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Toe Injury from Ski Boots

NWSkiGirl

Certified Ski Diva
#1
Hello! I skied my first day today, and my toes really hurt because it was so cold. But after lunch I realized that my toes also hurt because of my new ski boots. And also because I forgot to clip my toenails really short. Unfortunately I have been here before, but I have ski instructor training and lessons next weekend. What's the quickest way to relieve the toe pain and recover by next week? It's really just one of my big toes - it's red and swollen and I think the toenail is going to fall off. :-( Thanks for your advice!

We have so much snow here in Washington State already. Thank heavens for a great start to the ski season!
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
I feel your pain. This happened to me. It was my two big toes that got messed up. My toenails never came off; the toes simply got red and painful. The inflammation would not go away all season. I was skiing 4 days a week and simply had to be in the boots. Some days were OK and some were problematic until I took the boots off for relief at lunch.

This all happened because a well-respected bootfitter put me in boots with too narrow a toe box. He was not successful in grinding and punching the toe boxes out enough to make room for my toes. I think he should have been able to do that if he'd done it right but for some reason he was not motivated to do the proper work on my boots.

It got so bad towards the end of that season that I had to walk away from work in the middle of the day in severe pain. I drove to my local ski shop and bought new boots that day to get me through the spring. Thank goodness for the wonderful bootfitter (Adam) in that shop who put me in the right boot (finally) and did tons of modifications to get me able to continue skiing.

Over the summer the toes finally calmed down and the inflammation went away. But the two big toenails, in response to all that continual inflammation from over the winter, had become ingrown. Adam told me that before next season started I'd have to go to a podiatrist and have the ingrown toenails surgically fixed, but that I'd need to wait until the toes were no longer inflamed to do that. At the end of the summer I did it and all has been well since. I'm still in those boots and I'll always go to Adam for my bootfitting needs.

You do not want this to happen to you, and you really don't want to have ingrown toenails happen as a result of boot issues.

Best of luck getting your toes sorted out. I'm sorry but I don't know what else will help except staying out of your ski boots until the redness and pain disappears, then getting the toe boxes ground and punched. Maybe there's another solution.
 
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NWSkiGirl

Certified Ski Diva
#6
I feel your pain. This happened to me. It was my two big toes that got messed up. My toenails never came off; the toes simply got red and painful. The inflammation would not go away all season. I was skiing 4 days a week and simply had to be in the boots. Some days were OK and some were problematic until I took the boots off for relief at lunch.

This all happened because a well-respected bootfitter put me in boots with too narrow a toe box. He was not successful in punching the toe boxes out enough to make room for my toes. I think he should have been able to do that if he'd done it right but for some reason he was not motivated to do the proper work for my feet.

It got so bad towards the end of that season that I had to walk away from work in the middle of the day in severe pain. I drove to my local ski shop and bought new boots to get me through the spring. Thank goodness for the wonderful bootfitter (Adam) in that shop who put me in the right boot (finally) and did tons of modifications to get me able to continue skiing through the end of the season.

Over the summer the toes finally calmed down and the inflammation went away. But the two big toenails, in response to all that continual inflammation from over the winter, had become ingrown. Adam told me that before next season started I'd have to go to a podiatrist and have the ingrown toenails surgically fixed, but that I'd need to wait until the toes were no longer inflamed to do this. At the end of the summer I did this and all has been well since. I'm still in those boots and I'll always go to Adam for my bootfitting needs.

You do not want this to happen to you, and you really don't want to have ingrown toenails happen as a result of boot issues.

Best of luck getting your toes sorted out. I'm sorry but I don't know what else will help except staying out of your ski boots until the redness and pain disappears. Maybe there's another solution.
Oh wow! It sounds like skiing through it is a bad thing. :-( I hate to let the team down, and of course I want to ski!! I'm glad you got yours resolved.
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
I had an ingrown in high school that required surgery because of too-small basketball high-tops. Thirty years later the toenail is still abnormal and weird-looking. Not fun; avoid.

If your toes are compressed in the boots, they will always feel cold because of the reduced circulation, so while you're resting you could visit the bootfitter and make sure you have enough room in those new boots.

A good insole with arch support will reduce toe-bang.
 
#11
I broke my big toe last winter- Soaking in Epson Salts was the cure for me and I always use arnica for deep tissue bruising. I also put 'mole skin' on that toe to give it some protection. I couldn't ski bumps and it did still hurt but I was in Utah and "had" to ski..

I buy my boots so I can wiggle my toes- and fit toe heater on top of my toes. poor toes they've been frostbit too many times so I have to able to move them to keep blood down there-

Hope you find relief!
 
#12
I broke my big toe last winter- Soaking in Epson Salts was the cure for me and I always use arnica for deep tissue bruising. I also put 'mole skin' on that toe to give it some protection. I couldn't ski bumps and it did still hurt but I was in Utah and "had" to ski..

I buy my boots so I can wiggle my toes- and fit toe heater on top of my toes. poor toes they've been frostbit too many times so I have to able to move them to keep blood down there-

Hope you find relief!
Agree with these suggestions, would also suggest wearing slippers (hopefully you're WFH these days) or very comfortable shoes all week, and to use your anti-inflammatory med of choice (ibuprofen, naprosyn, etc - not Tylenol (too hard on the liver)) all wk, as well. I also agree that waiting a wk or two to get things under control now is worth avoiding major issues for the rest of the season. The blood supply to the feet is much less than that in the rest of your body, so athletes (and diabetics) have to pay them more attention than other areas.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
It could be the shape of the toe. That was my problem. My toes are square. You know those lovely pointy shoes, never could wear them.

