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Arch pain--with custom footbeds--help

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
I have been skiing with foot beds in my Lange B9s and new Comp 100s for 6 or more years. Now and again---really odd and usually on great snow days, I have unbelievable arch pain to the point that I think the tops of my feet--both of them--are going to pop out the top of my boot. I have nearly had to stop skiing some days...NEARLY.
Its not the boot buckles. Period. I can run without them even close to being tight and they kill me. Other days, I crank them down beyond normal and there is no problem. I wear the same brand and style socks every day.
Its not a warm/cold thing. It has happend on 40 degree days and 10 below nights and then just the opposite.
A VERY GOOD SKI EXAMINER told me on a "styrofome" type snow day 15 degrees, perfect gooming and sun, that I was TOO EDGY for the conditions. Getting so much edge was causing vibration which was killing my feet. RELAX he said, ski less dynamic. I tried, it might have helped, conditions changed bla, bla, bla. It went away and retuned 4 days later with mud snow.
Sometimes is lasts only 3-4 runs then goes away. IT IS NOT MY SOCKS--moving down, trust me.
In breaking in my new Lange boots, I wanted to have a toe blown out some in Teluride. The boot fitter at "Boot Dr" BILL (recommended on this site) advised my foot beds were all wrong, or somewhat wrong. He recommended starting over. I did.
The new foot beds solved the toe issues. (YEAH) but there was Arch Pain. It was very icey (for the west, not for us Eastern folks) and I was skiing very steep terrain on icey mogles. OUCH my arches hurt.
He placed another layer of something on the beds. Next day, skied all day with a 6 yr old. Did not really get to test them.
Last day of the season I skied Crested, a real nice local took me on a tour of the backcountry---lots of hiking and great skiing. A little arch pain but it would go away with all of the hiking we were doing in 2' of new fluff.
This was a great way to end the season, but I did not get to test my boots too well before leaving CO.
Bill at the Boot Dr advised my Big Toe flexing back test was HUGE. Can this be too big? The guy sitting next to me couldn't raise his big toe 1/4 off the ground. I can make my toe flex facing backward--meaning greater than 90 degrees---just slightly greater. When I do this, I feel the tendons under my arch. Can I move my toes up too much? I THINK I am pushing my toes down to ski, not pulling them up. Can I be pushing them down too much as if I was afraid? When I do this, I also get arch pain. However, I actively tested this theory and practiced skiing with a neutral toe--not up or down--still pain.
Bill advised he feels he can correct this by "softening" the foot bed under my arch. Hollowing it out. He advised that my old foot beds and my new ones are designed to be stiff underfoot for better performance. I feel that I am a good skier, I love edging and steep terrain. I want performance. But I dont want arch pain---it hurts my performance as I am only skiing 80% at best when the pain comes. Again the pain comes only 1 of every 4 ski days.
Does anyone have ideas? Do you think it can be the foot beds which are too stiff?
I am a Level II skier working to Level III.
post #2 of 50
You could be over supported or you could have a very rigid midfoot. Do a winlass test to see how much mobility you have in your midfoot. If you are rigid midfoot it can often work better to get the needed support/correction at the heel and leave the midfoot with little to no support.
post #3 of 50
I have the same problem. My original boot fitter created a footbed with no arch correction. None! I am totaly flat footed and it cannot be corrected. It was the best footbed for arch pain that I ever had. The method of molding the footbed was unweighted with a vacume and plastic bag.

The footbed itself is not the best I've ever skied but it good and it didn't hurt. Pain sucks!

