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Boots, bunions and burning soles

Skidreamer

Diva in Training
Hiya ladies, can we please talk all things feet and ski boot? I thought I'd have a bit of fun with the title of the thread as these are part of the issues that plague me. No skiing for me here in Australia in Lockdown Land for most if not all of this season, I had been wanting to dive further into my feet and ski boot issues this year but it's difficult if I can't even get onto the snow this season in the first place. But it's always fun to learn, do research and still be involved in skiing even if only remotely.

So, a bit of history. In my 50's, 5'7", 150 pounds, will always be just an intermediate skier. My skiing varies wildly depending on the conditions and my confidence, I am 2/4 bad intermediate, 1/4 good intermediate, 1/4 advanced intermediate (on the best days). Over the past few years I've invested in all good gear. 2 years ago I upgraded from basic skis to amazing skis, they really feel like clouds on my feet. Essentially everything now feels perfect, except the boots.

I wonder whether the situation with my boots is simply as good as it gets, taking into account my very interesting feet. One of my feet is quite normal, the other has bunions on the inside and outside, which essentially make that foot 1cm wider than the left. The left is about 90mm and the right is 100mm. I'm not sure about how my arches sit in the scheme from normal to collapsed, need to ascertain that I guess. I was also told years ago by a physio whom I went to see when I had a running injury, that one of my legs is significantly longer than the other. Explains lifetime back issues and pain (99% under control), probably a mis-aligned pelvis, one calf muscle visibly larger than the other, and whatever else. The bunions are significant (thanks Mum for passing those on), but well-managed and don't cause me pain in general life. I have orthotics in my runners which are excellent.

My boots, I bought about 3 years ago, now at the perfectly broken in stage IMO, are Salomon X Pro 90's. Sizing has always felt correct to me. Got them home and researched and realised I had bought a boot for perhaps a more advanced skier than I am, having not paid much attention or understanding at the time to the numbers. Husband was concerned the relatively stiff flex might be too much for me, but even on the snow, they don't feel stiffer than any other skis I remember having worn over the years. After using them a few times, we took them to a respected bootfitter (STM Bondi, for those who know Sydney/Aus - and this was not where I bought the boots from) - had individual footbeds made, and had the shell blown out a little over the main inside bunion on the deformed foot. I felt no noticable difference from the footbeds at all, maybe some improvement in general feel from the blow out for the bunion.

Really, the pain I feel after a few hours in the boots, is and has always been, pretty equal in both boots, despite the grossly different shapes of my feet. So after a few hours I get a screaming burn in the ball and sole of both my foot. I try to adjust by loosening the clips over the top of the feet, while having the ankle clips comfortably tight. This helps a little. I'll stop at tea breaks and lunch breaks and if the weather is fine, fully take my feet out for a while to give them a break.

I was thinking this season I might trial some performance brand boots by hiring, just to see how some other brands feel. I'm so wary about buying another pair, if I did so it would be going the full route of being assessed at the start by a top bootfitter so that's a serious investment which I won't consider doing until I have a season where I can actually use them straight away extensively.

Thoughts/ideas/experiences/suggestions? Maybe this is just as good as it gets for me for all day skiing? Considering I've accepted the level I'm at as a skier, do I maybe try some boots with softer flex afterall? Any brands of boots out there that you would absolutely rave about in terms of comfort? Many thanks...
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
I don’t know if this is your problem or not.. but I used to get terrible burning pain in the balls of my feet as well. I have wide bony forefeet to begin with and then bunions on the outside of my little toes. Bootfitters would always try to stretch the boot where my bunion was to no avail, I was still in excruciating pain. I then went to see a bootfitter who is also a pedorthist. He took the opposite approach of everyone else and stretched out the other side of each boot to also give space to the bony big toe side so the boot shell would more closely match the shape of my foot and allow it space to sit correctly. Well wouldn’t you know it, no more burning in the balls of my feet.

