Causes of pain ahead of heel on outside of foot? New Zamberlans

TurboSportTSi

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Lewistown, MT
Hi All,

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on a boot fitment issue I am having with a new pair of Zamberlan Smilodons. I don't want to be one of those guys who sticks with a boot that doesn't fit, but I am not an easy fit (wide forefoot, narrow heel) and I feel like the overall shape and size of the boot is great. This seems like it may be a solvable problem as it appears to be footbed related.

The issue is that I get pain just ahead of my heel on the outside of my foot, one more than the other, but on both feet. Enough that I want to limp after about a half mile, particularly downhill. I have never had this issue with any other boot or shoe. I researched it a little and it seems that Zamberlans are designed to support the rear of the metatarsals from collapsing under heavy load or something along those lines. Superfeet green apparently have a similar feeling. Almost like the arch is too far back, but in my case, it's mainly the outside of the foot that feels it the most. Looking at pics of foot anatomy, it's basically where the peroneus longus starts to wrap under the foot. Doesn't seem like a plantar fascia issue to me.

I figured I would let the boots break in and, at the same time, let my feet break in to the boots before I did anything rash. I walked around the neighborhood with the family for a couple weeks, then started using them for pack walks early in the morning with a ~40ish pound load. They did seem to not hurt as bad after a few weeks, so I thought I was on the right path. Well, life happened and I took 4-6 weeks off. I went on a pack walk this AM and I'll be damned if they didn't hurt just as bad as they did the very first time!

Prior to this, after the first few weeks of no real progress, I did what I never do and consulted an "expert" - I went to my local running shop with my hunting boots and got fitted for insoles. I heard great things about Superfeet green but wanted to get a pro's opinion before randomly buying insole after insole. They put me in a set of CURREX RunPros, which didn't feel too different than the Superfeet green but did feel better to me in the store. Superfeet blue felt terrible, for the record. I don't think the new insoles made a whole lot of difference over the stock insoles - they are more comfortable overall but the local pain is about the same.

Removing the factory insoles tells me this is built into the boot and not the factory insoles. The thing is, my CURREX insoles are articulated, with a piece of plastic only to reinforce the arch, whereas the Superfeet have a huge plastic tray that goes from the back of the heel to just before the ball of the foot, ostensibly to help stabilize that whole region. I can't help but think the hard plastic support "frame" would help "smooth" the front-of-heel support in the boot, but I don't want to start a collection of $50 insoles and I have a feeling this would decrease the available volume in the boot...not ideal for a cold weather boot.

So far, I've got about 5 or so trail miles, 5 or so unloaded street miles, and probably 20 loaded miles on these boots. The fact that it got better with regular use (and gets better with mileage past that 0.5-1 mi mark) and worse after some time apart tells me that I my feet may be able to stay broken in with regular use, but is that really the right answer? Anyone have any idea what I could try next? Moleskin under the insole just before and after the support ridge? Should I move on and find something else? Any foot nerds willing to take a stab at this? :) I'd appreciate any feedback.


-Chris

Right before I posted this, I looked a bit closer at an anatomy picture and noticed the Sural nerve. Man, that looks like it could definitely be the source of my pain. Wouldn't I have felt this before? Not new to hiking & mountain hunting and am a former Marine, so I've walked & run many miles in boots and running shoes alike and never had anything like this problem before.
 
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TurboSportTSi

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Messages
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Lewistown, MT
Here's the pic I found showing the nerve.

Foot Anatomy.jpg


And interesting info in an article I found:

Injury to the sural nerve is uncommon, and it is not often reported as a cause of exercise-related leg pain. A few possible aetiologies of sural nerve injuries exist(23-37). These include:

  1. Compression of the nerve
    1. Crural fascia
    2. Mass lesions such as a Bakers Cyst or myositis ossificans at the level of gastrocnemius aponeurosis
    3. Scar tissue
      • Beneath the deep fascia of the gastrocnemius
      • Peroneal nerve sheath degeneration
      • Achilles Paratendinitis
    4. Ganglions and lipomas
    5. Extrinsic causes such as ski boots, heel straps, casts and tightly laced boots.
 

sneaky

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Have you tried any different lacing techniques before you delve into different boots or more insoles? Or have the boot stretched in that spot. I'd give Lathrop&Sons a call and see what they say about it.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 

doverpack12

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Try laying on your back legs laying flat and then lift one up and hold as vertical as you can with your toes pulled toward your shin, you can use your hands to help hold or pull it up behind your knee. Then rock your foot side to side, if its adhesions or tight muscles in the calf or leg you will feel a pull or burn or pain in the same spot you are sore.

I had a similar pain or pressure in the same spot when I first tried Solomon 4D boots. I have worn Solomon 3D for a long time but at that point had a pair of Saucony and a pair of Brooks running shoes I was alternating between daily and neither of those had a support in that area like the Solomon so I got pressure when I wore them for a little while. Some foot exercises or daily wear shoes/boots that offer a little more support might fix this as well.
 
