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New numbness in 2yr old boots

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've been skiing in my Lange WC100 jr for 2 (3?) seasons now and they've been the best fitting, best performing boots I've ever had, until last year.

Current set up: above boot - stretched, bumped, and ground to fit wide toes and bunions, Superfeet Cork footbeds, heel lifts, Booster Strap expert, lower shell buckles only tight enough to not flop around.

Over the last 2 years, I've had to add saddle pads to the right boot to adjust for liner pack-out and my super narrow heel on that side (only a 1/2 saddle pad was required on the left). Suddenly, near the end of last season, I started to develop mild tingling and numbness under the ball of the right foot. Skiing in the midwest means that we spend 1/2 our time on the chairlift, so the foot got regular rests making this only a niggling problem. However, a trip to A-Basin showed that there's a definite issue there. The tingling developed into full-blown numbness of the entire bottom of the foot and totally "gone" toes after only a couple of runs.

I know it's hard to tell without being present, but is this a padding problem or is something else going on? If padding, is it due to location of said padding (pushing on a nerve maybe), or is the padding probably pushing the foot forward past the indentations in the footbed causing pressure points? If that's it, how do I pad the ankle and heel for side-to-side stabilization without pushing the rest of the foot forward???:

Thanks for any input, guys (and gals!).
post #2 of 21
so the numbness goes away when you are on the chairlift (feet unweighted) and comes on when you are weighted?

same left and right?

better or worse with the toe buckles tighter or looser (or off)?

are the toes cold to the touch (blood) or numb (nerves)?

I'd start with moving the padding around or remove it. Sometimes you can get better heel hold down with a bit of padding over the instep/flex point of the boot. THis helps to drive the heel back into the pocket of the boot more.
post #3 of 21
What Mntlion has said + how's your ankle flex, if you have spent a lot of time sat at a desk and not stretching your calves prior to skiing then the pressure could be transfered to that area of your foot as you flex
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
so the numbness goes away when you are on the chairlift (feet unweighted) and comes on when you are weighted? Usually

same left and right? Right only

better or worse with the toe buckles tighter or looser (or off)? Worse when tighter

are the toes cold to the touch (blood) or numb (nerves)? Hmmm. Don't know. Only numb, I think.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CEM View Post
What Mntlion has said + how's your ankle flex, if you have spent a lot of time sat at a desk and not stretching your calves prior to skiing then the pressure could be transfered to that area of your foot as you flex
Flex is OK, I think. My job isn't really a desk job, I NEVER wear heels, and I do lots of Yoga.
post #6 of 21
can you wear a thinner sock on the right?
just leave the toe buckles off on the right?
thin out the right footbed?

any injury's to the right foot/ankle? sprains? tears? etc?
post #7 of 21
What Colin said, sounds like an dorsiflex issue.
post #8 of 21
Volklgirl:
I agree with Smallzoo that it does sound like a dorsiflesxion issue. It sounds like a dorsiflexion issue but that doesn't mean it is one.

You don't wear heels. Good. Wearing heels helps to promote shortening of the plantarflexors therefore reducing available dorsiflexion. You do yoga regularly so at least we would like to assume that you have available a full range of dorsiflexion. And you use heel lifts which act to plantarflex the foot and therefore reduce the final dorsiflexed position of the foot when skiing. So I'll go in a different direction and leave it to you to advise us what works.

You use heel lifts but don't say why. I'm betting it is due to some articles in ski magazines (or the influence of a fitter that has read the same articles) that state in affect "due to a woman's naturally different anatomy with CM (centre of mass) lower and more rearward than a man's, heel lifts are necessary to help them stay forward or to obtain the more forward position desired in skiing. Although some here may disagree I'll go on record as saying "rubbish" for Colin and "bull" for those of us mericans and Canadians.

As I walk down the street I don't see women falling backward and struggling to maintain balance due to their naturally disproportionate anatomy. And when at the gym or involved in another athletic endeavour the fit women I see are more like the men than different. Unfit women are another story.

Injuries can take time to develop and it isn't always possible to point to a specific incident that caused them. However, I would like to offer this. You ski in Michigan and although I grew up in PA I now live in Calgary. Probably he eastern skiing you do is similar to what I did growing up. Mostly groomed runs of not much duration and some short bump stretches. The need for extreme ranges of motion are not so great and since most runs are smooth the challenges to balance are not so great. A-Basin is a dramatic change, especially if you skied the mountain.

Heel lifts cause a more exaggerated knees bent position that may seem more forward due to flexion but isn't. When actually in a forward position many people will be over balanced (not certain about descriptor here) but result is that centre of mass has passed forward of toes and actually made balance very tenuous. To maintain the forward position requires constant work of the plantarflexors and substantial pressure on the ball-of-the-foot.

