Author Topic: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain  (Read 946 times)

Svend

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Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« on: January 01, 2013, 12:28:12 pm »
OK guys, I need some objective advice on a nagging problem.  I alluded to this yesterday in Byron's boot thread (now moved to the boot fit sticky in the Gear Garage), and this speaks to Dan's comments on posted vs. non-posted footbeds.

My 14 year old daughter has recently developed swelling and pain in the forefoot area.  The swelling is in the center of the foot, and was initially directly below the metatarsals, and now appears to be mainly between the metatarsals and the toes.  She is in a pair of Salomon Instinct boots - 98mm last; 90 flex; custom shell heat molded; liners heat molded.  She has been in these since December 2011, and did not have these problems until I put a new pair of footbeds in.  The first beds were off the shelf Conformable Volcano, thin, with moderate arch support.  The second pair were slightly thicker, and with much more pronounced arch support; also off the shelf non-custom.  Her first two ski days this season were still with the new pair, then I swapped them for the old pair, and the pain has lessened significantly but is still present.

Shell fit a couple of days ago showed a slight contact between baby toe on the right foot, indicating a punch out is needed there; but decent wiggle room at the left baby toe side.  Pain is worse on the right foot, but still present on the left side.  Other shell fit parameters look fine (length, width, instep height, etc.). 

Boots have a rather pronounced forward lean.

Foot shape is narrow forefoot and heel, high arches, moderate instep (in my judgement).  She does pronate.  She is also very slightly knock-kneed, which the Salomon boots sorted out nicely right out of the box.

FYI, she also has this problem in her cycling shoes (SPD pedals), which is another issue to be fixed somehow.  She does not have this problem in her other sports footwear -- she plays competitive soccer (6 hrs./week training and game time), as well as school sports (volleyball, field hockey).  It seems that pressure on the metatarsals is the common factor, given the cycling shoe problem.

In light of that, I have removed some widgets from the heel area inside her ski boots that were tightening the heel pocket but also increasing the ramp angle.  Also, I have been paying more attention to how she buckles her boots - looser over the toes and instep, tighter at the cuff.  Both of these seem to have helped as well. 

Sorry for the long-winded preamble....

Next steps:  in addition to the shell punch-out, I want to get her a new pair of footbeds to properly support the arches and the metatarsals.  My brief chat on the phone with the shop bootfitter showed that his preference is a custom footbed, posted, to lock the foot in place.  So, further to Dan's comments, I have some questions about proper selection:

-- What are the advantages/disadvantages of posted vs. non-posted? Specifically in this context - high arches; pronation; forefoot support; metatarsal pain.

-- Is a custom footbed even appropriate for a growing teenager? Her feet have not grown in the past 18 months, but they may change their shape (as evidenced by the rt. foot baby toe contact, which was not present at first bootfit session.  Therefore I am reluctant to get custom footbeds, only to have to replace them every season until she is an adult.  I am thinking a semi-custom like an A-Line or Footbalance, with an added metatarsal pad, may be OK.  However, if custom is the way to go to avoid chronic permanent problems, then it's worth the money.

Any other suggestions or insight, non-footbed related, would of course be most welcome as well.  BTW, we will also have her checked out by a podiatrist to ensure that there is nothing structurally wrong there.  She has had several bad ankle sprains from soccer which may be contributing to the problem.  Well worth looking at....  Finally, if the Instinct is fundamentally the wrong boot for her, then we will get her into something more anatomically suitable, but we're not at that point yet. 

Thanks in advance.... Looking forward to your feedback.

Svend
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 12:32:39 pm by Svend »


jim-ratliff

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Re: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2013, 02:25:03 pm »
Well, I almost always have a negative reaction to the posted footbed term of "locking the foot into place".

