ski boots are built with forward lean to put you into a good ski position, so if you don’t have that flexion you will be standing more upright and will end inevitably up with pressure on the calves. We can make custom modifications to your ski boots such as lowering or removing the spoiler in the back of the boot. This will allow you to stand more upright and relieve pressure.
4. Are you wearing the right sized ski boots?
One of the biggest causes of calf pressure is simply not having enough volume or space in the boot. Certain boot models are better than others as they flare at the cuff and liner at the top to accommodate a larger calf.
Using the micro-adjustments and setting the buckles on their loosest setting will relieve tension. Removing or lowering spoilers will also create vital space. Here’s our guide to boot buckling:
5. Visit Profeet – the professional boot fitters
The best way to ensure you have the best fit possible is to make an appointment with one of our professional ski boot fitters. We will assess your stance and can either fit new and better boots that will accommodate your calves or can customise your existing boots to try to attain greater comfort.
Call 020 7736 0046 to book your appointment.