by Dick Butler
Bootfitting a problem? Feet hurt?

March 6, 2008

I am going through recovery after foot surgery, more specifically a “bunionectomy”.  In addition, my feet have always overpronated, some would say severely overpronated and now my feet seem to have been affected by the surgery.  I have had custom footbeds for many years and my boots are Technica’s of the proper shell size. 

I consulted with my podiatrist and explained the situation, and since have had one session with an accomplished boot fitter.  The problem still exists, though it has improved.  After a few hours on the slopes and especially after skiing on hard corduroy and eastern hard pack the pain still is quite noticeable and my ski days have disappointedly been shortened.

Frustrated, I started my own surgery, on my boot liners.  With knife, duct tape, a pair of heel wedges called varus wedges (anti-pronation devices), and dense foam in hand, my boot liners now look like they have been thru their own surgery.  But the good news is, they are becoming more comfortable with every tweek I make.
An inward slant like mine often requires a shoe slip or orthotic under the inside of the heel to return the foot to a neutral pronation. Boots shells can be heat deformed or ground to make room for a bunion.  Boot soles and sole tops can be ground for correction of bowlegedness or if you are knock-kneed. 

            Your foot has to fit snug in your boot with no slop, and minimal heal lift.  You might just determine that you purchased the wrong size boot.  Take out your liner; place your foot in the shell with your toes as far forward as they can go.  If you can place more that two fingers between your heels and the inside face of the heal portion of the shell, you have too big a boot shell. You can’t correct this.  Sell them or discard them and chalk up the experience to being more educated and poorly fitted by your sales person.  Go to another shop and make an appointment when they won’t be busy.  Time is money for anyone in business.  They’ll be more apt to spend more time with you if the shop is not busy.

No one knows your feet and how they feel better than you.  If you have a boot problem, I suggest that you become educated about boots and your own feet.  Listen to your boot fitter.  Read.  Let your boot-fitter do his or her best.  And if you still need help, fine turn the work yourself.

Pronation is just one of many foot problems. Overpronation occurs when there is too much roll on the inside of the foot, consequently distributing the weight and shock of impact more heavily on the inside of the foot rather than evenly throughout the foot.

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