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Black Toe is Back!

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Well, I headed out for my fist run last weekend and the beside the conditions being pretty crappy, the skiing was ok for the first time out. Now, historically I get black toe every year on my right big toe (left is always fine). Last year I had a footbed (surefoot) inserted and some padding placed on my inner liner to keep my foot positioned back. That helped, however this year it has returned! My boots are not large at all (was professionally fitted). If anything, they are a bit too tight in the toe-end. Because my toe is now a bit swollen, I am going to hold back on having them adjusted as they now fit tighter than usual.

Does anyone have any advice as to what I should have done to my boot in order to rid of this incident from happening again in the future, and to aviod any stress on my toes.

post #2 of 24
I'm no bootfitter, but your toe box might be too tight around your little piggies. Black makes it sound like a bruise, but this is just my usual disjointed rambling.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yup, it is a bruise under the nail..and a bit of puffiness at the bottom of the nail as well. It does not hurt too much but I am getting pretty tired of this from re-occurring.
post #4 of 24
Find a better boot fitter, or keep going back to the same fitter until he/she gets it right. You should not be getting black toe.
post #5 of 24
Without know what kind of a skier you are, my thoughts are:

  • Keep your toe-nails clipped short</font>
  • Stay out of the back seat - Imagine holding a penny between your shins and the tongue of your boot</font>
  • Make sure you have enough room in the toe-box to wiggle your toes.
    The boot should be comfortably snug in order to hold your fore-foot, ankle and leg. Personally, when free-skiing - not racing - I keep the two lower buckles fairly loose. The boot and my custom footbed support my foot, not an overly tight buckle(s).</font>
  • Spend more time with your boot-fitter.</font>
post #6 of 24
btw, my MD did a little trick that (almost) saved my toe last season. I just happened to be in his office on another matter -- if I'd gotten in sooner it probably would have done the job.

Basically he just took one of those little hot cauterizing wire doohickies and burned a little hole in the top of my toenail. All the pus etc. drained out. (Sorry for the gorey details..) Apparantly its the gunk buildup and not the trauma itself that causes the seperation. IIRC correctly he said you do this at home with a very hot paperclip. (Um, maybe better get confirmation on that before you try it!) Doesn't hurt a bit _unless_ you go too far (you just want to burn off a little bit of the nail) in which case it would hurt like a MF'r. :
post #7 of 24
Hi Lange Guy,

I had a pair of Lange L10s last year, and tried on this years version as well. Both boots felt like they had a pyramid shape for the toe box, and yep, you guessed it, my big toe took a beatin'.

I took them to a really good local bootfitter (he does some work for the US Mens Team so he's seen a few feet), and he ground out a nice place for my toe. Problem solved. He mentioned that the plastic is very thick in Langes toe boxes so grinding isn't a bad route to go.

A good boot fitter can also heat up the toe box area in your boot, and actually expand it to make the whole toe box larger as well.

So, yes find a good boot fitter who is proficient at the above techniques, and you should be good to go.

On an emotional level I appreciate the boot hell you're going through. Keep experimenting, and keep the faith. The problem will be solved eventually.

Hope this helps.

post #8 of 24
Do the ballerina trick...

Get medical tape and either lambs wool toe guards or some stuffing and tape 'em on up! I tried it one year when I broke a toe and thought back to my old days as a ballerina, and it worked wonders. Of course I fixed everything by getting new boots, but than, for me, nothing was an uncomfortable as ballet pointe shoes.

Best of luck
post #9 of 24
Both of my toenails have a long history of going black and falling off. they always grow back just in time for the skiing season!

I can confirm that the piercing trick works but not every paperclip will work, depends on the material and how much heat the metal retains after you heated it, it needs to be quite hot to melt the nail. also note that some doctors advise against doing this as there is a risk of getting an infection through this hole later, so keep it very clean!

Re: skiboots, mine fit quite snug so I usually kept the top buckles loose or even undone - big mistake b/c then the foot moves forward and the toes get banged. i never noticed when skiing, only at the end of the day when it was too late!