Also, the lower section of my foot is also a problem. My foot continues to spread just past the arch on the outside. The footbed help this problem but width is important as well. This causes big problems in the arch as well.
post #4 of 50
Thread Starter 
L7 or any boot fitters out there. Can you describe a Winlas test. I seached this forum and I googled it. Nothing.
post #5 of 50
Is this pain like you've been standing on a ladder all day or pressure on top?
post #6 of 50
Originally Posted by GregGaspar
L7 or any boot fitters out there. Can you describe a Winlas test. I seached this forum and I googled it. Nothing.
Google "windlass" and you'll find what you're looking for. Add "flex" or "podiatry" to your keyword to tighten your search.
post #7 of 50
Thread Starter 
Sibhuskhy--and L7,

The pain comes from the base of the foot,,not the top. I will go with the ladder all day answer---While I have been on a ladder all day, I only get calf pain---I have good boots. At White Face on a perfect snow day---best in 30 years according to locals, I had one of my 1 in 4 days. 2 feet of pow--real light. THis is my old boots--but the pain is the same. Half way down each run, I would stop and pull my foot 1/2 way out of the boot. The pain would go right away. I was skiing with no buckles, but it did not help. THis year in my new boots and beds I was in mogles and while the pain was less, it was there. I relieved it by stopping and taking pressure off each foot alternating. After 2-3 minutes, I was good to go again. After 2-3 hours of this, it went away completely????? So to me, it comes from the bottom. I take weight off my foot and the pain goes away. I find I do not want to put pressure on my outside ski because it hurts my arch. Thus I find I ski very well 50/50.

L7 or other writers/readers. I types Winless wrong and now know the test. My fitter BILL did do this test---ALOT. He spoke, but I was not listening too much as it may have been over my head. He did say that he could hollow out the mid point of my bed---but this would reduce performace. I dont care. I want pain to go away. I also do not want to hollow out the beds and then find the pain is still there.
I just did the winless test myself. I have what I consider good archs. I can pick my toe up without manual help to 90 degrees. I only see my muscels move. The arch stays vertically equal. When I place my finger under the arch and do this, I can feel my tendon--it is very dominate. WHen I do the test without weight, the tendon sticks out from my foot 1/2 inch and runs flat across the bottom of my foot. The arch is way up off the foot plane. I can see muscels move, not the arch. DOES THIS HELP? When I push on the tendon---I get recollections of "hey might this be the pain I feel"

THen the question---why only on certain days?
post #8 of 50
4 questions.
How many days a season/frequency do you nomally ski?
How many hours average on those days?
Have you noticed any other foot trouble at all in any other type of footwear?
What skis/ bindings have you been on?
post #9 of 50
I had this problem with my Salomon boots. The problem was the shell of the boot was really too high under the arch for my flat feet. They felt great in the store, but about two hours into things, I was in agony. I got heel lifts and then added more thickness under the ball of my foot AND cut away the part of the footbed that went over the arch area until I stopped feeling any arch under the sore area. The biggest improvement came from the heel lift. I also try to resist cinching down the buckle over my arch too much as the day goes on. As soon as I feel that my foot is a bit "tired", I know the buckle is too tight.

I didn't do anything to the shell itself, this was all done with things like Scholls and just the footbed that came with the boot, so didn't cost much at all.

Until I did this, I was near crippled by the end of the day. I am not sure if it's the same problem or not, but won't cost much to fool with.

Also, I found that things were worse on days I stood around more than I skied.
post #10 of 50
Nice work on the actual use of the search function. I wondered if you would just ask what a winlass test was or try to find out first. I've written about it before and figured finding that would be easier.

I figured anyone from Bootdoctors would do the test but it isn't quite the same as lifting your toe on your own. That test has more to do with gait/locomotion. If you or ideally someone else lifts your big toe what you want to watch for is the arch lifting as the toe is lifted. Your tendons protruding are an indication but not exactly the same thing.

If while lifting the toe you get no change in the arch height that indicates a rigid midfoot and it will tolerate support under the arch poorly to not at all. Without arch collapse it is still possible to over pronate and benefit from or need support. In this case support can and should be gained from the heel, any attempt to gain the support under the arch may produce little more than pain.

Bottom line is you may need some support but can still get the performance benefits from the heel without the pain associated with trying to get the support at the midfoot.

