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Outside calf pain

Cyclone6

Certified Ski Diva
#1
I've started experiencing something new this season. On my first couple runs of the day, the outside of my calves burn. It's not shin bang, I've experienced that when I had hand-me-down boots that were too big. This is different. The boots I'm using are Tecnica Mach Sport 85's, which I bought at the end of last season. I had a professional boot fitter fit me. I don't recall having this issue skiing back then. After the first run or two, the pain goes away. I'd be inclined to think it's a "backseat" issue, but it actually hurts more when I'm in the front seat. Is there a way to mitigate this? Is it my boots starting out more stiff and sort of loosening throughout the day? It's not that big of a deal since it does go away eventually, but it's annoying.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#2
There are two muscles in the calf. Here's an image. Is the pain located in a way that indicates it's one of these muscles? The soleus lies under the gastrocnemius. Both are situated on the back of the lower leg, the calf area. They serve to point the toes, as in pushing down on the gas pedal.


On the other hand, these muscles are on the outside of the lower leg. You mention the pain is on the outside of the calf. Could these muscles be getting strained from unfamiliar use?


The primary function of the peroneus muscles is also to point the toes, although they also help to pronate the foot.

Pointing the toes is a primary way to push yourself into a back seat position. Since the toes can't go downward when these muscles are contracted by a skier on snow in ski boots, the lower leg ends up going back instead, against the rear of the boot cuff.

Could this be the issue? Here's more info on those peroneus muscles. https://corewalking.com/peroneus-brevis-and-peroneus-longus/

You say you feel more pain in this area when you are in the front seat. What method do you use to get into the front seat? Is it something you do with your ankles, or something you do with your upper body?
 
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Iwannaski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
This season, day 1 was loose rental boots. Horrible shin bang. Still faint smudges of bruise there.

Day 2 was my properly fitting boots. Which I hadn’t worn in 20 years and had stock insoles. after day 2 I thought I was going to die. It was definitely my peroneus longus. I got some superfeet and it went away. You said a “bootfitter” fit you, but are you still by any chance on the stock insole?

I know that sounds like a stupid question, but nothing surprises me any more. I had asked a bootfitter what I needed for mine, and he had stretched the toe on my left foot (which was a bit tight) and then never did anything about the insole.
 

SarahXC

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
I have found (at the recommendation of my PT) that some self massage with a ball or battery massager on my few painful/always tight spots (couple places in my calves, right hamstring) for 5 min before booting up makes a huge difference. Might be worth trying?
 

Cyclone6

Certified Ski Diva
#6
There are two muscles in the calf. Here's an image. Is the pain located in a way that indicates it's one of these muscles? The soleus lies under the gastrocnemius. Both are situated on the back of the lower leg, the calf area. They serve to point the toes, as in pushing down on the gas pedal.


On the other hand, these muscles are on the outside of the lower leg. You mention the pain is on the outside of the calf. Could these muscles be getting strained from unfamiliar use?


The primary function of the peroneus muscles is also to point the toes, although they also help to pronate the foot.

Pointing the toes is a primary way to push yourself into a back seat position. Since the toes can't go downward when these muscles are contracted by a skier on snow in ski boots, the lower leg ends up going back instead, against the rear of the boot cuff.

Could this be the issue? Here's more info on those peroneus muscles. https://corewalking.com/peroneus-brevis-and-peroneus-longus/

You say you feel more pain in this area when you are in the front seat. What method do you use to get into the front seat? Is it something you do with your ankles, or something you do with your upper body?
I think it could be the peroneus? But it does feel worse when I'm leaned forward. Maybe I'm tensing up weirdly.
 

Cyclone6

Certified Ski Diva
#7
This season, day 1 was loose rental boots. Horrible shin bang. Still faint smudges of bruise there.