Interesting that it is also present in her bike shoes (both stiff platforms surfaces).
How well does the footbed conform to her foot out of the boot. Is it possible that her foot has grown just enough that the foot is now moved forward a few millimeters and not sitting on the footbed where it used to?
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dan.boisvert

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Re: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2013, 04:04:18 pm »
My 14 year old daughter has recently developed swelling and pain in the forefoot area.  The swelling is in the center of the foot, and was initially directly below the metatarsals, and now appears to be mainly between the metatarsals and the toes.  She is in a pair of Salomon Instinct boots - 98mm last; 90 flex; custom shell heat molded; liners heat molded.  She has been in these since December 2011, and did not have these problems until I put a new pair of footbeds in.  The first beds were off the shelf Conformable Volcano, thin, with moderate arch support.  The second pair were slightly thicker, and with much more pronounced arch support; also off the shelf non-custom.  Her first two ski days this season were still with the new pair, then I swapped them for the old pair, and the pain has lessened significantly but is still present.

Shell fit a couple of days ago showed a slight contact between baby toe on the right foot, indicating a punch out is needed there; but decent wiggle room at the left baby toe side.  Pain is worse on the right foot, but still present on the left side.  Other shell fit parameters look fine (length, width, instep height, etc.). 

Boots have a rather pronounced forward lean.

Foot shape is narrow forefoot and heel, high arches, moderate instep (in my judgement).  She does pronate.  She is also very slightly knock-kneed, which the Salomon boots sorted out nicely right out of the box.

FYI, she also has this problem in her cycling shoes (SPD pedals), which is another issue to be fixed somehow.  She does not have this problem in her other sports footwear -- she plays competitive soccer (6 hrs./week training and game time), as well as school sports (volleyball, field hockey).  It seems that pressure on the metatarsals is the common factor, given the cycling shoe problem.

In light of that, I have removed some widgets from the heel area inside her ski boots that were tightening the heel pocket but also increasing the ramp angle.  Also, I have been paying more attention to how she buckles her boots - looser over the toes and instep, tighter at the cuff.  Both of these seem to have helped as well. 

[snip]

-- What are the advantages/disadvantages of posted vs. non-posted? Specifically in this context - high arches; pronation; forefoot support; metatarsal pain.

-- Is a custom footbed even appropriate for a growing teenager? Her feet have not grown in the past 18 months, but they may change their shape (as evidenced by the rt. foot baby toe contact, which was not present at first bootfit session.  Therefore I am reluctant to get custom footbeds, only to have to replace them every season until she is an adult.  I am thinking a semi-custom like an A-Line or Footbalance, with an added metatarsal pad, may be OK.  However, if custom is the way to go to avoid chronic permanent problems, then it's worth the money.

Any other suggestions or insight, non-footbed related, would of course be most welcome as well.  BTW, we will also have her checked out by a podiatrist to ensure that there is nothing structurally wrong there.  She has had several bad ankle sprains from soccer which may be contributing to the problem.  Well worth looking at....  Finally, if the Instinct is fundamentally the wrong boot for her, then we will get her into something more anatomically suitable, but we're not at that point yet. 



I've seen that problem before.  Please take everything I say about this with a bucket of salt, because I'm not an actual bootfitter, and am working off memory from a couple years ago.  If I remember right, that problem is often caused by footwear that's too narrow compressing the metatarsals and inflaming the soft tissue between.  I suspect the new footbed aggravated it because it lifted her foot higher in the boot, which took up more volume and pushed her into a narrower part of the shell.  When you fit the width of a boot to a foot, you need to measure the foot with full weight on it, because feet expand when they get weight--especially flexible feet like many young people have.

I suspect the reason she has similar problems in her cycling shoes and not her other athletic shoes is because her cycling shoes are narrow and are constructed such that the forefoot doesn't stretch, whereas most soccer cleats and such are made of leather, which stretches to fit the foot beautifully.