I went to other reputable bootfitters before my current ones, and they couldn’t fix my issue.. even though it sounds so simple now. Don’t be afraid to consult with another fitter if your current one hasn’t been able to alleviate your issue.
 

newboots

Angel Diva
My bootfitter is also a pedorthist, and he works miracles. Interestingly, he grew up with juvenile diabetes which was barely controlled back then (no way to measure the blood sugar!). He is missing a leg, and creates amazing prosthetics for himself. He has three different ones that fit in his ski boots!

I'll have to drive 4 hours the next time I need boots, or even an adjustment. Why go anywhere else?

I don't have any especially wise advice. Best of luck!
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Really, the pain I feel after a few hours in the boots, is and has always been, pretty equal in both boots, despite the grossly different shapes of my feet. So after a few hours I get a screaming burn in the ball and sole of both my foot. I try to adjust by loosening the clips over the top of the feet, while having the ankle clips comfortably tight. This helps a little. I'll stop at tea breaks and lunch breaks and if the weather is fine, fully take my feet out for a while to give them a break.
...
Thoughts/ideas/experiences/suggestions? Maybe this is just as good as it gets for me for all day skiing? Considering I've accepted the level I'm at as a skier, do I maybe try some boots with softer flex afterall? Any brands of boots out there that you would absolutely rave about in terms of comfort? Many thanks...
You may have Morton's Neuroma in both feet. Burning in the ball-of-foot area is the giveaway. As you can see from the posts upthread, many people here have suffered from this. Me too.

This is a condition caused by nerves being pinched between bones in the foot. Those bones sometimes move towards each other and pinch the nerve between them. Then the area gets inflamed over time. The bones pinch the nerve either because the foot is flattening due to age, or because the ball-of-foot area has over time been stuffed into shoes (or ski boots) with a toe box that is too narrow.
Morton's Neuroma.png
When this pain erupts in a ski boot, the first thing to do is have your bootfitter, the one who made the footbeds for you, add a neuroma pad to the underside of each footbed. Its purpose is to lift those problematic bones and separate them, which will relieve the pressure on the nerves and allow the inflammation to go away. I've had this done and it worked. You can find images of where this pad goes online, but I'd just trust your bootfitter to figure this out. Here's one of those images.

img6-1.png

So the good news is you may not need new boots, just a little custom adjustment to your footbeds by a bootfitter who knows what to do. Finding the right bootfitter is the problem, but hopefully yours has dealt with this issue before.

You already have orthotics in your runners, which may have enough of a lift under that area to save your feet from developing this issue when you run.

Best of luck on getting rid of this pain. No one needs to ski with boot pain. Those expensive boots are made to be custom fit to any kind of foot shape. Fixing this often just takes a bootfitter who knows how.
 
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fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
^^^ agree with @liquidfeet - sounds a lot like mortons neuroma.

I DON'T have mortons neuroma but I do have nerve damage in one foot from an old injury, and the management is a bit similar as it turns out. My nerve injury causes pins and needles and numbness in my third and fourth toe. My podiatrist put one of those neuroma pads on the underside of a flexible footbed which serves the same purpose, for my walking/running shoes:

IMG-20210729-WA0015.jpeg
IMG-20210729-WA0017.jpeg

And my ski boot fitter put something similar on my ski custom insoles (taped because it was temporary at first so we could move around the position to make sure it's in the right place, and then just left it taped):

IMG-20210729-WA0006.jpeg

Good luck getting it sorted out, hopefully all you need is a footbed adjustment!
 

Skidreamer

Diva in Training
Hi ladies! Sorry it's taken a while to reply, I've been a wee bit distracted by the Olympics! Anyway, back to skiing. I can't thank you all enough for this advice. I had never heard of Morton's Neuroma before, this is definitely a huge avenue for me to investigate. And I think I will take the boots back to the fitter to get the area around the big bunion on the inside blown out a little more, what he did last time kind of reduced in size over time so I think it could go with being redone. As well as getting the footbeds looked at again. This is brilliant, you've really given me hope, and I'm so excited to work forward on figuring this out... Thanks so much again!
 

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