Day 2 was my properly fitting boots. Which I hadn’t worn in 20 years and had stock insoles. after day 2 I thought I was going to die. It was definitely my peroneus longus. I got some superfeet and it went away. You said a “bootfitter” fit you, but are you still by any chance on the stock insole?

I know that sounds like a stupid question, but nothing surprises me any more. I had asked a bootfitter what I needed for mine, and he had stretched the toe on my left foot (which was a bit tight) and then never did anything about the insole.
I have custom footbeds which I absolutely love! I was getting arch pain with my used boots and these have worked wonders.
 
#8
I have the same thing, definitely with one of those peroneus muscles. I never did until a couple of years ago. I also get it horseback riding, where I have to keep my toes pointed straight ahead in a stirrup. Even sitting on a chairlift with other where I'm trying to keep my skis relatively pointed straight ahead can be ouchy. This happens on my extremely wonky leg--when I'm lying on my back and I let my legs rest where they will, the foot on this leg completely flops over, 90 degrees. My body seems to think that it is quite unnatural for these toes to point forward. The misalignment has always been there though the burning sensation is relatively new. I take both Tylenol and Ibuprofen before I start skiing. It seems to do the trick. I've been pretty diligent about stretching and rolling my calves, though I haven't, as @SarahXC suggested, spent 5 minutes targeting that muscle before I ski. That seems worth trying.
 

Cyclone6

Certified Ski Diva
#10
I have the same thing, definitely with one of those peroneus muscles. I never did until a couple of years ago. I also get it horseback riding, where I have to keep my toes pointed straight ahead in a stirrup. Even sitting on a chairlift with other where I'm trying to keep my skis relatively pointed straight ahead can be ouchy. This happens on my extremely wonky leg--when I'm lying on my back and I let my legs rest where they will, the foot on this leg completely flops over, 90 degrees. My body seems to think that it is quite unnatural for these toes to point forward. The misalignment has always been there though the burning sensation is relatively new. I take both Tylenol and Ibuprofen before I start skiing. It seems to do the trick. I've been pretty diligent about stretching and rolling my calves, though I haven't, as @SarahXC suggested, spent 5 minutes targeting that muscle before I ski. That seems worth trying.
I think you're right! I get the pain too when I'm trying hard to keep my skis straight ahead on the lift.

Funny that you mention horseback riding. I haven't ridden a horse in >15 years, but now that you say that, I remember having this same discomfort after a long trail ride.

Can adjusting the canting on the ski boots help, or is than unrelated?
 
#12
Can adjusting the canting on the ski boots help, or is than unrelated?
Good question. I'd meant to bring this up with my fitter recently when I was there to get a booster strap, but I forgot. :( Since taking the painkillers works, I haven't been as motivated to deal with it.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
I mean like, in the knees-bent athletic stance where I'm feeling the pressure of the front of my boot.
Bending the knees moves the hips back, which can put you in the back seat even if it puts your shins against the tongues of your boots. Open the knees up a bit and bend forward at the ankle instead. Your hips will be more forward. Bend zee Ankles, not Bend zee Knees. See if the calf pain goes away.

The image below is often used to illustrate good stance. Notice how high the hips are. The knees are just a little bent so the hips are not very far back. The ankles are bent forward; that's the biggie. Ankle bend tilts the lower leg forward.

So to get forward, bend forward at the ankles. This small bend moves your whole body forward so its weight hovers over the front of the skis. This bend won't use those calf muscles, it will use the Tibialis Anterior, which is on the front outer side of the lower leg. It will put your shin against the tongue and if you keep your ankles bent forward, your shins will stay in contact with the tongues your whole ski day. Bending the knees will not do this.

Imagine if this guy bent his knees more; his hips and everything above them would move back and his weight would hover over the tails of his skis.

Paul Lorenz is a great teacher. But why do all these examples show men? Where are the women skiers in online ski instruction??????? Grrrrr.
 