Regarding footbeds, with growing feet, you'd probably need to get new ones made annually and, unless there's something structurally wrong with her feet, it seems like a lot of money to spend.  Pronation isn't a bad thing.  It's what the foot does when you put weight on it--if you read up on barefoot running, it'll give you a different perspective on how feet have evolved to work and what's actually necessary for them to function correctly.  That's not to say your daughter's skiing wouldn't benefit from a footbed--a flexible one that supports her foot but still allows it to articulate within the boot would probably do good things for her.  In my opinion, the problem with rigid footbeds is that they lock the foot inside the boot, rendering the foot and ankle useless for skiing.  If you want to get the ski on edge, you have to do it from the knee, which I don't think is a good thing, both functionally and for the future health of the knee.  For a flexible foot like mine, a rigid footbed also causes excruciating pain, because it doesn't allow the foot to bear weight where it's supposed to.  When you take it back to the magazine- and forum-recommended shop who made it for you, they add more posting (and pain) each time until you stop coming back.  Ask me how I know..  :D

I think a good place to start would be to have your daughter put all her weight on the ball of one foot with her foot flat on the floor, and measure her forefoot width (do this for each side).  I'd make sure her boots were stretched or ground to fit this measurement at the height her foot sits in the boot (ie, include footbed height in making sure you're stretching/grinding at the right height).

Soft tissue, once inflamed, tends to swell and be more sensitive to pressure, so you might have to stretch/grind more than ideal to get it to stop hurting when she skis on it.  Another option would probably be to get her out of her ski boots and cycling shoes for a couple weeks to see if the inflammation goes away, and you can get a better measurement.

Hopefully you'll be able to get this sorted out quickly for her!

Svend

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Re: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2013, 05:45:04 pm »
Dan, thanks again for an excellent reply.  If we ever meet to ski together, I owe you a pint.

Especially pertinent are your comments on rigid footbeds actually causing pain, and the functional differences between posted, rigid beds and flexible ones.  Makes perfect sense, and explains why the pain started with the 2nd set of footbeds -  they were not only slightly thicker, pressing her feet upward into the shell, but they also had a high and rigid arch support and a very solid, flat base, like a posted custom bed.  These obviously prevented her feet from moving, exacerbating the problems at the forefoot area.  Now that the old (more flexible) footbeds are back in, the inflammation is much less severe, and is decreasing with every ski day, indicating that the area is healing.  Proper buckle tension and decreased ramp have probably helped a lot too.  Prior to this, the pain was so bad she actually had to stop skiing on several occasions, which is remarkable as she is a tenacious girl and a fighter.  So, things are getting better, but much more needs doing before this is fixed.

FYI, since my first post earlier today I have looked into this further (check out Mortons Neuroma at some medical sites), and my research indicates that the root causes are: (a) pressure from above the metatarsals which compresses this area (eg. too much buckle tension); (b) compression of the forefoot from the sides from too-narrow footwear; or (c) localized pressure at the ball of foot area from stance such as high ski boot ramp, cycling shoes, or high heeled shoes.  Several ski forums have threads on this, and women seem to be more afflicted than men.  I agree with you - I think all three factors were contributors to my daughters problem.

Last week I called a few shops to poll their advice on this, and I am a bit dismayed now to have heard them all punting rigid footbeds.  But to be fair, I will have a long chat with the guy at the shop where we bought these boots and did her initial fitting, whom I have not been able to speak to yet about this.  I will fully explain the situation, and give him a chance to assess and make some recommendations.  At very least, he will punch out the affected areas, and if he insists on a posted footbed, I will simply go elsewhere for that.  I don't expect he will, though, as we spoke of footbeds for teens when he fitted her, and he recommended sticking with the simple Conformable Volcano.

Further to your comment on rigid beds causing knee problems, this makes me rethink the footbeds in my wife's boots and mine too.  They are both similar to the problematic ones for our daughter - rigid, flat base; high solid arch, thicker forefoot.  My wife has been complaining of knee pain lately, and my knees are tender too.  Time for a re-evaluation of all this.  Thanks for bringing that to light.

With regard to more flexible footbeds, do you have any experience with a specific brand? Are they simple off the shelf ones like the Conformable Volcano or Superfeet? Or are they custom? I have recently seen some interesting semi-custom heat moldable ones - Footbalance and A-Line come to mind.