The boot fitter squared off the toes and gave me the room I needed there.
My toes are wider than the ball-of-foot area. What's with these pointed toe boxes? They must be ground first and then punched to make room for my toes. Just punching the plastic shell often results in the plastic returning to its former shape. There's some reason some grinding is needed first. However, if your bootfitter grinds too much, then there's not enough plastic left to push the toe box sides out. Been there, dealt with that once and will not let it happen again ever.

My ski school had an indoor training session one year with a physical therapist. She had us all take off our shoes and socks and sit on the floor. I looked around at all the feet. Most people's toes are less wide than the ball-of-foot area, and they come to a point. It was a surprise because all my life I've stared at my own feet and not so much at others' feet.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
I had an ingrown in high school that required surgery because of too-small basketball high-tops. Thirty years later the toenail is still abnormal and weird-looking. Not fun; avoid.....
So true. My big toe toenails grew back deformed after the surgery. My husband had ingrown toenails cut out as a child. His toenails are still really deformed at age 74. I conclude the deformation is permanent.
 
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liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
....Soaking in Epson Salts was the cure for me....
I buy my boots so I can wiggle my toes- and fit toe heater on top of my toes. poor toes they've been frostbit too many times so I have to able to move them to keep blood down there-
^^This too. Epson Salts and hot water makes the pain go away, temporarily. I did that every night after skiing back when I was going through this. It is not a cure, though.

Buying boots that allow you to wiggle toes up-down with absolutely no squeeze inward from the sides is essential, as @nopoleskier says.

The toes should reach the front wall, however. That's good. The contact might feel shocking if you are not used to it. Continuous toe-to-front-wall contact is fine. What you don't want is your feet moving fore-aft inside the boot, repeatedly banging the toes into the front wall as you ski. They should touch it, stay in contact, and not move back and forth at all. Thus no toe-bang. If the toes move fore-aft, then you either need a footbed that keeps your foot from lengthening, or your boot shell is too long and you need a new boot, or both. Shell-too-long can't be fixed. And it brings performance issues.

The ball-of-foot area should have no squiggle room at all. The fit width there needs to be SNUG.

For skiers with wide toes, finding a ski boot that offers a snug fit for the ball-of-foot along with enough sideways and ceiling room for the toes is difficult Such skiers simply usually have to get new boots modified by a smart and caring bootfitter.
 
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#16
Advanced ballet dancers wear toe shoes, and stuff the toes with, I think, lambs wool. I wonder if a bit of that could help in difficult fit situations.

Just thoughts dribbling through my brain. Not to be taken as expert advice. Or advice at all.
 

NWSkiGirl

Certified Ski Diva
#17
I had an ingrown in high school that required surgery because of too-small basketball high-tops. Thirty years later the toenail is still abnormal and weird-looking. Not fun; avoid.

If your toes are compressed in the boots, they will always feel cold because of the reduced circulation, so while you're resting you could visit the bootfitter and make sure you have enough room in those new boots.

A good insole with arch support will reduce toe-bang.
Thanks for the heads up on them feeling cold due to low circulation. I've had the toes punched out a few times, but clearly my toes need more room! I will be taking them back this week.
 

NWSkiGirl

Certified Ski Diva
#18
I broke my big toe last winter- Soaking in Epson Salts was the cure for me and I always use arnica for deep tissue bruising. I also put 'mole skin' on that toe to give it some protection. I couldn't ski bumps and it did still hurt but I was in Utah and "had" to ski..

I buy my boots so I can wiggle my toes- and fit toe heater on top of my toes. poor toes they've been frostbit too many times so I have to able to move them to keep blood down there-

Hope you find relief!
Thanks! I will be soaking them in epsom salt tonight!
 

NWSkiGirl

Certified Ski Diva
#19
Agree with these suggestions, would also suggest wearing slippers (hopefully you're WFH these days) or very comfortable shoes all week, and to use your anti-inflammatory med of choice (ibuprofen, naprosyn, etc - not Tylenol (too hard on the liver)) all wk, as well. I also agree that waiting a wk or two to get things under control now is worth avoiding major issues for the rest of the season. The blood supply to the feet is much less than that in the rest of your body, so athletes (and diabetics) have to pay them more attention than other areas.
Yes, WFH! I will baby them this week.
 

NWSkiGirl

Certified Ski Diva
#20
^^This too. Epson Salts and hot water makes the pain go away, temporarily. I did that every night after skiing back when I was going through this. It is not a cure, though.

Buying boots that allow you to wiggle toes up-down with absolutely no squeeze inward from the sides is essential, as @nopoleskier says.

The toes should reach the front wall, however. That's good. The contact might feel shocking if you are not used to it. Continuous toe-to-front-wall contact is fine. What you don't want is your feet moving fore-aft inside the boot, repeatedly banging the toes into the front wall as you ski. They should touch it, stay in contact, and not move back and forth at all. Thus no toe-bang. If the toes move fore-aft, then you either need a footbed that keeps your foot from lengthening, or your boot shell is too long and you need a new boot, or both. Shell-too-long can't be fixed. And it brings performance issues.

The ball-of-foot area should have no squiggle room at all. The fit width there needs to be SNUG.

For skiers with wide toes, finding a ski boot that offers a snug fit for the ball-of-foot along with enough sideways and ceiling room for the toes is difficult Such skiers simply usually have to get new boots modified by a smart and caring bootfitter.
Great info, thanks! I think we're almost there with the boots. They are snug, snug, snug. Just a bit more room in the toes is needed. And short toenails. I have problems with my toenails running too!
 

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