This is as plain as I can make it after a gallon of sake, hope it makes sense. Maybe I'll have a scotch now and check that this makes sense in the morning.
post #11 of 50
I have dealt with screaming arch pain for my entire ski 'career' (16 years.) I too have had two sets of orthotics and different boots. Arch support makes it worse, this is true in sneakers too, I never buy shoes that I can feel pressing into my arches. My feet are a bit flat, but arch support makes it worse.

Two things that have helped me greatly, although I still get arch pain once in a while.

1. Strengthen the muscles. Pam Fletcher showed me an exercise where you put a towel on the floor, put a weight on one end and then using your toes on the other end, curl them to pull the towel towards you. Do this until it's too bunched up, flatten it and pull it more. This will strengthen those tiny muscles on the bottom of your foot that generally don't get used and thus can get very weak.

2. Concentrate on not trying to "grip" the snow with your feet/toes. Curl your toes up, wiggle them, whatever it takes. This is the main reason I get the pain. Tension. It always happened more on difficult terrain where I was tense and tightening my feet, curling my toes down, etc. The person who said you were edging too much could be on the right track, but to me it's not edging, but tension. So as he/she said, relax your feet more.

This could help your technique as well, in that you're probably pressuring the tips of your skis by pushing down on the fronts of your feet. Instead flex your ankles to move your center of mass more forward and still try to stay off the balls of your feet. Trying to get tip of ski contact by pressuring the balls of your feet can definitely cause foot pain and is not the optimal way to do it. Ski more on the middle of your feet and use ankle flex to move your feet back and thus your weight forward to acheive tip pressure.

Good luck! I used to stand on lift lines leaning on my poles practically blinded by the pain which would go away by the top of the lift ride.
post #12 of 50
L7, sake spelling trouble I think, 'windlass' perhaps? It makes sense from the root word form as it conveys the sense of a hawser winding around a post in a similar curve as the tendon?

Thanks for posting that, helped very much with some skate fitting earlier in the season.
post #13 of 50
Thread Starter 
[quote=RJP]4 questions.
How many days a season/frequency do you nomally ski? 5 days a week. Three nights from 5-9 and each weekend from 8-3
I get one lesson each night and do some clinics on Sat/Sun where YES we do stand around abit. I, unlike the other person in this thead do not have progressive pain throughout the day, rather mine (when it does occur) starts after 2-3 runs---we only have 700 feet of vert. and then stays for about 2 hours. It defititely goes away on the chair ride.

How many hours average on those days? When I travel, open to close. Lunch on the lift.

Have you noticed any other foot trouble at all in any other type of footwear? No--I bike with biking shoes and hike. I run as well. NYC Marathon last year--a first. 4-0 flat. No pain, ever. I did wear corrective shoes from 2-10 grade, I am slightly bow legged and that was the reason for the shoes, I think. Fell down the steps alot ---maybe because there was no snow on that steep run. Never had pain before I got foot beds--but then again, I did not ski as much or as hard before them either. I have not tried pulling the footbedsem out, because I never kept the other insoles that were tossed and am too cheep to purchase new ones. AND, I really want to fix the problems---I experiment with something new each time with my skiing.

What skis/ bindings have you been on? Dynastar Cross 10 and Lange Comp 100 boots and Look p12 bindings. NOTE: I borrow skis as well and use the mountain's rentals 133s when I teach. Same pain, when there is pain.

What L7 is saying makes good sense and hearing it again, this is what BIll at Foot Dr was imparting to me as well. I used to have heel lifts with my old B9 boots, but when I was fitted with the Comp 100s they advised not needed.

QUESTION. Heel lifts (assuming pick up the heel and this gives space under the arch) ? or Hollow out the foot bed under the arch.

My clinician advises I am plenty forward, Not one examiner has advised me to get more forward in any run discussion. They do say other things like--stand up---I tend to hunch my back, though this is going away.

Question: Beside making room for my arch, what else might occur if I use heel lifts? Cause and effect. What size would you begin with 1/8. Is this something I can toss in myself to see if it works?

