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New boots = navicular pain/numbness

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Me: 41 yr old male
5'8" tall; 180 lbs; advanced skier (fairly aggressive); athletic
Avg days on ski hill: 35-45
Shoe size: street shoe = 9.5 US
Ski boot size: 26.5 mondo
Foot shape = narrow heel and ankle, foot widens out progressively (I call em duck feet)
Prominent navicular bones in each foot (more prominent in right foot)

Just got some new boots from my trusted ski shop. I was previously skiing Tecnica Vento 10s for the past three seasons and loved the boots (26.5 mondo point). These boots helped me progress from a tentative beginner/intermediate to a high advanced level skier (not an expert). My Ventos have been fine so long as I was not really charging and skiing in off piste conditions (the width seemed to be a bit generous and the outsides of my feet would hurt after a long day of skiing hard; my sense was that I was cinching the boots up tight to get more performance and was causing more pressure on the foot).

I recently purchased some new Tecnica Diablo Flames in the same size (26.5, but a narrower last, Ultrafit liner) and found that the shell fit was more precise (about 1 cm behind heel) and well proportioned around my foot. With the liner in and blue superfeet inserts, my foot is seated very comfortably and securely. The only pressure was on my navicular bones in each foot (my right foot had more pressure). Fitter said that we could work with that, but that I should ski the boots to break them in.

I've got about 3 days of good skiing in the boots (not enough to really constitute a break in) and, while I have enjoyed really good responsiveness and control from the new boots, I have experienced on-going pain on the top of each foot. I basically leave the right boot second buckle as loose as is possible and the left one I was able to tighten a bit. Yesterday I noticed in the evening that I have some numbness along my navicular on the left foot.

Before I head back to the shop to get some work done on these, I am hopeful that the experts here can offer some guidance.

1. Too soon to be going back in? Should I just loosen the second foot buckle on the left boot and ski them some more and see what happens?

2. Should I look at having the navicular areas punched?

Any and all suggestions are welcome.

Thanks for your expertise and on-going advice in this forum!
post #2 of 12
Alberto...I would try to locate the sore/numb spot and see if there is a corresponding spot on the liner that causes the problem. Could the side of the tongue be causing the problem? Mark off the spot on your foot and then put on just the liner. Push down the tongue/instep area and see if there is any strong contact in the sore/numb area. It sounds as if the instep of the boot is causing too much point pressure. Lastly, when you put in your "Superfeet" inserts, did you take out the factory footbed that was in the boot?
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the quick reply Billy. The factory footbeds were removed and I will definitely check what you have advised. If it is, in fact the liner, what remedies are available? There is definitely strong contact on the areas that get sore (on the navicular bone, prominent on the top of my feet).

EDIT: Just did the liner check - no apparent spots of pressure or abrasion. The tops of my feet have distinct red spots when I wear the boots for an extended time (still there from trying them on for about 35 minutes this morning). When I reinsert the liners and put on the boots, I can feel the pressure as soon as I put the instep buckle on the lowest setting (with the microadjustment maxed out as far as it will go).
post #4 of 12
Alberto...Lots of work can be done to get more instep volume:

1) Thinner footbed (lowers foot)
2) Lowering bootboard/zeppa (lowers foot)
3) Grinding heel of shell to move foot/liner back
4) Removal of material from tongue @ instep area (My favorite!)
5) Thinning of material of instep area of shell
6) re-rivet instep buckle to allow more range of bail throw
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
That's really good news! Given that the problems are so distinctly isolated, I was hopeful that it wasn't going to take too much to solve the issue. Thanks again.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks again, Billy. Just saw the fitter and we went with ever so slightly lowering the zeppa because the rest of the fit was feeling so good. I appreciate your advice!
post #7 of 12
Very happy to help! Good Luck!
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Sad to report that the problem hasn't gone away after several trips to grind the zeppa. No complaints really about the shop, although they seem perplexed as to what to try next. The inside of my left foot is now numb and has been that way for a week without skiing. The pain on the navicular of my right foot has made it essentially so that I can ski only short runs and then take a break.

Another shop at my hill typically punches the section between the instep buckle and the toe buckle. A person who I was talking with who had similar problems said it worked well for them. Any thoughts about this? I'm a patient guy with a high pain threshold and this issue is seriously cramping my style.

What say ye? I'm open to having the liner worked on, although the shop I'm working with hasn't even discussed that as an option yet. More thoughts are welcome! Thanks guys.
post #9 of 12
Alberto... Is this a liner issue or a shell issue? Take the liner out of the shell and slide your foot into the liner. Do you feel pressure @ the sore spot on the top of your foot? (remember, the shell may possibly not allow the tongue of the liner to rise enough) If there is pressure there, the liner, footbed, or sock will have to be changed to allow for more volume. This can be accomplished in a few ways:

1) Thinner footbed
2) Thinner sock
3) Removal of inner foam material from tongue instep and resew (my favorite!)
4) Thinning of plastic @ tongue instep
5) removal or elongation of the tongue retaining elastic @ instep area (another of my favorites!)

I don't feel that "slightly" lowering the bootboard is the answer either. Did you retry the boot on and stay in it for a while at the bootfitting shop? Didn't the boot fitter see the red mark on the top of your foot after he made the slight bootboard adjustment? Why wasn't more done in the bootboard or other areas?

Be careful about the punching the shell in the instep area. If the shell is separated too much, you'll get water leakage.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I have mentioned the other suggestions that you indicated earlier and they were not seeming so confident about dealing with the liner. I was wondering about the water leakage issue as the shell closure seems to allow too much moisture as is (I can only get the boot on with the instep buckle on the first bail and even with that it's just hanging on - no pressure). I've tried to identify where the liner may be causing pressure and my feet don't show large red spots to help identify target areas. My left foot shows no hot spots at all - the issue there is a large degree of numbness on the foot. I tried the boots with the stock footbeds rather than the blue superfeet that I usually use - not an appreciable difference.

I'm a patient guy with a high pain threshold, so I'm not inclined to give up easily. So far, I've spent several hours on each of three occasions in the shop and we haven't made progress (yep - I'm part of the problem and solution, too - as I see it). My fear here is that my desire for more performance has caused me to settle for the wrong boot. I'll discuss the liner issues again today, although my shop seems reticent to do that kind of work. Would something like an intuition liner be a possible improvement?
post #11 of 12
Molded correctly, an Intuition liner can be a great option.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks Billy. I checked this with my shop and, while they were open to considering the intuitions, they had me try a couple of more boots today. In the end, I opted for a different boot. This scenario really stands as a testimony to the importance of building a solid relationship with the shop and fitters vs. big box or ebay-type boot purchases. I had faith that they would help me get a good resolution and, in the end, I shoulder the responsibility for communicating what my feet feel. Many thanks to you for your help and input!
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