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A hot-pocket is something that will heal by itself in probably 2-3 weeks, if you don’t keep skating and risk hitting it again. 

 ­­– Jeroen Stam


By Jeroen Stam (@skateboardphysio) and Matt Beare

One type of hot-pocket is caused by aggressive rubbing between the leg and pocket of the roller pusher. High levels of friction cause rapid heating of the pocket which can often result in extreme chafe and burns to the leg. One of the most reliable solutions for this problem is removal of the pants and insertion of the pocket into a puddle.

Another type of hot-pocket is a pain felt at the front of the ankle joint, which comes about from rapidly and forcefully bending your foot back towards your shin, for example, when you land flat footed down some stairs and all your weight goes forward over your ankle joint, or you land on a ledge without your board and your heel drops quickly. What causes the pain is one of the bones in your foot bumping into one of the bones in your shin, or some bone bumping into a ligament, which creates something similar to a bruise.

That reason hot-pockets often keep coming back and take so long to heal is usually because you return to skating too soon, before the bruise is completely healed, and you hit it again.

Your average hot-pocket will usually heal by itself within about 2-3 weeks, as long as you give it enough rest by staying off your board. If you really have to skate, a laced brace can offer some protection, but the motion that caused the hot-pocket in the first place occurs in almost every movement you do when you skate - when you pop your trick, when you land your trick, even when you're pushing - so hitting that bruised region again and angering Sergeant Hot-Pocket is pretty hard to avoid.


If you’ve been stuck with a hot-pocket for a long time and you’re doing everything right to rehab it, then you should hit up a physiotherapist or sports medicine doctor because it’s possible that something called anterior ankle impingement is your issue.

anterior ankle impingement.

Anterior ankle impingement is the boss level hot-pocket and something that really requires professional attention. It's pretty similar to a normal hot-pocket but instead of two parts around your ankle hitting against each other, two parts are pinching some of the flesh within your ankle. It may not sound so painful, but the pinch is an underrated form of attack, and if you’ve been pinched on the back of your upper arm, you’ll know what I mean.


Anterior ankle impingement has a wide range of causes, from swelling inside the ankle joint, to stiff muscles in the foot or lower leg, a stiff ankle joint or foot, scar-tissue, or even additional bone growing on the joint. However, keep in mind that it’s only a small amount of people whose hot-pockets reach this level, so don't freak out and fall into the classic Google self-diagnosis trap, that leaves you with a something like leprosy or a life-threatening disease every time. 

pain at front of ankle skateboarding

the six steps to heal a hot-pocket.

1. rest.

This is the most important step of all. Just stay off your board for 2 - 3 weeks and let your body do its magical healing thing.

2. mobilise.

People with limited range of motion in their ankle joints are usually more susceptible to hot-pockets because their joint has less distance to travel before hitting parts on either side into each other. Mobilising exercises can help to create space in the ankle joint decreasing the likelihood of hitting your hot-pocket again. 

  • Attach one end of the band to something solid that doesn't move, and stick your foot through the other end.

  • Pull it tight around the top of your foot, just below your ankle joint.

  • Anchor the band to the floor behind you with your other foot or knee, so the band is pulling your foot down.

  • Bend your knee forwards over your foot.

hot pocket skateboarding exercise


Warm up for skateboarding


ankle band exercise.

3. foam roll.

Foam roll your calf and the sole of your foot. For your foot use something like a lacrosse ball or massage ball. This releases tension in these parts of the body to as well, increase the range of motion in your ankle. Full list of foam rolling exercises for skateboarding.

  • Roll slowly over your calf. Turn your leg every now and then to make sure you hit all angles of the calf.

  • When you get to a painful spot, stop on top of it for up to a minute or until the pain decreases.

hot pocket skateboarding exercise
  • Place a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, massage ball, any ball you have, under the sole of your foot and roll back and forth from your toe to your heel.

  • When you get to a painful spot, stop on top of it for up to a minute or until the pain decreases.

hot pocket skateboarding exercise

calf & foot roll.

4. strengthening exercises.

These leg and core exercises for skateboarding won't directly help heal your hot-pocket, but will help you maintain your strength whilst you're not skating for 2 or 3 weeks.

5. avoid stretching.

​Avoid static stretching your calf whilst your hot-pocket is healing. To stretch your calf you need to bend your foot in that high-risk hot-pocket motion, making it highly likely you'll just aggravate it further.

ankle pain skateboarding

6. avoid pain.

Make sure you avoid any pain at the front of the ankle joint, in that hot-pocket region, whilst it's healing. If any of the exercises above cause you any pain, stop doing them or do them at a less intense, pain-free level.

preventing hot-pockets.

When it comes to preventing hot pockets, the best things you can do are warming up properly and strengthening your body. Check out the best skateboarding warm-up here or different strengthening exercises here.

Although no one's ever done any studies on it, limited range of motion in your ankle joint can make you more susceptible to hot-pockets, so increasing the range of motion in your ankle with the band exercises mentioned above may help as well.

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