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Calf cramping in my right foot.

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Last year I went through the process of buying new boots.  At first I just went out and bought what I could afford, tried them on, and bought them.  

 

That was a bad move.  I had huge problems, and I ended up buying another pair of boots within a week.  This time I went to see a boot fitter.  This boot fitter has a great reputation in the area, but part of me wonders if his reputation has been inflated by what I'll refer to as the "my guy" effect.  As in "My guy is the best boot fitter and you should try him even though I know nothing about boot fitting, nor have I any experience with other boot fitters to compare him to.  Everybody raves about their guy.  

 

Don't get me wrong, this boot fitter seems to be competent.  I learned a lot from him in the process of purchasing a better boot for my anatomy.  I also had him make custom footbeds.  We spent a lot of time tweaking the footbeds because I kept having pain in my right foot, along with cramping in my calf.  He stands by his work.  No matter how many times I go back, he doesn't charge me for adjustments.  I shopped around before settling on this boot fitter, and he was definitely better than anyone else I tried.    

 

At the end of last season, I thought we had figured out the problem.  We had been making adjustments to the footbed, but couldn't get it to feel right.  Finally, I noticed that I felt slight pressure along the blade of my foot.  I had him grind the shell in that spot, and suddenly the cramping went away.  At that point I was convinced that all the adjusting of the footbed was for nothing, and that the problem was the pressure along the blade of my foot.  I had him make a new footbed for that foot because the previous footbed had been modified so much, it just didn't feel right.  The new footbed felt perfect.  I skied a few more times before the end of the season, and it felt great.  

 

This year I started the season optimistic, thinking my boot problems had all been worked out.  Well I was wrong.  The problems haven't been major, but I experience cramping on the outside of my calf in that same foot.  Sometimes it goes away after a few runs, sometimes it takes a half day, sometimes it just hurts all day.  Yesterday it bothered me so much I decided I had to look into it more, so I came here.  

 

It seems to me that it should be possible to narrow down a problem based on symptoms pretty quickly.  If I experience cramping in the same muscles every time, shouldn't a good boot fitter be able to pinpoint a few likely causes to check out?

 

Based on a google search for an anatomical diagram of the calf, I believe the muscle cramping is the Exterior Digitorus Longus.  

 

I thought it may have been a problem caused by overtightening my boots, but even when I leave my boots loose, the problem still arises.  

 

The footbed fits my foot well if I take it out of the boot, and match it to my foot.  When I'm wearing the boot, it feels like the footbed is way off.  

 

I have also noticed that it feels like there is a lot of room around my lower ankle and heel, and my foot wants to move around more than the other foot.

 

The foot in question has a pretty high arch.  With the footbed, it sometimes feels like my foot wants to slide to the outside of the boot as if it is sliding down the arch of the footbed.  I think it is because of this that I feel my foot pressing against the outside of the boot.  

 

Does anybody have any ideas or suggestions?  I would be willing to try another boot fitter as long as I'm confident that they will be able to figure it out.   

post #2 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by TreeFiter View Post
 

Last year I went through the process of buying new boots.  At first I just went out and bought what I could afford, tried them on, and bought them.  

 

That was a bad move.  I had huge problems, and I ended up buying another pair of boots within a week.  This time I went to see a boot fitter.  This boot fitter has a great reputation in the area, but part of me wonders if his reputation has been inflated by what I'll refer to as the "my guy" effect.  As in "My guy is the best boot fitter and you should try him even though I know nothing about boot fitting, nor have I any experience with other boot fitters to compare him to.  Everybody raves about their guy.  

 

Don't get me wrong, this boot fitter seems to be competent.  I learned a lot from him in the process of purchasing a better boot for my anatomy.  I also had him make custom footbeds.  We spent a lot of time tweaking the footbeds because I kept having pain in my right foot, along with cramping in my calf.  He stands by his work.  No matter how many times I go back, he doesn't charge me for adjustments.  I shopped around before settling on this boot fitter, and he was definitely better than anyone else I tried.    

 

At the end of last season, I thought we had figured out the problem.  We had been making adjustments to the footbed, but couldn't get it to feel right.  Finally, I noticed that I felt slight pressure along the blade of my foot.  I had him grind the shell in that spot, and suddenly the cramping went away.  At that point I was convinced that all the adjusting of the footbed was for nothing, and that the problem was the pressure along the blade of my foot.  I had him make a new footbed for that foot because the previous footbed had been modified so much, it just didn't feel right.  The new footbed felt perfect.  I skied a few more times before the end of the season, and it felt great.  

