Have you ever had pain on the top of your foot or front of your ankle when ice skating? Has it lasted more than a few weeks? This type of pain is relatively common for hockey players. It’s often caused by aggravation to the tibialis anterior tendon and is known more commonly as a lace bite.
Many hockey players deal with the pain. They think it’s part of getting older or nothing can be done to fix the pain. I thought that way when I developed lace bite a few years ago.
But that’s not so! There are lots of tactics you can do to help alleviate or even eliminate the pain from lace bite. Some of these include lacing your hockey skates differently. Let’s explore a few different options…
First, you can tie your skates differently. Lacing your skates outside-in instead of instead-out helps reduce pressure from the tongue of the ice skate your tendon. Instead of threading the lace through the inside of each eyelet, start by threading the lace through the outside of each eyelet. It’s a simple, free, and quick change, so why not give it a shot?
You can also rotate where you tie the knot on your skate. For example, try tying the knot on the left part of the tongue. Then, try tying the knot on the right part of the skate tongue. The idea is to move the knot around to move pressure to different parts of your foot and ankle. The area behind the knot tends to be the point with the most pressure on your body. Most people with lace bites feel pain right in the middle of their ankle or foot so moving the knot to the sides tends to work best. Sometimes I’ll adjust the knot location between periods so it’s not in one spot for very long.
Skipping eyelets as you lace your skates is another option. To do so, don’t lace the eyelets nearby your pain from the lace bite. Note that this only works if your pain is below the top eyelet. Once you’ve laced your skates to the top while skipping eyelets near the pain, you’ll notice pressure on the area you skipped when you tighten your skates.
Last, use unwaxed laces, not waxed laces. Waxed laces can be pulled unnecessarily tight and create a ton of pressure on your tendon.
These are just a few ideas to help you reduce pain from lace bite while playing hockey.