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Boot Fit/Discomfort Question

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I have just gotten back into skiing after a several year absence (since the days of "straight" skis and rear entry boots). I'm 50, 6', 180 lbs, level 7-8.

I did a lot of research regarding skis during the past 2 months and bought a pair of Fischer Cold Heats, which I love.

I took them on their maiden ski trip last week and on the first day I tried on several pairs of demo boots and the ones that felt the best were the Dalbello Proton 10s, so I took them out for a spin.

Conditions (at Mammoth Mountain): temps from 38-50, a little icy in the mornings, then getting soft (and in places, slushy) in the afternoon.

Day 1, skied hard, all over the mountain all day, boots felt GREAT! Absolutely no discomfort, my feet didn't feel like they were moving around at all inside. At the end of the day my feet felt fine.

Day 2, same as day 1 (skiing and boot feel). Wow, I love these boots! I think I'll buy them (the demo boots were being sold for very low prices) and I did.

Day 3, until lunch, same as days 1 and 2 (skiing and boot feel). After lunch (eaten with boots on as I had done on prior 2 days), I tightened the boots and got onto the lift and I started feeling a very painful feeling along the "pads" of both feet (the section of the bottom of each foot where the toes connect to the foot), almost like a burning/freezing sensation. The feeling was very localized, just at about the last inch of each foot just before the toes, all the way across the foot. I tried adjusting the boots, loosening them, tightening them, combinations, but the pain just stayed, and it was there when I was on the lift, on the ground standing and even when I was sitting at the nearest lodge. The only way to get rid of the pain was to remove the boots, and the pain slowly went away.

Day 4, new strategy, remove boots at lunchtime. Pretty much the same as days 1-2, and I skied all afternoon pain-free.

Day 5, left boots on at lunch, but loosened them. Pretty much same as days 1-2, but the pain came on about 1/2 hour after lunch, so I took a 20 minute break at the lodge with boots off. I resumed skiing and skied pretty hard for the next 2 hours until closing time, and during my last run down the pain came back and I literally had to race to a place where I could take the boots off because the "burning" sensation got so great.

So, what could this be? The pain is very concentrated in the area of each foot described above, and it comes on quite suddenly and remains until the boots come off. I examined my feet when I took my boots off both times on day 5 and they weren't wet and there was no sign of dampness inside the boots (since the pain was a burning/freezing sensation I thought that maybe the footbeds had gotten wet in that spot).

Any theories or guesses as to the problem would be greatly appreciated, as I am just stumped.
post #2 of 4
Maybe something to do with acclimating to higher elevation? I'm dehyrdated the first couple days....having to drink more water than I thought I could ever hold. Then I'm ok.

Perhaps the first couple days you're dehydrated and the feet are slightly smaller...and then after you're adjusted to altitude the feet get slightly larger?

How's that for 'pulling it out of your arse'

Could be something to do with what you ate or drank differently on the third day for lunch....did you skip beer/alcohol the first 2 days? Or maybe you had a few cups of coffee days 1&2 for breakfast and days 3+ you didn't. Anything like that? Different socks?
post #3 of 4
[pardon my english... normal talk is easier than explaining something ]

I am a specialist in outdoor walking boots, but not in skiing boots. Still I do have an idea that might be the problem. A general fact about good ski-boots is that they are tight for optimal control. A general fact about people your age (and for me as well at 31) is that feet have the tendency to be broader in front after being walked upon your whole life.

In normal boots this can cause trouble when the forefoot is pressed together. In that case the small bones in the forefoot are realigned in a bad way causing some nerves to be stuck. This can give exactly the sensation you are talking about. A lot of times this comes with a bit crampy foot and pain at the sides, but this is not always the case. The reason why it is worse when you sit is because your feet are basically inactive then and can get 'stuck' in a bad position. While skiing you are moving and the force on your foot is a lot different.

I can see two solutions for this. The first is easiest: just take them off or at least loosen them if you are not skiing . The other one is wear an inner sole that either aligns the bones or releases force on the forefoot so it stays slimmer. I have good experience with the Superfeet Orange soles, although they might not fit if the boot is already the right size (for me they work cause my feet are also flat). Otherwise a custom sole is probably better. I would not choose to widen the shoe in front since you don't have problems skiing, but maybe a real skiboot fitter can give you better advice on that.

Disclaimer: I am no skiboot fitter and I have not seen your feet or boots. Basically I am just giving ideas, but you should have someone with knowledge look at them.
post #4 of 4
The sensation that I have on my feet are very similar to the way you have described. The difference in our experience is that I usually get it in the earlier part of the season and during the first couple of runs in a day (especially if I was to ski a smaller hill like our home hill). After that the pain goes away altogether (for the most part).

If I were to ski hard (bumps, trees, steeps) or ski longer runs at a larger ski areas, the pain is a lot more pronounced and it lasts much longer. And, the time of the season no longer matters. But, almost without exception, the pain lessens throughout the day (maybe the pain in the quads now just takes over )

What I have found helpful is to unbuckle my boots and to avoid resting my feet on the foot rest while riding up. For whatever reason, having my feet dangling with my boots on helps taking the pain off. If I rest my feet on the rest, the pain returns. What that tells me is that I need to take all weight off the bottom of the feet or stop flattening them. By the time I get to the top, most of the pain is gone (unfornately recurs during the next few runs if tougher condition applies).
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