 

This year I started the season optimistic, thinking my boot problems had all been worked out.  Well I was wrong.  The problems haven't been major, but I experience cramping on the outside of my calf in that same foot.  Sometimes it goes away after a few runs, sometimes it takes a half day, sometimes it just hurts all day.  Yesterday it bothered me so much I decided I had to look into it more, so I came here.  

 

It seems to me that it should be possible to narrow down a problem based on symptoms pretty quickly.  If I experience cramping in the same muscles every time, shouldn't a good boot fitter be able to pinpoint a few likely causes to check out?

 

Based on a google search for an anatomical diagram of the calf, I believe the muscle cramping is the Exterior Digitorus Longus.  

 

I thought it may have been a problem caused by overtightening my boots, but even when I leave my boots loose, the problem still arises.  

 

The footbed fits my foot well if I take it out of the boot, and match it to my foot.  When I'm wearing the boot, it feels like the footbed is way off.  

 

I have also noticed that it feels like there is a lot of room around my lower ankle and heel, and my foot wants to move around more than the other foot.

 

The foot in question has a pretty high arch.  With the footbed, it sometimes feels like my foot wants to slide to the outside of the boot as if it is sliding down the arch of the footbed.  I think it is because of this that I feel my foot pressing against the outside of the boot.  

 

Does anybody have any ideas or suggestions?  I would be willing to try another boot fitter as long as I'm confident that they will be able to figure it out.   

I have highlited the sentence in question----so what part of your anatomy are we talking about "blade of my foot"?

 

What size boots? what model boots?

 

what size feet in centimeters?

 

what width of both feet in millimeters?  measure by placing something square on the floor against each/both sides of you foot and mark where the square sits on the paper, then measure between the two marks---the only way to be accurate.

 

the peroneus brevus muscle/tendon attaches to the upper tibia and courses downward behind the outside ankle bone  to attach to the rear of the 5th met on the pinky toe side of the foot ---it functions to pull the pinky toe side of the foot upward.  I could not find a "Exterior digitorus longus" muscle/tendon in Grey's anatomy charts.;)  There is a "Extensor digitorum longus"?  It's function is to pull the toes upward.

 

the peroneus longus attaches to the upper tibia and courses downward behindand around and under the outside ankle bone (in a groove) and then  passes just behind the rear of the 5th met and traverses across the foot diagonally to attach to the 1st met---it functions to pull the big toe side of the foot downward 

 

Both of the above muscle tendon groups are used in edging the down hill ski and either could be involved in your problem.

 

the way your boot fits around your feet could be why you are having problems---get back to us with the above requested info.

 

mike

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by miketsc View Post
 

I have highlited the sentence in question----so what part of your anatomy are we talking about "blade of my foot"?

 

What size boots? what model boots?

 

what size feet in centimeters?

 

what width of both feet in millimeters?  measure by placing something square on the floor against each/both sides of you foot and mark where the square sits on the paper, then measure between the two marks---the only way to be accurate.

 

the peroneus brevus muscle/tendon attaches to the upper tibia and courses downward behind the outside ankle bone  to attach to the rear of the 5th met on the pinky toe side of the foot ---it functions to pull the pinky toe side of the foot upward.  I could not find a "Exterior digitorus longus" muscle/tendon in Grey's anatomy charts.;)  There is a "Extensor digitorum longus"?  It's function is to pull the toes upward.

 

the peroneus longus attaches to the upper tibia and courses downward behindand around and under the outside ankle bone (in a groove) and then  passes just behind the rear of the 5th met and traverses across the foot diagonally to attach to the 1st met---it functions to pull the big toe side of the foot downward 

 

Both of the above muscle tendon groups are used in edging the down hill ski and either could be involved in your problem.

 

the way your boot fits around your feet could be why you are having problems---get back to us with the above requested info.

 

mike

By the blade of my foot I mean the outer edge of the foot.  I guess it would be where the fifth metatarsal protrudes, and slightly behind where I can feel slight pressure.  This was also the area inside the shell that I had ground out a little bit at the end of last season that seemed to make things better.

 

The boots are Head Rapter 130 RS.  Shell is size 28/28.5.  I'm not certain what size the liners actually are.  I remember my bootfitter explaining that the only difference is the volume, which is usually corrected with shims under the footbed.  In other words, he usually works with the larger size, and fills up volume to get the smaller.  I'm not 100% sure, but I would assume the liners are 28.5.  I believe they have been shimmed, but I can't remember how much at this point.  

