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Black and Blue Big Toes

Bayla

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
I posted this problem on another (predominantly manly site) and got a less than helpful response.

Last season was my second season of skiing, but first full season with my own gear. Volkl Luna ski's and Nordica One - 60 flex boot and custom foot bed (as I wear orthotics anyway).

After first season of rentals, was nice to have my own boots. I did try on boots before buying so I felt I chose the right boot for me at the time. My feet were fine this season skiing on an earlier trip out west where we skied 5 days about 5 hrs or more each day - including my first taste of 19" of fresh powder (the best day ever). No problems.

They were great on many, many days of blue/black trails on east coast hardpack. I probably have 120 hours ski time in my boots to date albeit much of it on easier terrain so I would expect a boot problem to have surfaced by now. I've had approximately 40 hours of lessons overall which clearly helped me to get to where I'm at.


The black and blue toes occurred on our last trip for spring skiing in Colorado. Took another level 6 lesson and was told next time I should advance up to level 7. I took another lesson1/2 day level 7, learning to ski the bumps and black terrain. After lessons I found my big toes were sore. They weren't swollen or red, just sore. The following days I wrapped my big toes with athletic tape and I was able to ski remaining days no problem. However, a week after returning home both big toes turned black and blue. (Recently lost left big toe nail in August)

Since I first learned to ski I find I am constantly lifting up my toes, less as time goes on, but I've been told some instructors that this is normal??? others have looked at me like I haved two heads.

My guess is that my toes are banging the top of the boot in the bumps/crud because I haven't yet found my balance in this type of terrain and I find I'm in the backseat a lot. I'm good on the groomers and I found my groove in the powder, but the bumps and crud are my next hurdle to conquer. If it were the boots, I would think I would have noticed a problem before getting to this point. Maybe I'm just at the point where all I need now is time on the mountain.

I know I won't ski this season without taping my toes!!!

Anyone else have or had this problem?
 
#2
Sounds like you still got too much room in your boot and your toes are slamming into it when you lose balance.

Since you skied quite many days in the season, it's also possible the liner had packed out a bit.
 
#3
Congrats on your great progress! That's the "good news" portion of the equation. The bad news is that I'm guessing these boots don't fit you as well as you'd hoped or thought. There seems to be too much room in the toe box, which explains why your toes are able to lift up and down so much as to cause "toe bang." It's not uncommon.

As you move up the ladder of skiing skills, the fit of the boot becomes more critical, not to mention much closer. Toe wiggle is about as much as should be possible. No, you wouldn't feel this until your skiing hit the level you discuss, in all likelihood.

A stop-gap temporary fix (not ideal but will get you through another season) is to take them to a shop for some additional toe-box padding, usually neoprene. The ultimate fix is to throw in the towel and start over, with a really close, precise fit in a new boot. It sounds as if you could well be ready for this, given that your current boot flex is 60 -- that's awfully soft.

There's some recent discussion by those who have just gone through custom fitting - take a look. Lots of us struggle with boot fit -- and when those problems are solved? :yahoo:

Don't ski in the boots as they are and risk any more trauma to your toes or nails! A simple fix could make things work, and new boots altogether could totally change everything.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#4
I agree with the rest - toe bang. And its not fun as the kids say - been there, done that.

I think MSL has a good suggestion if you can't see your way to new boots. But now is the time to see if you can fit into any sale boots. Ski Diva just scored a really good deal on a pair of last year's left overs. Check out a good ski shop and make sure you read the boot fitting guide in the Gearpedia section so you can go in "armed"!

If you can tell us a city, maybe someone can help with a good shop/fitter.
 

Bayla

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
Here in eastern PA we have limited choices where to try on boots. I went to Wicks which was supposed to have good rep. Did my research before shopping and boots are actually 2 sizes smaller on the mondo chart. I remember thinking how could this be right? I have a weird shoe issue in general so I guess it would have been too good to be true if they were "perfect". I found Billy Kaplan on bootfitter list about 15 min from my house. I emailed him so will see what happens. Would like to get one more season, but that's what Ebay is for right?
 

Jerez

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
Hate to tell you, but once they go black and fall off, you are more prone to having it again. Mine go black or partially black every year and now my hiking boots do it too. Ugh.

mostly it is from boots that are too big or too wide.

