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  1. #1
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    Solutions for Ankle Problem with Boots

    I thought I'd direct this question here since there are plenty of skaters that have some good advice.

    As some of you know, I purchased new skates back in late December, and as most skaters are aware, new boots tend to cause calluses, or to gross everyone out, minor raw skin issues due to the upper ankle rubbing along the top of the boot.

    Anyway, on both my right and left feet, on the outside part of my upper ankles, I have had this skin issue since I got my new skates. What basically happens is after a while of skating, the specific part of my upper ankle starts to get uncomfortable feeling, probably from so much bending of the knees, which causes your ankle to rub back and forth in the boot. The affected spots get very tender, and sorry to be gross, but I basically have semi calluses, which are not exactly comfortable.

    I thought I found a decent solution, which *does* seem to help a lot. I purchased some of the self adhesive medical wrap, which is basically the same thing doctors use on you when you donate blood, for example. It's that kind of wrap that sticks to itself, but also has traction, or little grooves, on it. I started using that to wrap my ankle, and then I'd wrap around another layer with some padding (usually thick moleskin or some makeup pads) over the tender spot. To top it off, I also have the thin silicon sleeve for my ankle, which is an added benefit.

    Anyway, it still doesn't seem to do the trick because no matter what, your upper ankle, especially in stiffer boots, will still keep moving in the boot, and after enough time, there will still be that friction on your skin, no matter what you do.

    So.....I know this is a very common issue with skaters, so I'm interested to hear what all of you think. I feel the only way to really "cure" the issue is to not skate for a week or so and let my ankles & skin heal. They get super tender after skating for a while, and I've run out of solutions.

    Perhaps soak them in warm water and epsom salt regularly for a good week? Epsom salt seems to help temporarily. I've also used a lot of moisturizer to help, but again, that's only temporary.

    Anyway, I just don't want to take time off just to take care of something that I might be able to fix with a better solution. I was thinking silicon discs, but I'm not sure they're thick enough to do the trick.

    What are the best remedies any of you have tried?

  2. #2

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    Have you tried Bunga pads? Without them, I cry and I skate in bloody skates (literally). With them, I skate happily with a smile on my face.

    Bunga has a few different ankle pads, depending on the exact location of your issue:
    http://www.skatesforless.net/home.php?cat=251

    Highly recommended. If you currently have a silicone pad, maybe you need a different one - one specifically designed for your issue or that area? See if the website offers what you need - based on your description, I couldn't tell which area of the ankle you were talking about.

    And how do you wear your pad? I wear mine *over* a layer of microfiber socks/skating tights, not directly against my skin.

    Do you have a skate pro near you - a real one? If so, you can bring your skates to him, tell him your problem, and see if he can adjust the problem area.
    Use Yah Blinkah!

  3. #3
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    I actually use bunga padding. I have their ankle sleeve, but perhaps I need the discs as well. To be honest, the sleeve is good, but the silicon is very thin in it.

    I have a great skate pro that does a lot of elite-level skaters, but even punching out the skates, or adjusting anything still won't solve the fact that my upper ankles will be rubbing against the top of my boot.

    BTW, the spot I'm referring to is the spot on the outside part of both feet, just above the ankle bone, which is right around the top part/edge of my skate boots.

    In the linked diagram, look at the second foot diagram. I'm talking about the part of the upper ankle, right between the lines pointing to the fibula and achilles tendon.
    http://www.doctorfoot.com/diagrams.html

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    Wow, this was also my problem when I got my skates. They were my first so I just accepted what everyone told me about needing to break them in! I too had calluses, raw skin, bleeding, scarring, you name it. For me, it was in the area around the top edge of the boot near the hooks.

    I used to tape sponges to my ankles to give it a little padding and to keep the boots from aggravating the skin more. It worked a little, but when I used makeup sponges I found them too thin.

    Finally, I took it into my skate pro and he added some extra padding in that area so it would distribute the pressure better. It worked. Now, I just fold down a pair of socks in that area for a little extra insurance, and I'm good to go.

    So I also second the suggestion to take your skates in. I'm sure your pro has seen this before and has some solutions.

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    Wet suit material (which are used in stubby holders or beer can holders). Cut squares of it and they sit quite neatly on the sore spot. Don't know about where you are but here you can get stubby holders in those $2 shops. I have used them since I got my boots a couple of years ago.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  6. #6
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    Wow, this was also my problem when I got my skates. They were my first so I just accepted what everyone told me about needing to break them in!
    I got my second pair of skates in July and I never had a tiny problem breaking in, I could skate well just about after an hour and since then my boots feel like very comfortable slippers . ( I have risport RF3)

  7. #7
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    When I started skating, I had your exact problem, for months. I used everything you've used too - gel sleeves, make-up pads, etc. Everyone has a different combination. I finally understand what the heck was in Tonya Harding's boots when she had to redo her lace at the '94 Olympics (lambswool and make-up pads).