As noted in my case scenerio---I do ski several runs with my toes pointed up to the sky. This trains me to keep my shins forward and bend those ankles. I am very conscious about my toes in my boots. I do not believe I "grip" the snow with them. MAYBE on really, really steep. But we do not have that at my hill and this pain mostly occurs when I am relaxed and happy to be on the mountain. It is the only thing ruining my day.
post #14 of 50
A heel lift could/might help IF you have poor ankle flexion. if this was the case you would very likely have problems running as well. If the Boot Dr guys said you don't need the heel lifts I assume they checked your flexion and judged it to be fine. If the boot pushes you forward excessively or you push forward too much you could be pulling on the connective tissue on the bottom of the foot and cause the pain described. This is only likely if the ankle flexion is limited. The heel lift would then allow the ankle to open up a bit and take some strain off the connective tissue.

You can slip heel lifts in and out quite easily and can use things as available as folded up trail maps. Place them on the bottom of the boot underneath the liner. I doubt they will fix your problem but you can give it a go. If there is a spoiler in the back of the boot it can help to remove that as well.

I'm guessing Boot Drs. made you instaprint footbeds. If there is posting material (foam) under the arch that can be largely or partially removed. That is the 'hollowing' referred to and will soften the support quite a bit.

Windlass and Sake yummm

Comprex, good article, thanks.
post #15 of 50
The reason I suggested a heel lift and also something under the ball of the foot was to pull the foot upwards away from the arch. It had nothing to do with his stance. Yes, definitely remove any extra padding from under the arch. Basically, you are trying to allow your foot to be its ole flat self.
post #16 of 50
Generally a heel lift is put under the footbed and liner as well so the arch would still move up with the foot. I'm not sure what you are suggesting but just chucking the footbed altogether would accomplish the same it seems. I'm not sure we have established that his foot is flat. My suspicion is that it is rigid and the arch remains intact when weight bearing. I assume it will be until next season until gets fully resolved anyway.
post #17 of 50
I was trying to get a feel for how much time you spend in boots,which can go through uncomfortable spells. Sometimes your feet need to adapt to a new boot/shoe. I know that i personally have certain spots on my feet that are notoriously sore whenever i switch to a different model of running/biking shoe/ ski boot etc. which goes away with time. But, after hearing your answer I don't think that is the case with you.

I was also interested in your equipement because of what L7 noted on how foot position can affect connective tissue strain.

Originally Posted by L7
If the boot pushes you forward excessively or you push forward too much you could be pulling on the connective tissue on the bottom of the foot and cause the pain described. This is only likely if the ankle flexion is limited. The heel lift would then allow the ankle to open up a bit and take some strain off the connective tissue.
The Look bindings have a fairly high delta angle and if i remember correctly the Comp's have a spoiler connected to the liner that gives a decent amount of forward lean. If need be, then it can be ground off, but I dont think its your problem either.

I think that L7 maybe on to something with too much support under your arch. The pain may be coming from the fact that you arches are taking 1,000 little punches from your footbeds throughout the day and those punches may be coming from a stiffer skiing style. It might be in your interest to remove the custom footbeds and insert some over the counter Spenco's or something shock reducing with little arch support as an experiment. Removing the arch posting a la L7's suggestion would be fairly similiar but I hate messing with orthotics until experiments point you in the right direction.