Two things can happen over time: 1. as was said, you move up the skill ladder and fit becomes more important because you are asking a lot more of your feet and boots. (skiing bumps with a boot that's too big so your foot slides in it even a little is like stubbing your toes about a zillion times.) 2. the lining could have packed out making the boots actually 'bigger' than when you bought them. (The boots appear to be soft or low flex boots and the manufacturer may have put in cushy lining for 'comfort' which packs out faster.)

If you think it's because you are lifting your toes and maybe catching your nail on the top of the boot, you can buy little stretchy tubes with gel cushioning inside to put on your big toes like tiny socks. I think Dr. Scholl's makes them and they can be found at drug stores. Maybe that will help protect them a bit.

Good luck!
 

Bayla

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
Hate to tell you, but once they go black and fall off, you are more prone to having it again. Mine go black or partially black every year and now my hiking boots do it too. !
Oh no. I had such nice feet too... I actually lost about 3/4 of the nail and "fill" the rest with nail filler so my feet still look pretty in sandals etc.
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
Hate to tell you, but once they go black and fall off, you are more prone to having it again.
I disagree with this. I've had two toenails fall off in 30+ years. The first one was when I was 8 or so, from having a door smash into it at the pool locker room. The second was in my early 30s, from backpacking. Probably different feet, too, but I can't remember. And in between those two incidents, I ran, backpacked and downhill skied a ton. And stuffed my feet into climbing shoes, too.

Just get a good fit on the boots and any other footwear.
 
#9
Same happy story from me also.

I've had that happened 2 seasons ago, on both big toes. One of them recovered right away. The other took nearly a year and half (2 cycle of toe nail).

Until I had a really nasty accident that broke one of them. Now, I'm patiently waiting for it to recover eventually. Being an optimist here.
 
C

CMCM

Guest
#10
I posted this problem on another (predominantly manly site) and got a less than helpful response.

Last season was my second season of skiing, but first full season with my own gear. Volkl Luna ski's and Nordica One - 60 flex boot and custom foot bed (as I wear orthotics anyway).

After first season of rentals, was nice to have my own boots. I did try on boots before buying so I felt I chose the right boot for me at the time. My feet were fine this season skiing on an earlier trip out west where we skied 5 days about 5 hrs or more each day - including my first taste of 19" of fresh powder (the best day ever). No problems.

They were great on many, many days of blue/black trails on east coast hardpack. I probably have 120 hours ski time in my boots to date albeit much of it on easier terrain so I would expect a boot problem to have surfaced by now. I've had approximately 40 hours of lessons overall which clearly helped me to get to where I'm at.


The black and blue toes occurred on our last trip for spring skiing in Colorado. Took another level 6 lesson and was told next time I should advance up to level 7. I took another lesson1/2 day level 7, learning to ski the bumps and black terrain. After lessons I found my big toes were sore. They weren't swollen or red, just sore. The following days I wrapped my big toes with athletic tape and I was able to ski remaining days no problem. However, a week after returning home both big toes turned black and blue. (Recently lost left big toe nail in August)

Since I first learned to ski I find I am constantly lifting up my toes, less as time goes on, but I've been told some instructors that this is normal??? others have looked at me like I haved two heads.

My guess is that my toes are banging the top of the boot in the bumps/crud because I haven't yet found my balance in this type of terrain and I find I'm in the backseat a lot. I'm good on the groomers and I found my groove in the powder, but the bumps and crud are my next hurdle to conquer. If it were the boots, I would think I would have noticed a problem before getting to this point. Maybe I'm just at the point where all I need now is time on the mountain.

I know I won't ski this season without taping my toes!!!

Anyone else have or had this problem?
I had this problem too. The culprit for me was the BUCKLES: I didn't have them tight enough...in fact, I had left the bottom two buckles fairly loose and I guess that allowed my toe area to bang around. Someone had told me the bottom two buckles weren't so important, and that's why I loosened those buckles so much, I thought it would be more comfortable. The next season (last season) I buckled everything a bit tighter and problem solved.
 
#11
And, conversely, I was always told that the boot fit is not buckle dependent, especially at the toes. If the toe box fit is good, the buckles are just "there."
:noidea:
This still sounds like a fit issue to me.
 

Bayla

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
I've had some instructors say tighter better, others have advised looser better (bottom buckles). I'm guessing some of that may just come down to good technique and preference. My husband can ski almost anything and he prefers looser. I think because my technique in the bumps basically sucks, loose not going to help me. I did find myself tightening up where as I normally don't fidget with my boots on blue groomers let's say, or even powder for that matter.