 

As for my feet:

Right Foot: 28cm x 10.3cm

Left Foot: 27.5cm x 10.2cm

 

The proneus brevus sounds like the muscle that is cramping.  It could also be a combination of the proneus brevus and the proneus longus, but it is that part of the leg that is cramping.  If I were to tip my foot onto the big toe edge and flex the ankle, I would feel the muscles in question tighten up.

 

I certainly appreciate the help.  :beercheer:   

post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by TreeFiter View Post
 

By the blade of my foot I mean the outer edge of the foot.  I guess it would be where the fifth metatarsal protrudes, and slightly behind where I can feel slight pressure.  This was also the area inside the shell that I had ground out a little bit at the end of last season that seemed to make things better.

 

The boots are Head Rapter 130 RS.  Shell is size 28/28.5.  I'm not certain what size the liners actually are.  I remember my bootfitter explaining that the only difference is the volume, which is usually corrected with shims under the footbed.  In other words, he usually works with the larger size, and fills up volume to get the smaller.  I'm not 100% sure, but I would assume the liners are 28.5.  I believe they have been shimmed, but I can't remember how much at this point.  

 

As for my feet:

Right Foot: 28cm x 10.3cm

Left Foot: 27.5cm x 10.2cm

 

The proneus brevus sounds like the muscle that is cramping.  It could also be a combination of the proneus brevus and the proneus longus, but it is that part of the leg that is cramping.  If I were to tip my foot onto the big toe edge and flex the ankle, I would feel the muscles in question tighten up.

 

I certainly appreciate the help.  :beercheer:   

Another Thought:

 

your feet measure 28.0 or less---if you have medium to low volume feet you might well be able to down size into the next smaller shell size,  Don't worry about the size the manufacturer calls a boot---go by the shell check

 

Your problem might be an over use issue. caused by your feet moving inside the shell,

 

read through the below article and shell "check your" current boots as described, 5/8 inch (15mm) is the max we suggest---more room and you will move around inside the boot.

 

http://www.epicski.com/wiki/boot-fitting-which-boot-will-work-for-me

 

 

mike

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by miketsc View Post
 

Another Thought:

 

your feet measure 28.0 or less---if you have medium to low volume feet you might well be able to down size into the next smaller shell size,  Don't worry about the size the manufacturer calls a boot---go by the shell check

 

Your problem might be an over use issue. caused by your feet moving inside the shell,

 

read through the below article and shell "check your" current boots as described, 5/8 inch (15mm) is the max we suggest---more room and you will move around inside the boot.

 

http://www.epicski.com/wiki/boot-fitting-which-boot-will-work-for-me

 

 

mike

Would an over use issue show up for the first few runs, and get better as the day goes on?  Typically its the first few runs that are the worst, and by the end of the day the pain is gone.  Occasionally, I have a full day with no issues, but not all that often.  Usually its the first two or three runs, and after that its not so bad.  

 

My bootfitter did do a shell fit.  I believe he referred to a rule of thumb.  Two fingers for casual skiers.  One finger for agressive skiers.  I was at 1 finger, which is about 5/8".  I don't remember doing anything with regard to width.  

post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by TreeFiter View Post
 

Would an over use issue show up for the first few runs, and get better as the day goes on?  Typically its the first few runs that are the worst, and by the end of the day the pain is gone.  Occasionally, I have a full day with no issues, but not all that often.  Usually its the first two or three runs, and after that its not so bad.  

 

My bootfitter did do a shell fit.  I believe he referred to a rule of thumb.  Two fingers for casual skiers.  One finger for agressive skiers.  I was at 1 finger, which is about 5/8".  I don't remember doing anything with regard to width.  

So far as the over use thing---do you recall if you are tightening the boot up and then having the pain go away? or is there anything that you are changing that would account for this?

 

You were at 1 finger---wouldn't that depend on how large your/his finger was.  My index finger measures 20mm at the first knuckle

 

Half inch CPVC pipe is exactly 15mm outside diameter.  CPVC is used as hot water pipe in plumbing.  You should be able to touch both the back of your heel and the inside of the shell at the same time by slipping the pipe in at an angle----keep in mind this is the max distance you want to see for good performance. 

 

happy skiing

 

mike

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by miketsc View Post
 

So far as the over use thing---do you recall if you are tightening the boot up and then having the pain go away? or is there anything that you are changing that would account for this?

