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Boots - how to avoid pain on inside ankle bones?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Dropbear, Aug 12, 2019.

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  1. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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    Hi,

    I recently spent a week backcountry ski touring in borrowed Scarpa AT boots that fit well, but developed some pretty nasty pain on the ankle bones on the insides of both ankles.

    How do I avoid this in the short term if I were to try to pad out the boots differently, or in the medium term when I look to buy my own AT boots, please?

    More specifically, is there a way that the foot should be sitting in a boot that avoids pressure on these points point?

    ---

    For background:

    I've kinda had this issue before in other ski or hiking boots - but never this bad.

    On this last trip the boots were comfy to start off with. The trouble started as a hot spot, and as soon as I noticed it I taped both ankles. For the first whole day I thought it was fine. The second day I was in agony as the initial minor blister became an open wound.

    I had to nurse my feet the rest of the week. I ended up using various bits of foam to pad both above and below the ankle bone, but this was hard to get right and still not very effective, so I'm sure there must be a better way?

    Thanks for any ideas!
     
  2. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    @Dropbear had same issue develop when skiing in Japan last year, except with my own boots, which i had been skiing in for a few seasons. Had two bootfitters have a go at fixing it. The first reduced the volumn around the ankles with pads and remolding the liners..... which i thought worked..... for about a day. The second bootfitter went back to square one, took out pads, made new footbed and remolded the liner. Now have three weeks skiing in boots and they are working just fine.

    These two visits to bootfitters (including transport eg ski tube return ticket) have cost as much as the original boot purchase....... which I'm sure you don't want to hear.
     
  3. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    I have low ankles. This is a potential problem with every pair of boots I have owned. I warn my bootfitters beforehand. Most have solved it with a heel wedge that lifts my heel a tad.
     
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  4. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Footbed is your best bet. Will support your arch and get your ankles off the inside of the shell. If you’re not ready to take the plunge on a custom you could try a prefab like a Sidas 3Feet.
     
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  5. Chowder11

    Chowder11 Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    This, try a varis wedge to roll your ankle out.
    Works most of the time
     
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  6. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    As per above the, wedge is the lowest cost option. No use spending $$$ on boots that aren't yours.

    Adding extra padding around the area generally just applies more pressure and isn't addressing the original issue. Do you pronate without shoes on? To fix think alignment to get the foot and ankle neutral.

    This issue is bad enough in an alpine boot but it multiplies when you add touring to the mix in an AT boot. The poor fit / position really magnifies the pain in touring mode.
     
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  7. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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    Thanks all for the suggestions!

    I have a half-decent pair off-the shelf inner soles that provide a bit more support, so I'll try them next week. (I tested the boots at home before my last trip and didn't think that they would be problematic for me).

    The heel lift is an interesting idea. I like the idea of not having a any heel lift in normal shoes (emulating barefoot biomechanics but with a shoe on), but in this context it's definitely worth a try too.

    Before fitting and buying my own AT boots, should I visit a podiatrist and possibly get orthotics to put in the new boots from the start, or would it be better to have ski boots fitted in their unadulterated format first and then seek an orthotic retrofit if I were to experience problems later?
     
  8. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    Footbeds are a part of the process at most reputable boot fitters, so get the whole shebang from the one place.
    Do you research and find a really good bootfitter.
     
    Chaeron likes this.
  9. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Orthotics and footbeds are quite different. Orthotics are made for walking and supporting your foot correctly as it goes through all the motions of your walking gait, starting when your heel touches the ground, through to your weight going on to the whole foot and finally as you push off with the ball of your foot.

    None of that happens during a ski turn inside a ski boot, so a ski footbed is designed to be used in that static position, so the 2 aren't really interchangeable. There are some podiatrists who know an incredible amount about ski boots and skiing, but certainly not all of them do.
     
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  10. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    If the hot spot & blistering is related to movement of the foot inside the inner while touring, then an older style laced inner may be more comfortable than the new moulded Intuition liners as one can immobilise the lower part of the inner (tighter lacing for lower part) while still having the upper part above the ankle firm but looser.

    However, if the boots/ inners are too large, or the hotspot is due to to undue pressure in one part of the boot at the ankle, then it’s all about the boot fitting, and footbeds can make a massive difference as outlined above.

    On a separate train of thought, some Scarpa boots allow you to adjust the canting settings, and a wrong adjustment (or one made to suit someone else - borrowed boots ) can exacerbate any innate pronation issues outlined by @DPS Driver.

    And another factor (I’m a Scarpa wearer - have had BC Scarpas for ages) - a Scarpa AT boot can have quite a wide last and also possibly space for a reasonably high instep which if too wide/ high can allow for lateral movement at the heel, especially in a new style inner, depending on the shape of your foot. This friction will result in painful heel/ ankle blistering, as the foot will pivot around in this area if the foot has space to move laterally as you move in tour mode.

    Choosing a different make with a better combination of width of last and instep height may resolve the issue independently of additional footbed customisation and boot fitting issues.