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TurboSportTSi

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Have you tried any different lacing techniques before you delve into different boots or more insoles? Or have the boot stretched in that spot. I'd give Lathrop&Sons a call and see what they say about it.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

Yes - good point. I forgot to mention that I have tried actually using the lace locks, which was a first for me. I believe my old pair of Meindl's had them too but I didn't know what they were at the time. I did try to keep the boot laced up a little less over my foot (below the lace locks) and tight around my ankle/lower leg. It was effective at changing and maintaining the lace pressure but did not really change my problem.

Maybe I will try going even looser than I did before. Stopping and unlacing the boots does make the pain go away, and I do wear thick socks with them (winter boots, after all), so maybe I can loosen the laces a bit and have it not be too sloppy.

As far as having them stretched, it really seems like it is in the footbed and not the upper, so I'm not sure how much that area can be changed. Maybe stretching the upper right above the spot will give my foot a bit more room and decrease overall pressure...I will keep that in mind.

EDIT: I should add that I did a few outings with them while wearing 2 pair of socks to make sure they weren't too tight. Maybe I should try that a few more times and see if they loosen up. They are pretty stiff boots, so I was prepared for a lengthy break-in, but they don't seem to have broken in much.


Try laying on your back legs laying flat and then lift one up and hold as vertical as you can with your toes pulled toward your shin, you can use your hands to help hold or pull it up behind your knee. Then rock your foot side to side, if its adhesions or tight muscles in the calf or leg you will feel a pull or burn or pain in the same spot you are sore.

I had a similar pain or pressure in the same spot when I first tried Solomon 4D boots. I have worn Solomon 3D for a long time but at that point had a pair of Saucony and a pair of Brooks running shoes I was alternating between daily and neither of those had a support in that area like the Solomon so I got pressure when I wore them for a little while. Some foot exercises or daily wear shoes/boots that offer a little more support might fix this as well.

Interesting. Thanks for the tip there. I did as you said and can't say that I felt anything in my foot. Tried both sides, just to see the difference. Maybe that's one thing ruled out?

Did the 4Ds ever wind up working for you or did you have to go another way?

I suppose some exercises might help, depending on what the issue is. I have tried the frozen golf ball stretch but since it really doesn't seem to be plantar fasciitis, I didn't feel any benefit so I stopped doing that. Not fun if you're doing it right!

I had considered getting a pair of superfeet green to wear daily just because of the support in front of the heel, in the hope that it would support my foot similar to how the boots do. Maybe it wouldn't be such an abrupt transition.


-Chris
 

doverpack12

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Yes - good point. I forgot to mention that I have tried actually using the lace locks, which was a first for me. I believe my old pair of Meindl's had them too but I didn't know what they were at the time. I did try to keep the boot laced up a little less over my foot (below the lace locks) and tight around my ankle/lower leg. It was effective at changing and maintaining the lace pressure but did not really change my problem.

Maybe I will try going even looser than I did before. Stopping and unlacing the boots does make the pain go away, and I do wear thick socks with them (winter boots, after all), so maybe I can loosen the laces a bit and have it not be too sloppy.

As far as having them stretched, it really seems like it is in the footbed and not the upper, so I'm not sure how much that area can be changed. Maybe stretching the upper right above the spot will give my foot a bit more room and decrease overall pressure...I will keep that in mind.

EDIT: I should add that I did a few outings with them while wearing 2 pair of socks to make sure they weren't too tight. Maybe I should try that a few more times and see if they loosen up. They are pretty stiff boots, so I was prepared for a lengthy break-in, but they don't seem to have broken in much.




Interesting. Thanks for the tip there. I did as you said and can't say that I felt anything in my foot. Tried both sides, just to see the difference. Maybe that's one thing ruled out?

Did the 4Ds ever wind up working for you or did you have to go another way?

I suppose some exercises might help, depending on what the issue is. I have tried the frozen golf ball stretch but since it really doesn't seem to be plantar fasciitis, I didn't feel any benefit so I stopped doing that. Not fun if you're doing it right!

I had considered getting a pair of superfeet green to wear daily just because of the support in front of the heel, in the hope that it would support my foot similar to how the boots do. Maybe it wouldn't be such an abrupt transition.


-Chris

yeah I’m now almost through my second pair and thousands of miles between the two pairs. Went back to wearing Salomon 3D too because they support my foot better than runners do
 
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TurboSportTSi

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Good thought, but the spot is more on the bottom of the foot than the actual side, so I believe the rand would not come into play, although I suppose I don't really know where the lower edge of the rand terminates.

On second thought, the rand doesn't extend that far back. Here's a pic of the boot for reference.

Smilodon.jpg
 

nphunter

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Oregon
Have you tried wearing them without insoles? Pretty quick and easy way to see if it’s related to that. I cannot wear insoles with any kind of arch support in my boots. If I wear a really flexible boot i have a lot of foot fatigue as well. I’m currently wearing a stiff boot with just a flat cushion insole and have great luck and can put on over 10 miles with a heavy pack with zero foot issues.
I walk on the outside of my feet and that’s where my soles always wear out on shoes and boots first.
 
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