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Brand new skater (and I mean PAINFULLY brand new skater) needs advice...

Discussion in 'Moves In The Field' started by JeffClair1979, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. JeffClair1979

    JeffClair1979 Scissoring Cizeron!

    Hi All!

    I've gone on a fitness kick in the past few months, and really want to use skating as exercise. I'm not very proficient on skates, as one might expect, but that really isn't my biggest problem.

    Within 10 minutes of stepping on the ice, the arches of my feet hurt so bad that I really can't continue. I have to "pull over" into the penalty box, or step off of the ice altogether.

    I'm sure this is just an issue of me formerly living my life like veal: aka, not ever really moving.

    Is there any exercises or anything i can do to strengthen those muscles so that I can actually take a class or lessons to where I'm not basically crippled?

    If I could get past this, I think it would be the perfect way to exercise! Any advice is VERY much appreciated! I work less than half a mile from the World Ice Arena in Flushing, NY, and it just seems like a no-brainer to go there after work for my workout, but this problem is so intimidating!!
  2. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate Well-Known Member

    It's not you - it's the rental skates!
  3. JeffClair1979

    JeffClair1979 Scissoring Cizeron!

    Ya think? My boyfriend (who has never set foot in a skate until we went together) didn't have an issue with the rental skate. And, I used to recreationally roller skate, and had the same problem!

    I think there is something wrong with the arch/ball of my foot. Is it possible a "Dr. Scholl" insert might help?

    I'm so clueless on this!!!
  4. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    I agree with thegirlcanskate. It's probably more the rental skates than it is you. I don't think your feet would be in that bad shape from not exercising - I'm guessing you were walking and doing other things during the time when you weren't exercising. Your boyfriend might just have gotten a better pair of skates than you did.

    Next time you go, try a couple of different pairs of skates and see if you have the same problem in all of them. Also, what are you wearing inside the skates? You should only have a pair of thin socks or tights. If you are wearing thick socks, that might make your foot cramp if the skates are tight.
  5. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    There is a reason why anyone who skates, even recreationally, gets their own skates and that is because rental skates are crap. So I would blame the skates. If you can get a pair that don't hurt your feet you are lucky.
  6. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    I agree it's probably the boots.

    I once got new boots that I had tried on before the blades were mounted and felt comfortable standing and walking in. We approved the purchase and got the blades, and then when I tried them on the ice I couldn't stand the pain -- the angle of my foot in the boots was different with the blades on, and the high arch in the boot hit the low arch in my foot at a painful angle.

    I had to go (60+ miles) to find a friendly skate technician who could soften the arch of the boot, similar to having them "punched out," until it was comfortable. After that I got a few years of use out of that boot but I never bought that brand again.
  7. Willowway

    Willowway Well-Known Member

    Jeff - as a beginning adult skate I have had exactly the same problem. Here's what I discovered about myself (you'll have your own experiments I'm sure) -

    1) the foot doctor (yes, I went) said I was very tight in the calf and the tendon that ran under my foot was naturally very tight. I stretch those before I get on the ice and everyday in between. It really helps. I'm crippled - literally can't stand the pain - if I don't do that before I skate.

    2) Although my feet are average width, I can't tolerate (tendons and nerves) the very tight fight that is recommended for most skate boots. Doesn't mean my boots are big on me - they're not. But they do allow for the full width of my foot to press down nicely on to the sole when my full weight it on my foot. That's a little (a touch) of extra width in comparison to traditionally fitted boots. I have been through 4 different boots, none of them cheap and one custom, before arriving at something I can consistently skate in without pain. Funny, they're not the custom boots and they're not the most expensive but they do give me what I need.

    The pain can be extraordinary - my teacher thought one day that I was about to pass out from it ...and I was. I can't even imagine trying rental boots. It's a struggle but once you find the right equipment you can have a lot of fun - I wouldn't give it up for anything!