    I notice that everyone at my rink wears their gel sleeves outside their socks. I don't - I wear 'em inside.

    The combination that worked for me and stopped the bleeding, peeling, soreness: A huge band-aid on my heel, gel squares/discs on each side of my ankle, then a gel sleeve over those, then socks, then a make-up pad in the heel of the boot, outside my socks. Now, if I forget any of those, I'm mostly fine. I can skate with just an ankle gel sleeve and socks now, but I still do it all up (minus the band-aid). Yep.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the recommendations.

    You'd think for all the years I skated before returning to the ice from an 8-year hiatus, I'd have the right answer, especially since my old boots were super, super stiff and the worst pair I ever owned comfort-wise (they were SP-Teri Advantage....very stiff leather boots for triples and quads...I still have them and they STILL feel like bricks even after being broken down).

    Anyway, I thought with my KT-2 boots, which feel great, I wouldn't have the problem, but I still did.

    I was at the store last night looking for foam, but got a great idea since I couldn't find what I was looking for. I found these really large, solid and thick sponges for sale $1 each. I cut them down to size and used them this morning when I skated. They are large enough to cover the entire area between my ankle bone and the top of my boot, so I positioned it to creep slightly out the top of my boot. I placed that over my usual ankle wrap/pad combo, and then placed my sock on, and then the bunga sleeve. Anyway, I felt super comfortable today and finally felt fine doing double lutzes, which hurt the most since I have to bend a lot on the entrance.

    I hope this will be a better solution until the skin finally heals (if ever). I think once it heals enough I can remove some of the padding since the boot has been broken in enough.

    Keeping my fingers crossed

  9. #9
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    Are you sure your boots aren't way too stiff for you? Various padding can help in various spots but a bunga sleeve should really be all you need to protect your outer ankle skin.

    I have extremely thin skin (as in, if I itch myself too hard several layers come off and I don't have long fingernails), and with my latest pair of boots, the first time I wore them I forgot my Bunga pads- I had a hole in the outer part of my ankle where the top of the boot rubbed that was very deep, and I stayed on the ice barely 30 minutes. There is still a dark scar 6 months later. Despite my boot being capable of doing so much damage without bunga padsl, the second I put my bunga pads on the next day, not only did my boots never cut me anywhere else, I couldn't even feel the hole in my ankle from the day before. The cut didn't get any worse, either.

    Bungas are very thin but they will 100% protect your ankle skin from your boots- thicker pads like foam and discs etc are for bone pain, not skin issues. I have one of the stiffest (perhaps the stiffest) boot on the market, and like I said my skin is very thin, but bunga pads are all I need. If even bunga pads don't help you, it makes me think something is seriously wrong with the boot's stiffness or fit...there is no reason you should need more than a silicone sleeve...thickness is really unnecessary to protect just your skin.

  10. #10
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    The boots aren't too stiff at all. One might think that, but I've owned a ton of skates when I skated competitively for 10 years, so I'm very well familiar with the mechanics of a properly fitted boot. I get very specific with the fit, which I guess is a good thing since it needs to be just right.

    I must say my current SP Teri KT-2 boots are the most comfortable pair I've ever owned since they're supported in the right spots, and softer in the areas that don't require as much. My old SP-Teri Super Teri Deluxe boots are a close 2nd.

    The reason I even have this issue is because when I first got the boots, I didn't have an issue with breaking them in since they weren't uncomfortable, so I decided to skip wearing any type of padding. What I should have realized is that no matter what, the boot is always a little rigid toward the top for a few weeks, and as time passed by, the skin started to get tender. I then decided to pad the area, but I didn't use enough, so then the patch of skin got a bit worse. So fast forward to today where it hasn't fully healed, but is slowly getting better. I also started lacing the boots up to the last hook, so that also needs to be factored in. I should also mention that I was doing 2.5/3 hour sessions without resting, so that would be a long time in the boots, especially when I didn't use the proper padding. Typically, the shorter session times would not affect me since I wasn't in my skates for very long.

    Anyway, the foam/sponge padding helps a lot. I like the bunga sleeve, but for me, I think it's still a little too thin. Perhaps I'll go back to using the gel discs since they've worked very well in the past.

  11. #11
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    Scootie, you DO have a fantastic pro at your rink! One of the best!
    It looks like you found a good option, but I was going to chime in and say that wearing one of those gel disks under the Bunga/Silippos ankle sleeve works great for me whenever I start to get that problem (I think they sell them at your rink's shop). I think I've figured out that it happens when I lace my boot either too loosely or too tightly in the foot or ankle. Hmm. . . I just realized I never did start lacing my KT-2's all the way up to the top hook; I just lace them up to through that inset hook, since it isn't that much below the top hook and it makes it easier to bend my ankles.
    I agree that KT2's should not be too stiff for you, based on your body weight and the jumps you are landing (I'm comfortable in mine and only weigh 120 and don't do any jump above double sal).
    Last edited by Doubletoe; 05-26-2010 at 12:12 AM.

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