Cheers,
Svend

« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 05:48:10 pm by Svend »

Svend

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Re: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2013, 06:01:31 pm »
Well, I almost always have a negative reaction to the posted footbed term of "locking the foot into place".

Interesting that it is also present in her bike shoes (both stiff platforms surfaces).
How well does the footbed conform to her foot out of the boot. Is it possible that her foot has grown just enough that the foot is now moved forward a few millimeters and not sitting on the footbed where it used to?

This is possible.  She has not changed shoe size in almost 2 years, but that is hardly an accurate measure.  I think there are other things at work here, though....see my reply to Dan re. the 2nd set of footbeds I put into her boots, and their rigid design.  I'm feeling pretty badly about this, actually, thinking I might have caused all her discomfort.  I bought those beds under the mistaken assumption that rigid was better, given everything I'd heard the shop guys say over the years re. custom posted ones. 

Now that I think about it, the only bootfitter that I have ever heard speak about allowing the foot to articulate, and building a footbed to on that principle, was a woman in Banff who did some work on Gary's Langes last April.  I may have to go and see her on our next visit there if I can't find anyone here locally.  She apparently does some of the WC racers on the Canadian alpine team, who are more than delighted with her work. 

Jim, what has your experience been with this? From your comment above, you seem to know a bit about posted footbeds.


epic

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Re: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2013, 06:31:54 pm »
If the trim to fits are not trimmed (enough) to fit they'll curl up on the sides and you'll be able to see that when you pull them out.

Re: posting - I'm not for blanket demonizing of posting it has it's place. I've had a lot of footbeds and the set I am on now is posted and I do ski better n them. They are not what I would call rigid however. Not like some Corks I have had. If you want to know more about posting, you could try "Ask the Bootfitters" on EpicSki and hear from some actual bootfitters. I'm not a bootfitter and I'm not saying your daughter should be posted, just that you don't have to put up the shields any time you hear a bootfitter say the word "post" or a variation of it.

midwif

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Re: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2013, 06:52:19 pm »
Svend
None of the Pmts ers on the forum have come out and said it, but........
HH has advocated for non rigid footbeds since the get go..

Being able to use the ankle in the boot to initiate the turn, rather than the knee, is the
basis of the "kinetic" chain in his pedagogy.

My personal experience with cork custom footbeds was pretty bad.
Pain, cramps and foot fatigue.Oh, and a really bad wedge problem, but that's a whole 'nother story.

The bootfitter in Banff with WC clients sounds like she has the same belief as HH in how the foot/ankle need to be able to work in the boot.

Happy New Year!
"Play it Sam"

Svend

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Re: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2013, 07:30:48 pm »
Lynn, Epic, perhaps I was a bit hasty in my comments. I did not intend to state that I was rejecting posted footbeds outright for all individuals.  I simply don't know enough about the different designs to understand if they are all rigid or not, and if these are indeed appropriate for certain people and their particular conditions.  My limited experience with these comes from looking at examples in ski shops, and from what my chiropractor once tried to sell me as a custom orthotic to deal with plantar fascitis -- a device that seemed to be made of fibreglass resin and was rock hard....no way was I going to put those in my sneakers.

However, it just made sense when I read Dan's comments on rigid beds causing foot pain in the context of my daughter, as the insertion of the more rigid beds (having a solid and high arch support and flat hard bottom surface) in her boots coincided with the beginnings of her problems.  I was savvy to the extra thickness being a possible problem, but the rigid nature of the bed did not occur to me as being a possible issue, until Dan's mention.

As a timeline on this, I put the new beds in just before our Banff trip in March, and by Day 4 or 5 she started complaining of swelling and pain under her metatarsals.  After we got home from that trip, she did not ski again until last week, again with the new beds in.  Upon consideration of the timing of all this, I connected the two and put the old, thinner, lower arch, more flexible Volcanos in.  She has skied three days with these since last Friday, and with progressively less pain and swelling. 