 

You were at 1 finger---wouldn't that depend on how large your/his finger was.  My index finger measures 20mm at the first knuckle

 

Half inch CPVC pipe is exactly 15mm outside diameter.  CPVC is used as hot water pipe in plumbing.  You should be able to touch both the back of your heel and the inside of the shell at the same time by slipping the pipe in at an angle----keep in mind this is the max distance you want to see for good performance. 

 

happy skiing

 

mike

In general, I try to buckle my boots to the same spot every time.  I've found that no matter what I do with my left boot, it fits perfect.  With my right foot, some days it works, others it doesn't.  On the days that it doesn't feel good, I will make micro adjustments, but I usually don't find that it helps. The two lower buckles (over the foot) tend to be good right where they are.  Any looser, and my foot will lift, any tighter, and I'll feel the circulation being cut off across the top of my foot.  So any adjustment is usually made to the top two buckles.  I try to set them as loose as I possibly can, but still have reasonable support.  Usually the second notch is where I start, but when they are this loose, I can definitely move around in the cuff of the boot.  The third notch gives me the support I think I need without the slop.  I'll usually take a warm up run with them set on the second notch, and then tighten them down to the third.  This seemed to work for a while, but after about a week, I was back to having issues.  

 

You are right about using a finger as a gauge.  If I recall, I could slip my finger behind my heel, oriented so the thinnest dimension would fill the gap.  That is pretty close to 1/2".  But like you say, 5/8" is about the max, so maybe I'm in a slightly oversized shell.  Then again, the problem foot is the bigger of the two.  If anything, the other foot should feel like its flopping around.  

 

I'm wondering if the problem could be caused by tension in the arch.  Something like plantar fasciitis.   Since it seems to show up some days, but not others, and kind of works itself out over the course of the day, does it make sense that it could be a matter of stretching?  

post #8 of 22

I can't see your feet but---your feet are smaller than mine and I ski in a 27.5 shell, boot sole length of 315mm (Nordica Doberman 130)---I have skied in 325mm shells and found that they loosened up with in 3 days to where I would have to over tighten them to hold my foot still---not good  You said something about the fitter having added a shim under the liner---a dead give away that the boot is too big.

 

In the 315mm shell I never tighten the lower 2 buckles---I tighten the ankle buckle till it hurts (too tight) then back off till it is just comfortable.  My foot can't move forward or lift in the boot, I can eat lunch in the boots while they are buckled without constriction or numbness.  I put the power strap around only the liner inside the front upper shell and then tighten the top buckle only snugly.

 

mike

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by miketsc View Post
 

I can't see your feet but---your feet are smaller than mine and I ski in a 27.5 shell, boot sole length of 315mm (Nordica Doberman 130)---I have skied in 325mm shells and found that they loosened up with in 3 days to where I would have to over tighten them to hold my foot still---not good  You said something about the fitter having added a shim under the liner---a dead give away that the boot is too big.

 

In the 315mm shell I never tighten the lower 2 buckles---I tighten the ankle buckle till it hurts (too tight) then back off till it is just comfortable.  My foot can't move forward or lift in the boot, I can eat lunch in the boots while they are buckled without constriction or numbness.  I put the power strap around only the liner inside the front upper shell and then tighten the top buckle only snugly.

 

mike

So it sounds like my boots are a little bit too big.  So I guess its entirely possible that the pain I'm feeling is due to constantly trying to make up for the sloppy fit of the boot.  

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 

I just thought I'd follow up on this thread.  A few days ago, I went to see a different boot fitter.  I told him about the issues I'd been having, and he checked the fit of my boots.  He checked the shell fit, and he said that I was sized properly, slightly on the small side.  He said he wouldn't put anyone in anything smaller unless they were going for a really aggressive race fit.  

 

So he pulled out  the footbeds and shims, and we started with just the boot, and what I felt.  He felt that my issue with cramping could be the result of the way the footbed was cut.  There was too much material coming up the sides, which may have been creating pressure points.  I decided to have him make me new footbeds rather than modify the existing ones, just in case I needed to go back to where I started.  He also determined that my feet are pretty low volume, and my boots, although on the lower end of the spectrum, were too big in that sense.  

 

I had him add two laminate shims to each boot below the liner.  He told me that this was pretty extreme to do, and that he wouldn't recommend adding any more.  

 

I skied in the boots yesterday.  There were some minor issues, but the cramping issue was gone.  I think the minor issues I experienced might get better after a few days of skiing and the liners begin to pack out in areas where there is pressure.  