    Oh one more thing - everyone said 'put an arch support in your boots.' That works for some people - it's the opposite for me. I have good arches and they're strong but with an arch support under them and no ability for them to flex at all the pain is as you've described. I am much better (experimentation) with nothing but an absolutely flat insole in my boot - for me less is more. You may or may not need arch support in your boot - again, more experimentation.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012
  8. gingercat

    gingercat Active Member

    Do you have flat feet or a low arch? This makes a huge difference, I had to crawl off the ice my feet hurt so badly after not skating for many years. For flat feet or low arches it is all about strengthening the muscles, tendons and ligaments. It is amazing to see how much your feet have to work to stay in balance and comfortable over that skinny blade.
  9. pingu

    pingu Well-Known Member

    These are two excercises you could do before and after skating:
    One You can also do this one lying down on your back, with your heels on the wall, stretching your toes and forefeet with a towel that you can hold in your hands (uhm I hope my explanation is clear), in this way you won't only stretch the arch of you foot, but the whole posterior chain (the muscles that are in the back half of your body), which is always better ;)
    Two (roll your foot over the ball. you can also use a bottle filled with hot water)
    I hope it helps :)
  10. JeffClair1979

    JeffClair1979 Scissoring Cizeron!

    Thanks so much for the tips, all! It's a releif to hear it's probably the boots and not me! I've let the fear of this pain keep me from taking lessons in the past.

    Now, I need to find a good boot to buy that's not expensive. But I'm in NYC and everything is expensive :p At least I know I should try several pairs of rentals before I settle on one for the session.

    Also, thanks for all the stretching advice. Definitely good ideas and I will try them all!
  11. Synchkat

    Synchkat New Member

    I had issues as a teen with my own skates and we discovered the arch support was in the wrong spot for my foot, so I would agree with the improperly fitted skates. If you haven't skated before or for awhile then your feet and shins will hurt until you get used to everything.

    Have fun though and persevere, it is great exercise.
  12. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    Jackson and Reidell both have nice skates for beginner skaters that aren't too expensive. They're of good quality for beginner skates, and have padding in them, so they have little-to-no break in time. Many good skate shops sell these skates - Hackensack, and I think also Chelsea Piers.

    When my daughter first started, we had her in the Jackson Softecs:

    They're good for a beginner skater.

    Their Glacier skates have a more traditional "figure skating" look, but still have many of the comfort features of the Softecs - specifically the "Softskate" model they show:

    A lot of adult beginners at my rinks have models like that Softskate, and they find them comfortable. They're good, for beginner skates. Good support, and you can learn the basics in them. Not terribly expensive.
  13. backspin

    backspin Active Member

    If you're getting cramps in your feet, which I get--it's also partly what gingercat said. I have very flat feet, & if I've been out of my skates for too long (even a week or two) it takes several sessions to get my feet used to being squeezed into skates again. I ALWAYS have to stop after 10-15 minutes, take the skates off & wait until the cramps subside, and then put them back on again. If I rush that, the cramps just hit with a vengeance again. Once I get into the routine of skating at least a few times a week, that problem usually goes away.

    So don't be discouraged if new boots still give you trouble at first.
  14. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    I used to get cramps in my feet, because the front of my old skates was too narrow for my foot and my toes could not lie flat in my boot. In addition, the arch of my skate was too high - which is odd, because my arches are quite high naturally. So I had the front punched out (stretched), and the arch adjusted, and was much more comfortable.

    So if you do buy skates and experience issues like this, bring your skates back to the pro at the skate shop and tell him what's up. He'll then adjust your skates.
  15. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    This. Often bad fit causes pain, but my feet also need to get "used" to my skates after I'm off the ice for a while. Skates simply fit differently and feel different vs regular street shoes (and they should). Plus your feet/ankles/legs are performing very different actions from your run-of-the-mill everyday movements and most other types of exercise and using different muscles. It may take a while even if/when you find boots that fit.

    Good luck!! Skating is about the only exercise I've ever done where I didn't get bored. It's wonderful exercise!
  16. Doubletoe

    Doubletoe Well-Known Member

    YES! Both of these! Any good calf stretch will also stretch the bottoms of your feet, and nothing feels as :swoon: as rolling the bottom of your foot over a tennis ball! And, as others have said, make sure the boot isn't too narrow, or too tightly laced right over the arch of the foot (although it should be nice and snug in the toes and the ankle).