BTW, Epic, I did check the beds for curling around the sides, and did trim some material off in March when this first started.  They sat flat in the liners after that.  The old Volcanos are well-trimmed.

There are several things I now need to do:

- consult with a good bootfitter re. an appropriate footbed for her foot morphology and problem condition.  Hopefully the guy at the shop where we bought them will answer.

- have her boots punched out in the toe area to allow her some extra room there and eliminate any compression

- have her examined by a podiatrist to ensure there is no underlying exacerbating condition behind this

The principle behind allowing the foot some movement makes sense to me, but then again so does the principle of supporting the arches and holding the heel in place.  So if I can find a solution that gives the support she needs to prevent her foot from moving too much and/or collapsing, while still allowing it some movement to flex and take up stresses induced by ankle and lower leg movement, then we might be on the right track here.  Completely locking the foot in place seems all wrong, though, as any movement of the lower leg and ankle inevitably ends up being transmitted to the foot via ligaments and joints.  If the foot can't move correspondingly to take up those stresses, then that seems a recipe for trouble.  So thanks for sharing your experience with cork beds -  now I know what to avoid. 

« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 07:40:16 pm by Svend »

dan.boisvert

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Re: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2013, 08:29:59 pm »
With regard to more flexible footbeds, do you have any experience with a specific brand? Are they simple off the shelf ones like the Conformable Volcano or Superfeet? Or are they custom? I have recently seen some interesting semi-custom heat moldable ones - Footbalance and A-Line come to mind.

I don't think the rigidity of the new footbeds caused your daughter's foot pain.  From what you've said, her pain is in an entirely different category than what I experienced and would expect if the rigidity was the cause.  I think it's mostly a volume thing.  The foot had less room to spread with the new footbed and nowhere to go, so the soft stuff got inflamed.

The kind of pain I'm talking about from rigid foot beds and flexible feet can be a couple things, but I'd look more for a cramping along the entire bottom of the foot, or excruciating arch pain--it feels like the footbed is trying to force out the "keystone" in the arch in your foot, and it hurts like hell, because you're bearing lots of weight pressing upward directly into the center of the arch, instead of through it in the strong direction.  It can also screw up your alignment something fierce, because your arch flattens, hits the footbed, and then the entire ski goes with it before your foot is in a load-bearing position.  You pretty much can't put any weight on your foot without the edge getting engaged hard.  It's a great combination of both painful and terrifying.

I'm also not against some forms of posting for people whose feet are inflexible and require more support.  The big thing I'm opposed to is the rigid footbeds that are so incredibly common.


The flexible footbeds I'd recommend would be custom made by a really good fitter.  I'm not sure which processes various ones use.  I know HH has his method, and my fitter found a new plastic last year he was really excited about.  The woman in Banff probably has her own preferred product, too.  I think the fitter you see is way more important than the specific product they use for something like this.  Just as there are a bunch of brands for rigid footbeds, there are a bunch that can be used to make flexible ones, too.

That said, I'm one of the rare ones who wouldn't be well-served by a custom footbed, so I use one of the thin black Superfeet cut-to-fit ones, which works great for me.  As my fitter put it, "for feet like yours, the boot board IS the footbed..".  ;D

Svend

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Re: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2013, 09:20:24 pm »
I don't think the rigidity of the new footbeds caused your daughter's foot pain.  From what you've said, her pain is in an entirely different category than what I experienced and would expect if the rigidity was the cause.  I think it's mostly a volume thing.  The foot had less room to spread with the new footbed and nowhere to go, so the soft stuff got inflamed.

OK - got it.  Thanks for clarifying that.  I'll ask her if she has pain anywhere else, but she hasn't mentioned it until now.  You know how kids are -- they are mute until you actually ask a direct question. 

Bottom line, the new footbeds seem to be the direct cause of the problem, along with a too-narrow toe box.  Sort both of those out, and we should be good.