    Additionally, some people initially tour with their boots (or inners) too loose, and that increases foot movement within the boot while touring with the consequent friction causing hot spotting and blistering. Immobilising the foot and ankle without constricting the calf muscles will prevent this, as will using socks that aren’t too thick.

    I once toured from Windy Corner to McKay in my AT Scarpas with moulded Intuition liners (which are generally awesome) and developed blisters after about 3km. My boots were buckled too loose and I was wearing too thick socks. On subsequent long tours (20 km plus) I had no issues - with the same boots & liners, but with thinner socks and tighter laced (and buckled) boots.

    I have subsequently changed to using my older lace-up inners from my older boots in the newer shells to optimise comfort while maintaining a good fit, and this has maximised comfort and eliminated hot spotting and blistering - I’m not saying that optimal boot choice and fitting, including foot beds aren’t the primary driver, but suggesting you look at the full picture, especially as touring means you’re combining touring issues with the boot fitting issues we associate with downhill skiing.
     
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  11. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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  12. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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  13. azzski

    azzski Should know better Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you do want to look into a podiatrist-fitted boot, try Ortho Ski. Falls Creek based but they do off season clinics in Sydney and Melbourne. Won't be cheap but the orthotic footbeds they produce can be claimed back on private health insurance (assuming you have the right cover).
     
  14. Young Angus

    Young Angus Early Days

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    All about footbeds in my recent experience. Had an awesome bootfitter fit my boots and make custom footbeds. Wasn't quite right and still had pain on the sides of my feet and ankles. Got the footbeds tweaked ever so slightly and hey presto pain gone and most comfy things I've ever worn (including some normal shoes haha)

    Do the footbeds properly, spend the money, be comfy!
     
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  15. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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    These are all super interesting ideas, thanks everyone! Yes, the static skiing verses dynamic walking actions was why I was wondering about footbeds or orthotics.

    In these borrowed boots, the fit was close without being great. I wasn't getting any heel lift, but there must have been some movement and friction there... I started this AT trip wearing explorer-thick socks (coincidentally at Windy Corner, and put strapping on a couple of kays along the road towards Langfords Gap). On following days when I was really having fitting issues I swapped to thin socks and I think that was better, though the damage was done...

    I'm inexperienced in AT (though I've been snowshoe/snowboard yo-yoing a fair bit), so I need to learn more about how to get about in the mountains on skis. That includes learning how to set the boot tightness and canting right for the ups and the downs.
     
  16. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I had this issue and actually found that thin socks solved the problem. The issue is once it is done there isn’t a lot you can do on that trip other than treat symptoms.
     
  17. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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    What are the best recommendations for boot fitters for AT boots, please? I could go to any of Jindy, Perisher, Falls Creek, or Mt Beauty (this season or next).

    I searched the forum threads for boot fitter recommendations and took lots of notes, but most discussions appeared to be related to downhill boots...

    For perspective, I'm planning on buying a whole AT set in time, and I'll probably need boots to suit tech bindings. That assumes I get tech bindings that will safely release even for some downhill use (I ski and snowboard 50/50 when inbounds), and if I can get tech bindings to suit those requirements, then I don't think I'll want frame bindings. I don't know if there are any other important considerations for buying AT boots before buying bindings and skis?

    If it's important, I'm a blue/black skier in the resort but my form can come undone when the snow gets choppy, so I need some lessons to improve my skiing, especially for backcountry conditions. New boots will be an important part of that because my current downhill ski boots are clapped out.
     
  18. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    When it comes to BC and bootfitting for Melbourne I reckon you can’t go past Doug at Ajays in Heathmont or Andy from the Bootlab.
     
  19. GS

    GS A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Interesting timely thread as I have started noticing what seems like 'bruising' on the inside of the ankle bone. Pretty damned painful. Often get a blister on the back of my feet but have learnt to prevent them quite easily with tape and the blister pads mentioned above. I looked into re-molding the liner (Scarpa T2X) at home but haven't tried as yet.
     
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  20. Young Angus

    Young Angus Early Days

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    Doug and Andy are both awesome...isn't Doug mainly at the Balwyn EMC store or does he also work at Ajays? I know they're linked and kind of the same shop but I always see Doug at Balwyn.
     
  21. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I’m sure you’re right & he’s mostly at EMC.
     
  22. cornice11

    cornice11 One of Us

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    Boots might also just be too big with pronation. Any shin bang?
     
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  23. jgm

    jgm Addicted

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    I have flat feet. After years of suffering from pressure on the ankle bones I have ONLY had complete success with having the shells punched. For years I tried footbeds, wedges and padding all providing varying degrees of relief but it was always only temporary. The biggest issue with having the shells punched is accurately locating the correct spot. I find with new boots it has usually taken a couple of attempts, but once that is done it is instant relief.
     
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  24. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    This is true. I have orthotics for my regular shoes, and footbeds for my ski boots.
     
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  25. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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    Thanks all!

    I get the impression I'll need footbeds and possibly also have boots punched out when I buy a new pair.

    Yes, the borrowed pair were maybe slightly too big, but I don't think I had any shin bang...
     
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