What you have is something called "skate bite" or "lace bite". This commonly occurs early in the hockey season in skaters who have either a new pair of skates or those who have not worn their skates over the summer. It is commonly caused by too much pressure from either a skate tongue which is not well broken in or one which is old and inflexible. This puts extra pressure over the anterior, or front part, of the ankle. When the skate is laced up tight (like all good hockey players should lace their skates), the skate tongue presses against the front part of the ankle and the tendons which allow you to move your ankle in an upwards position. Repeated motion of these tendons against the skate tongue can cause a tendinitis (anything in medicine which ends with a "-itis" means inflammation) of the tibialis anterior tendon. This tendon is the strongest tendon which allows you to dorsiflex your ankle (pull your foot "back" in an upwards position). Anterior tibialis tendinitis can be quite painful and is especially frustrating because frequently the initial days of skating in the fall are associated with team tryouts or captain's practices.

The treatment for skate bite is to first decrease the effect of the "too tight" skate tongue. Either you or your athletic trainer can fit a piece of foam rubber outside of your hockey sock to allow for less irritation of this tendon with motion. Working on your skate tongue by trying to increase its overall pliability and suppleness will also help. Since this problem is due to inflammation of the tendon sheath, the use of over the counter anti-inflammatory medications may be indicated. However, these medicines do not treat the underlying problem of the too rigid skate tongue. Over time, the skate will break in well and the irritation of this tendon will decrease. Sometimes cutting a channel out of the felt in the tongue of the skate also helps.

Skaters who have new skates and anticipate full skating activities immediately in these skates can preemptively decrease their chance of getting skate bite by making sure that their skates are well worn in by increasing the flexibility of the skate tongue prior to skating. In those cases where the skate tongue seems to be excessively rigid, prophylactically placing a well fit piece of foam rubber between the top part of the ankle and the skate tongue will help to decrease the chance of this problem from developing.