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#14
I have that same kind of pain (extreme lactic acid burn, really) when the angle of the boot cuff isn't right, pushing into the cuff forces my leg to rotate out at the knee and I end up fighting to engage the inside edge of the ski. It makes me feel like I'm about to turn an ankle when I ski over crud. I also had this problem when I was experimenting with sole canting and went too far.

I bought some Dalbello DS Asolo boots last week but I'm having trouble getting them dialed in. Same problem. I'm trying to avoid expeditions to a boot fitter right now! I gave up on the Lange rx110's, they made me hate skiing. My old Rossi Pure Elite 90's (that were destroyed) were too soft and low in the cuff, but I was able to ski in a relaxed stance..so I bought another set, dialed them in like the old ones and stuck the old liners in them until I can figure things out.

My DH jokes that we need to create a monthly ski boot budget. It's certainly starting to feel like it!
 

Cyclone6

Certified Ski Diva
#15
Bending the knees moves the hips back, which can put you in the back seat even if it puts your shins against the tongues of your boots. Open the knees up a bit and bend forward at the ankle instead. Your hips will be more forward. Bend zee Ankles, not Bend zee Knees. See if the calf pain goes away.

The image below is often used to illustrate good stance. Notice how high the hips are. The knees are just a little bent so the hips are not very far back. The ankles are bent forward; that's the biggie. Ankle bend tilts the lower leg forward.

So to get forward, bend forward at the ankles. This small bend moves your whole body forward so it hovers over the front of the skis. This won't use those calf muscles, it uses the Tibialis Anterior, which is on the front outer side of the lower leg. It will put your shin against the tongue and if you keep your ankles bent forward, your shins will stay in contact with the tongues. Bending the knees will not do this.

Imagine if this guy bent his knees more; his hips and everything above them would move back and his weight would hover over the tails of his skis.

Why do all these examples have men? Where are the women skiers in online ski instruction??????? Grrrrr.
Thanks, I'll try to pay attention to what my body is doing and try to match this when I'm on the mountain next!
 
#16
This happens on my extremely wonky leg--when I'm lying on my back and I let my legs rest where they will, the foot on this leg completely flops over, 90 degrees. My body seems to think that it is quite unnatural for these toes to point forward
I have EXACTLY the same problem stemming from, I think, spraining that ankle a millions times.
This is really good info @liquidfeet
 
#17
I have EXACTLY the same problem stemming from, I think, spraining that ankle a millions times.
This is really good info @liquidfeet
I have also rolled and sprained this ankle many times as well. I do a lot of balance work to keep it strong and that helps, but once in a while it still rolls. Maybe like you said the burning is a result of all of the injury.
 

Cyclone6

Certified Ski Diva
#18
I have also rolled and sprained this ankle many times as well. I do a lot of balance work to keep it strong and that helps, but once in a while it still rolls. Maybe like you said the burning is a result of all of the injury.
I have loose ankles. Rolled them all the time playing soccer. I wonder if this is contributing to my problem...
 

Cyclone6

Certified Ski Diva
#19
Quick update on this! I rolled out my calves before skiing yesterday, and it seemed to help! But, I still had a little pain early in the day. Not while skiing, but while standing in the lift line. Not doing anything else, just standing there. The times I've noticed it happen the worst when I'm skiing is when I'm on a longer traverse/catwalk type run where I'm not turning or doing much of anything except going along for the ride.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#20
There were a couple seasons when I had calf issues when riding the chair lift. Eventually realized that I was unconsciously tense because my legs were actively trying to hold the skis "up" instead of just hanging.

Yesterday morning there was 6 inches of fresh snow at my home hill. That's very unusual. The afternoon before the steeper trails (all groomers) had slick sections. I was so tense on the first run that I could feel my calf wasn't happy. I had to actively work to relax. By the second run I knew the snow surface was good so didn't have the problem any more. This was on a trail that takes about 3 min to finish when I go non-stop and not really at top speed. I've been skiing it for over 15 years. Just shows when nervousness can do.