For many, removal of the heel lifts will allow a more upright stance that makes balance easier and the natural skiing position stronger which then requires less work to maintain and reduces forefoot pressure.

If you like my thinking I'd recommend the following:
1. Completely recover from your injury.
2. Remove the heel lifts.
3. Ski gently on groomed to get used to the new position and adapt to it. Your skis will start into the turn more quickly so overall work to pressure the tips will be reduced (reducing overall range-of-motion used). It will not be as necessary to ski aggressively forward (a trait of many volkls) to get the skis to work.
4. As you adapt pick up your level of terrain to whatever is typical for you and see how it works.


If you like let us know boot sole length and distance from the ski centre of running surface to the boot toe and it is possible that an adjustment in binding position would help also.

Good luck

Lou
post #9 of 21
As Lou says there is something going on to cause this and from the information you have given it sounds like your flexion should be pretty good. there is something we are missing here and i am struggling to put my finger on it... as Lou has said [Oh BTW i know about Bull, there are several places over here who do a great line in BS] removing the heel lift may be the answer, it will allow the foot to sit a little lower in the boot and give a touch more space...it does sound like the issue started with the installation of the saddle pads, so i would do as Lou suggested remove the heel lift and try, if this doesn't work then try putting it back in and remove the padding, what are the results?? the pads could well be as you suggested in your original post [and we sort of forgot about] be pressing on a nerve which would reduce then remove the sensation to the forefoot causing the problem...... so is it the pads or is it the lifts, go and play and let us know how you get on

good luck
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Again, thanks bunches, guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou Rosenfeld View Post
You use heel lifts but don't say why. I'm betting it is due to some articles in ski magazines (or the influence of a fitter that has read the same articles) that state in affect "due to a woman's naturally different anatomy with CM (centre of mass) lower and more rearward than a man's, heel lifts are necessary to help them stay forward or to obtain the more forward position desired in skiing. Although some here may disagree I'll go on record as saying "rubbish" for Colin and "bull" for those of us mericans and Canadians.

As I walk down the street I don't see women falling backward and struggling to maintain balance due to their naturally disproportionate anatomy. And when at the gym or involved in another athletic endeavour the fit women I see are more like the men than different. Unfit women are another story.
Actually, the heel lifts are installed simply to lift my smooshy foot up into the heel pocket. My foot is very short vertically, so without heel lifts, my ankle bones and achilles tendon sit below the shell and liner indentations (in every boot I've ever tried!). I tried full-length lifters, but that put too much pressure on the top of my foot and instep.

Quote:
For many, removal of the heel lifts will allow a more upright stance that makes balance easier and the natural skiing position stronger which then requires less work to maintain and reduces forefoot pressure.

If you like my thinking I'd recommend the following:
1. Completely recover from your injury.
2. Remove the heel lifts.
3. Ski gently on groomed to get used to the new position and adapt to it. Your skis will start into the turn more quickly so overall work to pressure the tips will be reduced (reducing overall range-of-motion used). It will not be as necessary to ski aggressively forward (a trait of many volkls) to get the skis to work.
4. As you adapt pick up your level of terrain to whatever is typical for you and see how it works.
I will give it a try during the summer and see if the numbness comes back just hanging around.

Quote:
If you like let us know boot sole length and distance from the ski centre of running surface to the boot toe and it is possible that an adjustment in binding position would help also.

Good luck
BSL is 284. Toe distance from center depends on which skis I'm on. All but my Auras and GS race are mounted "on center". The Auras are mounted 1.5cm +/- back, while my GS skis are mounted .5cm forward.
post #11 of 21
Understand I think about placement of foot in pocket. What does boot feel like without heel lift? Is there pressure that can't be fixed with grinding or punching.

As far as binding position goes. If you can measure actual toe position relative to centre of running surface I may be able to make recommendations. Mark you are referring to is not ski centre or centre of running surface. It is simply mark for boot centre and bears no relation to anything about ski anatomy. In otherwords there is no standard for where the mark is.

Why do you have different skis mounted in different positions? How did you determine the position?
post #12 of 21
Volklgirl:
Just wondering what size you measure in Mondo point?
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou Rosenfeld View Post
Understand I think about placement of foot in pocket. What does boot feel like without heel lift? Is there pressure that can't be fixed with grinding or punching.
Without heel lifts, I get severe rubbing and pain under the ankle bones, both medial and lateral. Also get killer calf cramps from the cuff being too high on the calf muscle.