BTW, I'm pleased to hear someone here admit to using a Superfeet insole.  I've been reluctant to confess to the same (just a different brand) for fear of being pounced on for not being serious about my gear.  Custom beds seem to be gospel to almost everyone.  But I have what appear to be very average, normal feet, which fit into many boots almost perfectly without much modification needed, and seem well-served by non-custom cut-to-fit insoles. 

Finding a good custom bed for my daughter, if that ends up being needed, may take some calling around.  I have yet to be in a shop that sells any custom ones other than the hard plastic posted type.  I have shied away from these for my personal use, and for my kids, because some logic in the back of my mind must have told me that they were overkill and not really going to make us ski THAT much better.  I have paid way more attention to proper snug boot fit and trying to get that right (although I am still learning the nuances of that), as well as lateral alignment, fore-aft stance, and flex adjustment.  Seems to me that these factors play a much bigger role in skiing performance, at least for recreational needs, than locking the foot in a custom bed.

Some good dialog here -- thanks very much, Dan.  This has been very helpful.


HighAngles

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Re: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2013, 11:01:09 pm »
All really great info so far...

Svend - Have you taken her to a doctor yet to have her feet checked out?  I've had some problems with neuromas that required a cortisone shot between the toes to get the met pain calmed down.  She may be in a "place" now that even if you do get the boot fitting sorted out you won't readily realize it due to the continued foot problems.  A ski boot shell is a rather "confining" environment and your feet need to be healthy or you could be led astray on whether the boot is actually fitting correctly.

After going the custom route with my 13 year old son (which he promptly outgrew quickly), I've settled on using Downunder footbeds with my kids.  HH sells them in his shop and I also use them myself in a couple pairs of boots.  What I like is that they're supportive without being too rigid.  They will conform to the foot over time, but you have to be sure to trim them correctly so that they fit properly into the liner and shell.  They have a nice deep heel pocket and good met support (uncommon for an OTS footbed).  They're also easily grindable to reduce volume and fine-tune the shape.

jim-ratliff

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Re: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2013, 12:13:08 am »
Jim, what has your experience been with this? From your comment above, you seem to know a bit about posted footbeds.
Nope, no experience that I can remember with posted footbeds, but that may just be memory loss.
The second best footbed I've had was the InstaPrint system. They put the footbed in some heated gel, you put pressure on the footbed, but not full standing pressure. The footbed conforms well to your foot.
The Harb approach, I realized, is far superior for me.
I have "compensated forefoot varus", which means that with my heel "flat/neutral" the ball of my foot doesn't touch the ground. However, I have enough ankle flexibility to let my forefoot twist down.  Varus/valgus is pretty common (see Scroogle), but nobody in skidom had ever noticed this before. Since the goal of HHS is a supported foot IN THE NEUTRAL POSITION they built up the ball of foot area to get equal pressure without the ankle compensation; otherwise I would not have had any motion left to tip my ankle in the boot.
The InstaPrint system captures the foot impression and some alignment as you remain seated with knees together, but they didn't look at what the ankle is doing.

So both footbeds supported my feet, but only one supported my feet in the neutral position.

By the way, I had taken to using my ski footbeds in my bike shoes, since that eliminated some knee pain I was having.  This year the local Specialized store actually had varus/valgus wedges included with their OTS footbeds. They work well for me (and limit wear on my Harb footbeds).

« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 12:18:48 am by jim-ratliff »
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Svend

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Re: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2013, 09:27:33 am »
HA, Jim - thanks for the info on the Instaprint and Downunder beds.  I have not seen them here in Canada, although there seems to be a new brand available that does something similar to Instaprint.  Can't recall if it's A-Line or Footbalance....both are new on the market here, and now sold by the ski shops in Collingwood.  I will take her to the shop tomorrow for the toe punch-out and will then look at our footbed options.  Will post back here with what we find.

HA - we do intend to take her to a podiatrist as soon as possible.  As mentioned, she has had some bad ankle sprains from soccer, one of which (summer 2011) involved her instep area.  She would do well with a thorough check-up to make sure everything is in order.  I sure hope it's not a full-blown neuroma, as my understanding is that they can be difficult to get rid of permanently. 

