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Forum Index -> Gear Talk -> Hiking boot pain in the ball of the foot....
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Chris-mbhc
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Joined: 23 May 2010
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Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:04 pm   
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I need a gear-mod and figured you guys are the ones to ask!!

I have a pair of REI Spirit III GTX hiking boots.  They're full leather, gortex and built solid.  I've had them over a year and have broken them in as instructed by Mr.REI  Problem is after a couple miles the balls of my feet start hurting....after more miles I'm in serious pain.  I don't have this problem in any other shoe/boot.  I just bought some green Superfeet and found they have less cushioning (in the balls of the feet) then the stock insoles.  I was thinking of buying some cheapo insoles, cutting them in half and sticking them under the stock insoles in the fore-foot area.  Problem is....I still need to put my feet in there and space is gettin tight.

So before I spend more money trying out different setups, I was hoping someone would have had the same problem and found a solution....

Any advice would be appreciated!!!

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JennieEl
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Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:10 pm   
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It may not be just the boots, even if you currently aren't having trouble with other footwear.  I have had a similar problem for years and it started (apparently) with a new set of boots, although they weren't the cause.  You may have an early Morton's neuroma, which is a swelling of a nerve in the foot.  I also had problems with pain there because of very tight heel/calf tendons that affected how I walked.  It wouldn't hurt to talk this over with your doctor, possibly see a podiatrist.  I brushed it off until I could no longer hike even short distances without pain, which may have set me up for the chronic problem I now have.
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Kat
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Joined: 05 Oct 2003
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Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:28 pm   
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The best thing probably is to see a foot dr.  However, I of course did not do that - had a permit for the Enchantments when I started to experience the pain you describe  when hiking.

I bought the softest, cushiest boots I could find (Salomon Extend) in one size larger than I normally wear, and added a 3/4 over-the-counter orthotic from Rite-Aid (Triad brand) on top of the existing cushy footbed (hence the one size larger.) The 3/4 insert allowed my toes to hang over the edge, somehow providing more relief for the ball of the foot.

So, I was able to make it up Aasgard out Snow (1 overnight) wearing those boots, and a full season of hiking in them - with a more quiet winter - fixed my problem and I went back to my regular boots.

I did go see a podiatrist about midway thru all this and he said if that worked for me, I should continue with my program.  He did recommend wearing "stability" shoes for daytime non-hiking use, which I finally did a year later as a precaution.  Problem has not re-occured.
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Conrad
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Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:34 pm   
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I also thought "Morton's neuroma" when I read the post. I'm no expert and I don't want to diagnose, but it won't hurt to read a bit about Morton's neuroma and you can get foot pads for it w/o an Rx, no harm trying.
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Magellan
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Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:57 pm   
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Tight calves can lead to all kinds of foot issues.  See someone before it gets worse.
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Chris-mbhc
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Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:08 pm   
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Thanks for the input.  I started researching Morton's Neuroma and from my completely unprofessional opinion, I don't think that's what I'm experiencing.  I don't have any swelling (except for after extended hiking trips), I don't experience any pain other than when I wear the boots, I work out everyday so pounding from running, hiking, and aerobics would make the symptoms of Morton's an every day occurance.  I'm not ruling it out...just putting it on the back burner.

Thanks for the advice, I knew you guys would have good thoughts!!

Gonna try some super gel inserts and other combinations tomorrow at Chuckanut...let you know if I found a cure.

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Conrad
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Post Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:54 pm   
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I'm still not going to claim you have Morton's, but none of your reasons make me think you don't. I never had swelling, and I don't remember that you need swelling to indicate Morton's. I never had pain except while wearing particular shoes, because (I surmise) those shoes squoze the nerve. And I ran often, but only had symptoms when hiking in "those" boots.

BTW, even cheaper than a foot pad, and perhaps just as helpful, was when I learned to unlace the bottom few eyelets to give the wide part of my foot more flex room.
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JennieEl
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Post Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:19 pm   
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You won't have visible swelling with Morton's.  The swelling is in a nerve that runs between bones in the foot, and some of the pain is from compression of the nerve.  At times you may have a feeling that you are standing on something hard or have a marble embedded there, but not always. As Conrad says, the discomfort can be dependent on your footwear, or other factors that may not be obvious.  For many years I had pain only when hiking, and numbness when using the elliptical at the gym.
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Chris-mbhc
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Post Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:31 pm   
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Just wanted to give you an update.....I went and bought 2 pairs of sport gel inserts.  I cut the toe box area off one pair and placed it under the full gel insole.  That way the toe has 2 layers of gel.  Of course I had to loosen my laces because the toes were gettin' kinda snug.  Anyways, went for 8 miles at Chuckanut today with a mix of hiking and jogging. Yes, jogging in my boots...I wanted to beat the hell out of my feet to see if my setup worked.  Guess what? No pain.  I figured I'd head out and get some elevation this weekend to make sure everything is working fine.

Thanks for your input and steering me in the right direction.  Also, thanks for pointing out Morten's neuroma.  Something for me to be aware of and keep an eye out for.

-Chris

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Kieran
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Post Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:07 pm   
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So, this sounds somewhat like something I was suffering from, called sesamoiditis. If you continue to have problems, look it up and see what you can do. Essentially, the heel is elevated too high, so lifting the balls of your feet with inserts would help. But if this is what you got, understanding it will help with future shoe selection.
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Burke M
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Joined: 09 Sep 2010
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Post Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:12 pm   
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I get pain like this and I always joke that its my gout acting up. I kinda wonder if I have something like this sesamoiditidis. Its never bad enough that I cant tolerate it but when it bothers me I tend to walk with my toys scrunched up in my boot to take pressure off the joint behind my big toe.
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