As said before you toes need room to wriggle. A good bootfitter can make sure that this is the case by expanding the shell or shaving off some height of the plastic ramp sitting under the liner.
post #10 of 24
I purchased a new pair of boots last year. Sking they felt great but walking they were killing my big toes.By the end of the season the boots felt great but my big toenails were black and ready to fall off.I had fun every morning pulling on them,kinda the same feeling you get when your ready to pop-a-zit.
I've made sure to keep my nails trimmed back so that if there is any bangin going on your bangin meat and not nail
post #11 of 24
I had this problem with a new pair of boots. I spent alot of time with the bootfitter, custom foot beds. When I took them back to the same fitter he merely stretched the insert making it longer in the toe. Haven't had a problem in the last 2 years. And yes, the toe nail did grow back. Surely a testimony to the crafstmanship of my boot guy.
post #12 of 24
Hey all as someone that has been thru several finger & toe nail smashings I can tell you a 1/16 or smaller drilll bit rolled between you thumb & forefinger is a lot easier to control than any red hot paper clip, the drill bit will drill wright thru the nail with ease & go as fast or slow as you want, only thing is I would use a new or very clean drill bit.
post #13 of 24
This is what works for me. Footbeds can control the foot spreading longer under load and you should stretch the liner if you hope to feel the benefit of the shell punch.

[ December 13, 2003, 11:07 PM: Message edited by: L7 ]
post #14 of 24
[quote]Originally posted by L7:
[QB]This is what works for me. Footbeds can control the foot spreading longer under load and you should stretch the liner if you hope to feel the benefit of the shell punch. boot toe punch
post #15 of 24
When you go back to your bootfitter, before you have the liner or shell stretched, have him put the next size up liner in your shells. Tried it on my Rossi's and worked very well. No bunching just more toe room.

post #16 of 24
Oh, ouch, this happened to me too, same foot! The toe gets black and blue underneath and eventually the nail falls off but it's only painful the first few days.

My boot guy opened the stitches on the bladder around the big toe which was just enough to loosen the bladder. It worked.
post #17 of 24
I used to lose my big toenail every season too. It wasn't until I got the advice of Jeff Bergeron (posts here), and finally the hands-on work of Greg Hoffmann (posts here as GMOLfoot - Green Mountain Orthotic Lab), that the problem was solved.

The problem was, of course, in the fitting - first in finding the right shell for my foot, and then in getting it properly fitted. When you get a great fit, you'll recognize and appreciate the difference, and enjoy the benefit of developing a more lasting relationship with your toenails.
post #18 of 24

You may want to consider a new footbed, as the ones you got from Surefoot are usually way too thick and even though they may support the foot a little better they tend to take up too much room in the boot. Try getting a Superfeet or Masterfit Instaprint. When made properly a custom footbed should give the toes more room not less. I've had alot of experience with people who have gotten the Amfit product from Surefoot and very rarely are they made properly and end up being returned to them or discarded. If you still need more room then go to stretching the toe box of the boot. I would not grind here as you can only safely grind a few mm's of shell where as stretching can be done over several times. Once you grind, it becomes difficult to stretch more without risk of breaking through the thinner plastic.
post #19 of 24
Although a bootfitter can adjust a boot so that all the toes jam equally, the real cause of black toe is the toe jaming in the front of the boot on turns. The skier is generally pressuring the rear cuff in the bottom half of the turn with a quick edge set. Learn to flex the ankle at the same time that you extend the legs and the problem is solved no matter what boot you are in if the toes are not touching when the boot is flexed.
post #20 of 24
Originally posted by Pierre:
Learn to flex the ankle at the same time that you extend the legs and the problem is solved no matter what boot you are in if the toes are not touching when the boot is flexed.
Pierre, I am certain that you are right. While much of the time I manage to do this, there are times I fall into a habit that jams my toes forward. What would you suggest I do to learn this simultaneous ankle flexion and leg extension? Any drills or exercises you'd recommend?

post #21 of 24
I say you scrap the boots and your bindings and tie your feet directly to the skiis. This will be sure to solve the black toe problem.
post #22 of 24
Start jumping rope, alternate feet while jumping to work on balance. Also try putting down a 2x4 on the ground or something of similar size and begin jumping over it, back and forth. Depending on your fitness level you will work up to doing it for at least a minute at a time. Obviously when you are on the slopes you want to focus on the motion and remember to try and always maintain shin contact with your boot. Don't be a back seat driver.

As has been mentioned above spend more time with your boot fitter to tweak the boots.
post #23 of 24
Yup, woke up with one this morning, but it wasn't for any of the usual reasons. I had to hike back up about 200 vert feet to the upper lift station and had to kick steps in the hardpack most of the way. Ouch!

Tom / PM
post #24 of 24
One other suggestion to deal with black toe is to break out the nail polish Something in red.
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