 

Ultimately, it sounds like I need new boots.  Even with the shims, my boots feel like they are moving on my feet.  If I pick up my foot and twist the ski back and forth, I can feel my foot flop from side to side instead of maintaining contact in the boot.  

 

The new shims have made things much better, but they are really only a temporary fix until I can get myself new boots.  

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

OK, $600 later, new Head Raptor 130RS Boots, much tighter fit, but still getting the cramping in the side of my calve.  I'm running out of options.  Two reputable boot fitters have tried to figure this out, but neither have been able to straighten out my boots so I can ski without pain.  I'm running out of options.  I don't know what else to try.  Any thoughts?

post #12 of 22

post a picture of the side of your leg/foot and mark somehow the affected area please.

 

mike

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 

 

The Area inside the oval is where I feel the cramping.  

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by TreeFiter View Post
 

 

The Area inside the oval is where I feel the cramping.  

Those are some pretty good size (large) calf muscles.  Put one of the liners on that leg and measure the circumference

of your calf muscle at the top of the liner for me.  If it is as large as I suspect, this could be causing fore/aft balance issues and

over use of all the muscle groups of you legs.

 

mike

post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by miketsc View Post
 

Those are some pretty good size (large) calf muscles.  Put one of the liners on that leg and measure the circumference

of your calf muscle at the top of the liner for me.  If it is as large as I suspect, this could be causing fore/aft balance issues and

over use of all the muscle groups of you legs.

 

mike

On that leg, the calf measures 16 1/4" at the top of the boot cuff.  

post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 

Would the fore/aft balance issue cause cramping even when just sitting around with the boots on?

post #17 of 22
Cramping is usually caused by a lack uv oxygen in a muscle, so, with the size of your leg you might be pinching off blood flow to that particular muscle group some how. Considering the size of your calf and boot size I doubt you are centered over your boot sole correctly, which would lead to fiore/aft balance problems when skiing.

Do you get any pinching at the corner of the boot tongue?

Mike
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by miketsc View Post

Cramping is usually caused by a lack uv oxygen in a muscle, so, with the size of your leg you might be pinching off blood flow to that particular muscle group some how. Considering the size of your calf and boot size I doubt you are centered over your boot sole correctly, which would lead to fiore/aft balance problems when skiing.

Do you get any pinching at the corner of the boot tongue?

Mike

I don't get any pinching at the corners of the tongue.  I have suspected some sort of constriction, but I can't seem to find a happy medium between flopping around in the cuff and cutting off circulation.  

post #19 of 22

The blood flow to this muscle group flows downward in the front outside (lateral side) of the leg.

 

Try this----put the boot on and buckle it loosely so that you don't get the cramping---then slide a ball point pen (or some round long object) down between the shell and the liner and/or tongue vertically and move it around to different positions clockwise to see if increasing the pressure locally will produce the cramping.  If you locate a spot where you get the cramping then you could remove some padding very locally over that area to relieve pressure just in that spot.

 

this might be as simple as moving the tongue around medially/laterally so as to relieve pressure if it is being caused by the edge of the tongue.

 

mike

post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 

I met with my boot fitter again today.  We tried a few different things, but what I think may have worked was relieving pressure along the outside edge of the foot.  We also made new footbeds, which feel much better.  I guess I'll find out if it really worked tomorrow when I ski.  

post #21 of 22

are we on boot fitter 1, 2 or 3 here?

 

late to the party here but have you tried a foam roller to try and work the muscle/fascia in that area, often when i see problems like this it is general muscular tension causing it and not just he boot

 

equally as Mike said with the calf muscle size you have the cuff of that boot probably needs to be flared back a little, the Raptor has a pretty aggressive forward lean so will exaggerate the problems of a larger calf

post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CEM View Post
 

are we on boot fitter 1, 2 or 3 here?

 

late to the party here but have you tried a foam roller to try and work the muscle/fascia in that area, often when i see problems like this it is general muscular tension causing it and not just he boot

 

equally as Mike said with the calf muscle size you have the cuff of that boot probably needs to be flared back a little, the Raptor has a pretty aggressive forward lean so will exaggerate the problems of a larger calf

Only on boot fitter #2.  I have not tried a foam roller.  I have considered the possibility that it might be a conditioning issue.  I've tried stretching and warm up exercises before putting on my boots, but that didn't seem to make a difference.  

 

If the latest modifications didn't fix my issues, I will look into flaring the cuff, and working the muscle with a foam roller.  

 

Thanks for the input.

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