Listen up, skaters! Are you experiencing pain on the front of your ankle or top of your foot while ice skating? It could be that you have “lace bite,” which is an irritation to the tendon that runs through the front of your foot. There’s nothing worse than playing in pain or even having to cut short your playing time. It’s an annoying problem but not one that you have to live with forever. It’s something I’ve overcome and hope to help you do the same.
As a lifelong hockey player, I know how frustrating this condition can be. I struggled with lace bite for over a year and tried countless treatment options. But I finally found a simple, free solution that worked for me: lacing your skates outside-in instead of inside-out. It may sound a little strange but it’s a great technique that has helped many others. Get into the habit of doing this before your games and you’ll find yourself feeling much better.
Here’s how it works: with outside-in lacing, you thread the laces through the outside of each eyelet first, as demonstrated in this video. This technique evenly squeezes the entire boot tight, which helps to relieve pressure on the tongue of the skate where pain from lace bite is often felt. Many hockey players notice a difference immediately after trying this technique. The lack of pressure on the tongue of the skate leads to a much more comfortable time on the ice.
It only takes a few minutes to re-lace your skates, so give it a try! There’s really no downside and it could help you to skate and play hockey pain-free. I can confirm that it has been an incredibly helpful strategy for myself. And it doesn’t cost a thing!
Skipping eyelets can be another lacing strategy. This only works if your lace bite is below the top eyelet of the skate. It will reduce pressure where the lace bite is located and your laces will still tighten nearly as well. It is another idea worth trying out while testing out a different lacing technique.
Here’s a great set of the best lace bite treatment options available, so be sure to check it out. Some of these other strategies include icing immediately after the game (this will reduce swelling and improve recovery time), using a topical pain reliever (improves recovery time and relieves pain), and wearing slip-on gel pads while you skate. A rectangle pad reduces pressure across the entire foot and ankle, and an oval pad reduces pressure on the lace bite specifically.
Whatever you do, don’t loosen your skates in order to alleviate your pain. It may feel more comfortable initially, but this is a common mistake that can significantly increase the risk of injury. Avoid it at all costs!
Lace bite may be a difficult thing to deal with but there’s no reason to just give up on treating it. There are many tools at your disposal. Let’s work together to keep everyone on the ice enjoying the game we love.