Quote:
As far as binding position goes. If you can measure actual toe position relative to centre of running surface I may be able to make recommendations. Mark you are referring to is not ski centre or centre of running surface. It is simply mark for boot centre and bears no relation to anything about ski anatomy. In otherwords there is no standard for where the mark is.
Yeah, I know. Unfortunately, I'll have to dig the skis out from behind all the bikes to do the measuring.

Quote:
Why do you have different skis mounted in different positions? How did you determine the position?
The GS skis were actually balanced. The Auras were purchased used and we tried to minimize additional drilling. Strangely, they ended up mounted almost identically to my Karmas. The slightly back-mounted position also improves their pow and crud performance. The 6* have the motion track and the SLs already have the WC plate mounted, so we mounted accordingly.

Typically I detest the "womens" forward mounted stuff....they just feel squirrley and hooky to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou Rosenfeld View Post
Volklgirl:
Just wondering what size you measure in Mondo point?
Officially 24.5 but my Langes are a 6.
post #14 of 21
Volklgirl:
If you are a regular reader of this site you know about the effects of binding position. Moving bindings back will make tips float but also decreases skis responsiveness. Skis require more tip pressure (You leaning forward, or driving knee forward). which means more pressure on your forefoot. Its a tradeoff tips float at lower speed but skis are actually more difficult to turn and I won't say the situation is causing your problem but perhaps it contributes.

I haven't looked at a measuring device but I believe a women's 6 is a Mondo 23. Part of the problem?

Who balanced you on the GS skis?
post #15 of 21
Apart from the good advice here about your setup, I suspect re. your original query that you have either tarsal tunnel syndrome or medial plantar nerve entrapment. These are both usually pressure/situational problems due to poor bootfit as opposed to chronic conditions.

Also, I'm not a fan of superfeet cork for skiing (they are great as Birkenstocks ).
post #16 of 21
I agree with good ole jd about what may be going on and with his comment about superfeet although I doubt in this case they are causing your problem. Also there are several guys in this forum that probably make very good foot beds from the superfeet cork, but the typical shop makes a footbed that is too rigid and supportive when they start with superfeet cork.

Lou
post #17 of 21
my money is still with the saddle pads pressing on a nerve
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for all the well thought out responses

Due to the fact that it happens to some extent no matter which skis I'm on, I'm still not convinced it has much to do with binding set-up (unless it's a combination of ramp and heel lift angle - all but the Karmas have Marker 1200/1300). Plus, it's a relatively new phenomenon in boots that have performed perfectly for a couple of years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdistefa View Post
Apart from the good advice here about your setup, I suspect re. your original query that you have either tarsal tunnel syndrome or medial plantar nerve entrapment. These are both usually pressure/situational problems due to poor bootfit as opposed to chronic conditions.
I forgot, until last weekend, that I've struggled with almost the exact same problem with my bike shoesfor several years, as well. All the bike shoes I've ever had have given me numb toes within the first 5-10 miles of a ride. Last year, I finally got a pair of Shimano shoes that have been much better (20 miles before tingling). In regards to the biking, I thought maybe it was a result of a Sciatic nerve issue on that side and even asked the Dr. about it last year. She said no, probably not. Now that it's happening both summer and winter, I think I may see a foot or nerve specialist soon. Numbness in the foot is NEVER a good thing, and I'm getting quite concerned.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by volklgirl View Post
I forgot, until last weekend, that I've struggled with almost the exact same problem with my bike shoesfor several years, as well. All the bike shoes I've ever had have given me numb toes within the first 5-10 miles of a ride. Last year, I finally got a pair of Shimano shoes that have been much better (20 miles before tingling). In regards to the biking, I thought maybe it was a result of a Sciatic nerve issue on that side and even asked the Dr. about it last year. She said no, probably not. Now that it's happening both summer and winter, I think I may see a foot or nerve specialist soon. Numbness in the foot is NEVER a good thing, and I'm getting quite concerned.
There's no reason to be concerned, it's just compression (either external) or entrapment (internal) of a sensory nerve. It's somewhat analagous to carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist. And yes, the nerve likely involved is a terminal branch of the sciatic nerve .

Go to: http://www.emedicine.com/Orthoped/topic422.htm

...and read the section on "Posterior tibial nerve entrapment: Tarsal tunnel syndrome".
post #20 of 21
Volklgirl:
JD is probably correct. Regarding binding position, recommendation was not that binding position was the cause, only that it may exacerbate.

Lou
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 

An update....

OK, so it wasn't all in my head.....

Nor was it totally a boot-fit issue. The foot guy says I have a neuroma. I got a cortizone shot today and go in next week for a follow-up. He must have hit the right spot because those 2 toes are completely numb right now.
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