Saturday, June 24, 2017

Could my boots be a problem?

January 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured Articles

By Nicolette House

In the past, breaking in new skating boots could feel like trying to break in cement blocks. Try bending your knees and ankles with something that stiff laced tightly around your feet.

In recent years boot manufactures have made the break-in process much easier, largely due offering custom skates, heat molding, and changing which materials they use to make boots.

However, many skaters still suffer from boot problems each year. When it comes to finding the culprit responsible for a mysterious injury, most overlook their boots as the possible cause.

From 2006-2008, the US Figure Skating Boot and Blade Committee (which no longer exists) found that, across the board, manufacturers were producing boots with a 20% defect rate.

Physical therapist Linda Tremain, was part of the group that pushed manufacters to make higher quality products. After meeting with the heads of boot companies in 2007, the manufactures have made significant changes and the defect rate is not nearly as high. Still problems do occur.

Years of research and studying boots and blades led Tremain to offer boot and blade analysis to her physical therapy patients.

“I look to make sure whether the boot is without defect. I’m looking to see if the actual boot and the heel are perpendicular to the ground,” says Tremain.

Once the blade is mounted, it’s a whole other ballgame. According to Tremain, the blade needs to bisect the heel and the second toe.

Tremain looks to make three-dimensional corrections when it comes to fine tuning equipment. For example, moving the blade is only a two dimensional correction because it neglects to take into account where a skater’s foot actually rests in the boot. She suggests trying orthotics if needed, as well as having the blade mounted correctly, when trying to get the most out of the equipment.

“It’s nice to change the relationship of the foot to the boot first so you don’t have to make so much accommodation (with the blade),” says Tremain.

Problem equipment can lead to shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, brachiates, and lace bite. While it may not be solely responsible for difficulties on the ice, it’s worth checking into. If anything it gives skaters peace of mind and helps prevent injury.

Linda graduated from the University of Iowa Physical Therapy School in 1986 and obtained her certificate in athletic training in 1990.  In 1997, she was trained by Romana Krysanowska to teach pilates.  She also completed a master’s degree in Biblical Studies at Wheaton College in 2011. Linda, a former collegiate gymnast, was a medical team member for the US World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow and the US World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Budapest.  She worked extensively at the Olympic Ice Skating Center in Lake Placid as well as on several Cirque Du Soleil shows including Verekai, Delirium, La Nouba, Mystere, and “O.” Recently retired from a clinical career in orthopedics, manual therapy, and sports medicine, Linda now intends to focus her professional career on performance enhancement, injury prevention, and education for figure skaters and coaches. Outside of work, Linda and her husband, Gary, run a ministry in downtown Aurora, IL called Mission Possible.  There, Linda volunteers as the Director of Free Healthcare to a community in desperate need of medical services including medical, dental, vision, and orthopedic care.  See www.onjesusmission.org to learn more about this important work.

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