What do you describe as a "good snow day"?( which is when you said it happens more often then not.) I think that I'm leaning toward the thoughts of the Examiner who said you need to ski a little softer because your feet were taking a pounding. You mentioned steep icy bumps killed them.
post #18 of 50
Not an expert here like it sounds some of you are, but here's my experience. Got new boots (technicas) a couple of years ago. went to Dr. Bob at the Boot Dr. to get them tweeked. got talked into new custom footbeds. (mine were OK they said, but five years old and they said, can't hurt...) the boots were better, but I too got horrid arch pain, toward the front part of the arch on the bottom of the foot. usually after a half a hard ski day. finally threw them out and put my old ones back in, never had a problem. I got those from Jaques at Le Ski Lab (think he calls it the foot lab or boot lab now) in Winter Park. All he does is fit boots and footbeds and i've never had a problem before or since. Don't know if it'll help, but you might try a visit to see him. Oh here it is: http://www.lefeetlab.com/good luck!
post #19 of 50
Thread Starter 
Thank you all....
Sounds like I have a good starting place for next year. In fact Bill did place posting under my bed. This is what he discussed as hollowing out. My main querry is why I have pain some days and then not others. What I am hearing is I MAY have a stiff foot---trust me I do not have flat feet. My arch is approx 1.5 inches vert. Though it may be stiff because of what believe are the results of the winlass test I performed. I will have this done again by a fitter and now know what he is taking about, and listen more intently.

I believe I have good flexion in the ankle, again not sure unless I compare mine to someone who does not. When I excercise, I play with my flexion and I feel I have a very big range.

Why pain some days and not others? Perhaps I am moving too much forward as suggested and it is pulling on that tendon in my arch---which is then getting the 1000 hits. Stretch it and punch it and pain will occur. Sounds right to me.

Perfect day for me is 15 or so degrees F, groomed out styrofome dry snow, I may be so excited on these days that I get too forward wanting to do my best. The pain may be going away as I may relax or GET TIRED after a few hours of skiing.

I will purchase some insoles to replace the beds when they begin to get sore this year. I will also try heel lifts first. The game plan for the winter is 8 days in Killington Vt in December for Sno Pro (I can talk to the Green Mountain guys about this as well, they spend 5 days working with PSIA skiers ) and then go to Teluride for Christmas and see Bill at the Boot Dr. I want to be a happy camper again. I used to jump but my feet hurt too much and I stayed on the ground all last year.

Any additional comments will be appreciated. THank you again everyone. I have some great insight and I am sure the problem will be solved this year----then off to LIII training.
post #20 of 50
Thread Starter 
Thank you to everyone again. Reading over the site once again I followed COMPREX's link to learn about the plantar fascia. It is all starting to make sense now that I have some basis of the human body. For those reading about my pain because of your own, consider going to this site to read more: http://familydoctor.org/140.xml#1 This will give exercises etc, many of which I do for my running. I will now do them for skiing. Skiing 5 days a week, I stop working out during the winter, however I may now at least continue stretching exercises.
Please correct me if I am wrong on this:

I have a short plantar fascia---I have a high arch. My foot beds have a very high arch in the center that mirrors my high arch. It is hard plastic/foam/etc. As I move forward toes bending, ankle flexing etc, my heel lifts (chicken/egg thing) or tries to. As this occurs, the plantar fascia stretches across the bottom of my foot. It is stretched over the foot bed like a guitar string. Each time I high edge on hard snow or hit the mogles I strike the guitar string and my feet sing to me sweet sounds of pain. In the mushy stuff, the skis are chopping and pushing and bouncing as I am usually going fast---cause its really warm and I am still skiing This is most likely the answer. Now let it snow.

I will check on this thread now and again for other post or opinions. I will also add my resolve to this, should I get one.
post #21 of 50
most of the boot techies would be amazed at the lack of "technology" being used at the world cup level. everything is going back to more and more flexion...a more relaxed athletic fit for the foot. often, footbeds are way over-posted, generally it is just some sort of e.v.a. in any variety of hardnesses. the blank can have more to do with it than anything. what is the blank made out of? maybe a harder material like ( white or black, commonly used) surlyn? most of the athletes that i work with use nothing more than a a soft e.v.a footbed with little or no more integrity than what comes in the boots out of the box. footbeds are the foundation of a ski system but everyone is different,
don't be afraid to experiment with other insoles, we're not dealing with a precise science here and if it doesn't work you can always go back. keep stretching those feet!
mark bettencourt
atomic racing east
post #22 of 50


