This time of year where I practice, (Chelsea and Mayfair), almost every patient wants to know whether they can ski with their injured or painful foot. More often than not the answer is yes. This is because a ski boot is a little like a plaster or air boot, it keeps the foot and ankle relatively safe and unloaded. There are some conditions however where skiing can really help.
Plantar fasciitis is a pathological process within the fibrous band that lines the arch of the foot. The Plantar fascia runs from the big toe to the heel and then continues into the calf (Gastrocnemius) and the Achilles tendon. It is an integral part of the mechanics of walking and standing. Pain from PF is deep within the heel and classically sore in the mornings or after periods of sitting down. If you have ever seen a physiotherapist or doctor for this, then one of the exercises you will have been given will have been calf stretching exercises. This calf stretch often helps the pain. The good news is that a ski boot encourages this. Ski boots throw you centre of gravity forward and force a stretch on your Achilles as they do so. This stretch all day long can really help, and sufferers often say their PF pain is not a problem whilst skiing.
All I need to do now is find a way to prescribe a ski holiday as a treatment option!