I've settled on using Downunder footbeds with my kids.  HH sells them in his shop and I also use them myself in a couple pairs of boots.

AHA! So there is someone here with a boot quiver! I knew it! I asked the question in the Krypton thread, and got mostly stony silence and a couple of "Huh?!  ???" responses.  Too funny....   ;D 


HighAngles

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Re: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2013, 04:57:46 pm »
I own way too many boots, just like I own way too many skis.  Not to drag this thread too far off topic, but for many years I was a Flexon/Full Tilt skier and I have a different color for every day of the week.  But then I switched over to the Head Raptor (130RS and B3 RD) and discovered what a good fitting 4-buckle race-inspired shell can do.  So it's really hard for me to go back to the Flexons now. 

Svend

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Re: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2013, 03:43:58 pm »
Quick update here:  last week we finally got my daughter's boots looked at by the bootfitter, and he found that there was insufficient vertical space in the forefoot area, which combined with the previous thicker footbed was compressing the metatarsals and inflaming the nerves there.  He ground about 1/8" (perhaps less) off the front of each bootboard, which gave her significantly more wiggle room there and eased a lot of pressure.  He also recommended these footbeds:  http://www.aline.com/ which are a significant upgrade in support over her previous ones.  The contour under the arch and up into the forefoot area is really unique.  They are firm, solid, and very supportive.  Very well made...I am impressed.

First ski day with the new changes was Saturday, and she noticed a huge improvement.  We skied for almost 4 hours non-stop, and with almost no lift lines, we got a lot of runs in.  The pain was about 10% of what it was, and the remnants may be just residual nerve inflammation that hopefully will subside with healing time (not sure if nerve tissue heals slower than other, but this may take time).  There is no more swelling under the metatarsals, which is a really good sign. 

And she said the new footbeds gave her WAY more stability and control, esp. at high speeds -- a major improvement, according to her.  Grinding the front of the bootboards also increased the ramp angle in the boots, but she actually liked the change, saying it made her feel more balanced.  There is still a bit of heel/ankle movement which will need to be taken up with some J-Pads (increasing the boot ramp meant we had to take out some heel widgets that were snugging up this area, but were also adding some heel lift -- so these had to be removed to avoid too much ramp).  We will deal with that tomorrow back at the shop.

Bottom line, this problem seems solved.  Thanks to everyone for their advice.  Much appreciated.

« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 04:21:07 pm by Svend »

HighAngles

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Re: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2013, 04:52:39 pm »
People either seem to love the Aline footbeds or hate them.  The complaints I've heard are that they are bulky, cold, and make it more difficult to get your foot in the boot (since they add a high degree of friction against your socked foot).  I'm also trying to remember if they're heavily posted - to the point of locking out some useful medial ankle motion.

Nonetheless, a happy skier is a skier who will actually ski, so it's definitely a good thing to be able to ski without pain, but still maintain sufficient control through the boot interface.

Svend

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Re: Footbeds for teenagers; forefoot pain
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2013, 05:19:29 pm »
HA -- she got the RTS model, which has a soft flocked topsheet.  Pretty easy to get the boots on and off.  I looked at the regular RT model, and you are quite right in that it has kind of a rubbery surface which would likely stick to a ski sock.  The RTS is not bulky; has a thin forefoot area; and does not seem heavily posted, although the heel and arch areas are pretty solid.  I am no expert in footbed design, but in my mind they are not nearly as rigid as some posted custom ones I have been shown in the shops.  They have a distinctly rounded edge profile at the heel area, if you can visualize that.  The upper layer in the arch area, and extending toward the metatarsals, is some sort of dense foam, which does have some give to it and would allow some movement of the foot. 

In any case, she is more than happy with their feel and performance.  Re. the latter, by the way she was throwing her Progressors around on Saturday, I'd say her confidence is up a notch just from this simple change.  Two thumbs up!

« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 05:22:51 pm by Svend »