I spoke with bootfitter, Bill Kaplan. We are going to get together soon, so I'll update this. Spent almost 15 minutes just talking to me over the phone, so I'm hopeful. FYI" According to Bill, lots of time in the bumps can lead to more black and blue toes - just goes with the territory.
 

Bayla

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
Update...

Finally met with bootfitter, Bill Kaplan. Loved him! As many of you said, it was determined that my my boots are in fact too big (even though the mondo size is 2 sizes smaller than my shoe size). My entry level boots were appropriate when I bought them for entry level novice skiier, but my ability has surpassed their performance ability and they are now hindering me because they are too soft and have no rebound to set me up for the next turn.

I learned that the actual mm size (the number on the side of the boot) is VERY important and will not always be the same for all mondo sizes. So in picking out my new boots, I need to know the actuall mm size which will help me pick the right mondo size. (This could be helpful to add in the gearipedia section).

Bill recommended some boots he thought that were good for my structure and I'm going to buy 2 or 3 (with a return policy of course) and meet with Bill again so he can help me determined which will workout best.

Great experience so far, very professional, knowledgeable and friendly!

There is a big difference between a boot store and a bootfitter!!!!!
 

AliceH

<span style="color:#F89F07";">Angel Diva</span>
#14
Hate to tell you, but once they go black and fall off, you are more prone to having it again. Mine go black or partially black every year and now my hiking boots do it too. Ugh.
One thing that will help with hiking boots - when you get to your uphill destination, take a few minutes to re-tie your boots before you go down. Unlace the top few aglets, then as you relace each level, instead of just crossing the laces, do the first part of the tying the shoe - where you fold one lace around the other. Pull these tight every time you do it, and it will keep your toes from bumping the fronts of your shoes quite as hard as you're going downhill.
 

Nadine_A

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
Hate to tell you, but once they go black and fall off, you are more prone to having it again. Mine go black or partially black every year and now my hiking boots do it too. Ugh.
Ah yep... since the first time I did mine back in 2007, a year has not past since I get the old toe bang. I've gone through numerious fitting fixed and two pairs of "starting from scratch" boots.

At least I still grow normal toe nails. The black just grow out ie. I've not completely lost them for the past 2 years. I guess my Dalbellos are winners.

I'm sporting some black right now, at least they can be covered well by some hot pink polish...no one knows any better.

Oh no. I had such nice feet too...
:laugh: That's how I felt too...

Now, skiing is more important than pretty feet.:wink:
 

Nadine_A

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#16
I disagree with this. I've had two toenails fall off in 30+ years. The first one was when I was 8 or so, from having a door smash into it at the pool locker room. The second was in my early 30s, from backpacking. Probably different feet, too, but I can't remember. And in between those two incidents, I ran, backpacked and downhill skied a ton. And stuffed my feet into climbing shoes, too.

Just get a good fit on the boots and any other footwear.
Two words with exclamations Pequenita...Damn lucky!!!

Maybe with two more...I'm jealous!
 

lucine

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
There could be a simpler solution. How long were your toenails? My toes get sore if they are just a tad too long.
And before you buy new boots, why not look into new liners? I got a new pair of liners for my boots for $15 I know I was VERY lucky, but I was able to use those boots another full season before I went down a size -or two!
I went to a very good boot fitter (Larry in Boulder) who had these spare liners in the back. And I went back to him at the start of the next season to buy new boots.
Good luck :goodluck:
 

Shelly4

Diva in Training
#18
It does sound like a fit issue to me. I had this problem with my last pair of boots and buckles. I kept trying to tighten them. The tighter I got them the less banging around I had. Honestly, I just really needed (wanted :eyebrows:) a new pair. Hubby got me some Tecnica VIVA ski boots last Christmas. I love them. They buckle fine and my toes aren't getting beat up.
 

Bayla

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#19
Update - all of my new bad ass boots arrived and I had that ah-ha moment when trying them on. They hug my foot, suck in my heel, almost as good as sex! No doubts now that I needed new boots. Met again with my bootfitter this week and started the process of making custom foot beds. Will see how they work in the boots and heat fit the liners. Then we'll decide which ones I'm keeping The rest will just get returned. Can't wait to see how these improve my performance.
 

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