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Difficult feet

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
First, please forgive the length of this - I'm going to try and get all the information out in one post so that I don't have to keep following up with more information.

My feet are short and wide - size 7.5 or 8's for length, E to EE width. So not too terribly wide, but fairly uncommon because of the shortness. (I'm also 6' and about 190, so fairly big for my feet too). I've been skiing since I was 10, and boots have always been an issue.

For as long as I can remember skiing, I've always had a slight pain in the outside, slightly forward & mid to upper portion of my calves (the muscles a little bit to the outside of the shins). A few years ago I bought some custom fitted boots - and the problem almost, but not quite, went away.

Last season though, it came back with a vengence, and the only way I was able to cope with it was either to stop skiing, or to loosen my boots to the point where I didn't want to ski anything tougher than a groomed blue because of safety questions. I talked to probably half the boot-fitters in Breckenridge and Colorado Springs last winter - and not one of them had a good idea about what the problem could be.

Now, I always kind of assumed that the problem had to do with the cuff tightness and/or fit and canting, but earlier this summer I started questioning that. Because, I experienced the exact same pain while hiking in a new pair of Merrel boots. I had to loosen the shoe strings substantially to alleviate the pain (again to the point of almost swimming the boots - if I had stepped in really sticky mud I probably would have stepped right out of them).

Making me really come to the conclusion that it's a foot problem (not a calf, heel, cuff etc problem) though is that last week while running, the same pain came back while in running shoes. This time I was able to alleviate the pain by only slightly loosening the shoe - but the point is that a shoe with no ankle or cuff support at all produced the same problem - pain in my mid-to-upper calf (forward/outside portion).

Other than being stubby and wide, my feet have no other odd issues - fairly normal arch (maybe a touch high, but minimal), ball, heel, etc.

Right now I'm in the middle of planning a 3-week ski vacation to Europe, and I'm going to be starting the hunt for new boots and custom fitting in the next few weeks. But, I'm worried that I'm going to run into the same issue I did last winter when I started asking boot fitters if they had any suggestions: that no one will be able to even identify my problem, let alone fix it.

So, all of that to ask this:
Does anyone have any good ideas or suggestions? At this point I'm willing to travel to almost any bootfitter in Colorado and pay almost any price if they could guarantee that this pain would go away...

Thanks for any insights ya'll may be able to offer!

post #2 of 13
jake75, did you see Jeff Bergeron or Jim Lindsay?
post #3 of 13

Any chance it's muscle fatigue/soreness? The three activities you mentioned will (or can) all make good use of the muscles in that area.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by ssh
jake75, did you see Jeff Bergeron or Jim Lindsay?
If you can tell me which shop they work at, I *might* be able to answer - I've slept since then, so remembering names is definitely out of the question .

To answer cjeib, it doesn't feel at all like muscle fatigue or soreness, and if that were the case, why would loosening everything up make it go away? If asked to describe the pain, it feels similar to a muscle cramp - but not quite that either. And it's never sore the next day (but will start right back up when I start skiing again). And finally, it doesn't get better/worse depending on what kind of shape I'm in - I ran cross country in college, had the pain then, had back surgery, didn't exercise at all for 6 months and put on 20 lbs, and had the pain then. Now I'm about in the middle of those extremes in terms of fitness levels, and it's the worst it's ever been.

Thanks for you question though!

post #5 of 13
From the EpicSki Bootfitting Master's thread: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=3986

Originally Posted by AC

Bootfitter's Name:Jeff Bergeron

Store Name: Boot Fixation

Store Address: 1802 Airport Road, Unit B2, Breckenridge, CO

Phone number: 970-453-8546

E-mail: bootfix@colorado.net

Additional Comments:

Bob Barnes: Very knowledgeable and professional!

Tag: My wife's boots were giving her such pain she was ready to quit skiing until a friend in Summit County pointed us to Jeff. Jeff does more than just get the boot to fit your foot. He also checks your entire alignment and will even come to ski with you to make sure his adjustments are working to assist your skiing.

Originally Posted by skier31
Jim Lindsay of BOOTech, Inc. Jim is located at the base of the Aspen Highlands ski area in Aspen, Colorado, in the Pro Mountain Sports facility. The actual address is BOOTech, Inc., 0076 Boomerang Rd. Aspen,CO 81612 - but the shop is easy to find on the ground floor of the Highlands Center building, the main base area building you see upon arriving at Aspen Highlands.

Phone: 970 429 3272

Email: bootinfo@BOOTech.net

Appointments are available every day of the ski season starting at 9:00 AM

Comments: A PSIA examiner recommended that I go to Jim. He gives a discount to PSIA members. He spent about 1 1/2 hours with me and did quite a bit of work on my boots. I have a leg length discrepancy as well as pronation issues. I noticed a huge difference and am very happy with his work.
post #6 of 13
hi jake,

finding a qualified fitter will be your first step, but in your travels have you tried orthotics/footbeds? If not, they'll give you a more solid foundation upon which to build a quality fit.

In the case of smallish feet for your size, you will likely notice an even greater improvement than most as they will help to increase the surface area over which you're distributing your weight, as well as allow the muscles to relax to some degree.
post #7 of 13
Might be shin splints. Can be caused by foot alignment problems, or jarring from running, or from muscles that are pushing against the muscle sheath. A sports-orientated podiatrist, or sports doctor, can work it out properly. You probably need to get it dealt-with though, or it might get worse (I have foot-long scars up both shins from compartment syndrome).
post #8 of 13
Sounds like a time with a good boot fitter is a must for you. www.dalebootusa.com is another option.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of your help!

After a bit of research, in addition to the information offered here, I'm going to see a "sports orientated podiatrist" this coming Monday (he's the podiatrist for the local AAA ball club). And, after he does his thing, probably get in line to visit with a recommended boot fitter once we can get back on the snow .

post #10 of 13
my sense is you need a high arch orthotic.
after you get one share your experience
post #11 of 13
Two questions:
1) Is there any pain in your foot?
2) Does it hurt if you squeeze your metatarsals together hard with your hand (the widest part of your foot where your toes meet)?
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
1. no
2. no

After the visit to the podiatrist this morning, there's apparently a few issues coming up. One has to do with stretching the calf muscles properly (they're apparently very tight), and he gave me excercises to do each day, and the other (overpronation) is going to require orthotics. Ordered the walking/running ones today - after we get those dialed in and are closer to ski season, we're going to get some designed specifically for skiing...

I'm really hoping this works.

post #13 of 13
That's what we first tried when my shins first flared up (in the 80s). And icing (using bags of frozen peas!). If you know a decent sports massage therapist, you can take a short cut by having some very painful deep tissue work done on your calfs, which softens up the tight stuff so you can stretch properly. Make sure you stretch just to the point of feeling the stretch, and hold it for as many MINUTES as you can. Stretching too hard can be counter-productive. You want to do looooong gentle stretches, and do several sessions a day.

sadly, your treatment didn't work on me and I ended up having a fasciotomy (nasty operation). Acupuncture did work, oddly enough, until I went overboard and played 11 hockey matches in one day (at a carnival) and it came back.
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