As the examiner hinted to, and as others have undoubtedly mentioned...keeping those toes...and thus feet relaxed and lying naturally all the time...while keeping your breathing constant will allow a lot more circulation through to your toes. 180deg difference in comfort by that second hour in the morning. $.01..... *Totally agree with what L7's said about the makeup of your footbed... Wide forefoot, high instep, and rigid midfoot here too.
post #23 of 50
I've got something similar. Footbeds made by boot techs didn't help, but my non-skiing orthotics that I now use in my boots have meant I don't get it any more. These are 2/3 length, and flex a little bit (for walking). The black toes (from slight sliding) are an OK tradeoff!
post #24 of 50
Got the same symptoms, but only the first half of the day. I have given up on the bootfitting. The only thing that helps so far is loosening the straps the first 2 or 3 runs and also starting with a few short runs. It's probably also a tension problem resulting in bloodflow disturbance. The exercises mentioned might be worth a try tho’.
post #25 of 50
Originally Posted by GregGaspar
When I place my finger under the arch and do this, I can feel my tendon--it is very dominate. WHen I do the test without weight, the tendon sticks out from my foot 1/2 inch and runs flat across the bottom of my foot. The arch is way up off the foot plane. I can see muscels move, not the arch. DOES THIS HELP? When I push on the tendon---I get recollections of "hey might this be the pain I feel"

THen the question---why only on certain days?

I know zip about this except my experience with footbeds/orthotics...
I had EXACTLY this problem but less infrequent (ie more often had it than not but we never knew WHY I would sometimes NOT have it... I could leave boots unbuckled & i had it....)

Footbed from surefoot - had it most of the time.... footbed from some place in Whistler(Wild Willies?) & i have it less often ..... but just WAIT until I remove foot from boot...severe pain - can barely walk for about half an hour or more....

Orthotic from podiatrist for walking.... I love & it has CHANNELS in it for my tendons in my foot... best orthotics I ever had BY FAR(I have had orthotics about 12 years)....

Tried walking orthotics today for skiing - least annoying footday I have EVER had on skis (if I can include my lower right leg in my foot then x100).... & remember these are NOT even full length - so my forefoot was on the liner sole only - hardly comfy stuff!
post #26 of 50
Oh - if you think I exagerate about how annoying my boots/feet usually are - ask ant I'm always tightening/loosening the damn things because I feel horrid in them.... today I did them up & left them for 3 hours!
post #27 of 50
I think the strangest thing about your case is that the pain does not happen every day. Most people on this thread who speak of similar boot problems have experienced it consistently.
Now this isn't as technical as some of the replies here - but have you looked at lifestyle factors that could be making your feet swell? Alcohol is one example. If you have been drinking the night before your feet tend to be a bit swollen the next day. If you have very well fitting boots, where changing to a new sock for example would be enough to make them hurt, then this could be a problem. I know I find that if I have been drinking the night before my boots hurt the next day. I'm sure alcohol would not be the only cause though - being immobile on your feet all day I guess may have the same effect.
post #28 of 50
Mine is also variable & I tried every thing I could think of to get to the bottom of WHY it happens WHEN it happens....

I can also feel the tendon in my arch quite easily & have a very high arch - which the physio tells me is because my foot is "locked" up into that arch....

the new orthotics have the channels in for my tendons & I have much happier feet even walking around... (I work standing on my feet ALL day - not walking just STANDING)... The podiatrist spent time pointing out the 2 rather subtle grooves in my orthotics to me - so I guess he thought it was important....
post #29 of 50
I wondered what those grooves in my orthotics were about. Pod did give me a lecture about flexing and stuff, maybe that was it. These aren't even designed for skiing, but the benefits they add to skiing are manifold. My balance is so much better when I put the walking orthotics in my ski boots.

as for pain, most of mine is under the middle toes, some kind of nerve thing, and it's always much worse when it's warm weather. has eased off a lot though, and I know it's fixable by putting a lump in the middle of the foot ball
post #30 of 50
ant, is thread here.
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