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Barf-level ankle tendon pain, snowHeads ski forum
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Barf-level ankle tendon pain

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hey all,

So this is actually an update on my post yesterday in "Bend Ze Knees" as a beginner in Meribel, but I was having trouble adding to those messages so I'm reposting here.

Several lovely snowheads suggested, among other things, that I try new boots. But, thanks to the schedules of things, I wasn't able to go to the rental shop before my next lesson, so I chose to go to the lesson, since I had not moved since the previous one and was well rested and stretched and hydrated. We took Pas Du Lac up, and immediately started down the easy blue cat trail between the Pas Du Lac and Saulire midpoints.

Immediately I was in so much ankle tendon pain that it was unbearable. You know those pain charts they give you in [American, at least] hospitals? Mine was a 10. I used every other muscle in my body to try to control my speed in snowplow (since I can't parallel yet and it's a very narrow trail) without using my ankles/feet. I somehow managed to make it to Saulier to download, but the instructor did not understand and was trying to tell me how to get back using Tougnete, etc. I said no, I need to get off my skis IMMEDIATLEY and then just had to go over to the Saulier lift and shout Bonne chance/au revoir to the group over my shoulder. I went into the WC there and barfed, that's how bad it was.

I think I was in shock, and it lasted several hours. I got the navette from la Chaudanne back up to Le Hameau where I am staying, and immediately went to the rental shop. I tried on all the boots (which, since I'd booked the cheapskate option, I didn't even think I'd have a choice of boots, aside from sizes, which I'd already changed) -- and found a pair that felt so different, and so much better. No surprise, they were the same brand I'd used back home, without even realizing it (I emailed my home mountain to ask which brand they rent, it's a small place and they only carry one boot). Honestly, if that home mountain had used a different boot, I would hate skiing and wouldn't be able to do it. As it was, I had no idea why I was able to ski blues (same or harder than here) there but not here in Meribel. Now I know...I think.

HOWEVER, the reason I am sitting here in my room typing this is that I am scared to go out again. I never had any pain walking or in the previous boots. It was ONLY as soon as I started downhill on the skis. Even though these new boots feel a lot better, I'm pretty terrified at this point that the pain will start up again (since it's not like the last boots felt bad, per se, until I was on skis. I just didn't know what "better" felt like, because I'm inexperienced). Thanks to the heat this week, it's a bit harder to find an easy green that I could safely test this out on, without being stuck mid-hill or in an undownloadable position.

I'm also wondering if the intense pain that I felt earlier today out on the piste means that I've permanently injured myself? I don't feel pain walking, but I am one of those people who was raised an athlete and can maybe ignore things without realizing it.... It's pain I've felt to various degrees (5-10 on the pain scale) throughout the past 10 days, and sometimes, like Monday, it does go away after an hour or two.

Any [continued] advice would be much appreciated. Little Angel Little Angel Little Angel
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@cametumbling, sorry to hear that you're still struggling. Can you be a bit more specific about where the pain is? Which part(s) of your foot? Any particular movements that make it worse? Only there in ski boots (whilst skiing) or also afterwards in normal shoes/barefoot?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@cametumbling, Can you get it checked out at a medical centre?

It's a very long time since I was in Mottaret, so I can't remember the piste layout - but is there any way of getting a Lift, or a Navette, to a short, easy run....that if things don't work out, you can get back to where you are staying, without further skiing. From what you are saying, the pain starts fairly instantly, as soon as you start skiing - so feedback will be quick.

I do seem to remember a Green Path, near the "Poubelle" lift, that takes you from Mottaret to Meribel....and you can get the Poubelle lift up again. I did this with my Daughter when she was about 4 (26 years ago!), so it may not even exist now.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Wed 13-04-22 12:05; edited 3 times in total
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Go out - find a gently sloping patch of snow - ski about 10 m - take your skis off and walk up again. You'll be within walking distance of home so no anxiety about being in pain for ages etc. It's really better to know rather than be unnecessarily anxious.

(I've driven up to a resort, put my boots on and said "nope toe pain is too bad" and had to bin the rest of the weekend in the past)
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Thanks @mgrolf. It is a bit difficult to say where the pain is, as it really is only whilst in the skis. But, I'm pretty sure that it is running up the outside of my legs from the ankle. From googling, this seems to be the peroneal tendon.

I can walk fine. Normally I do not feel it all afterwards. I think this morning, even though it was probably only 10 minutes, was so bad that now I do still feel them both. They are tingly, but not particularly hot to the touch. When I palpate (?) them, they feel like they need to be foam rolled, I guess you could say, but that's all. I finally do have some pain on the bottom of my right foot, in the middle. Yesterday I felt like I was trying to grip the mountain just with my feet, so it makes sense that they were massively overworked.

It's taking me a bit of time to figure out what to say about movements, due to the fact that the pain subsided Monday and I skied all day. I think this may have been a false "okay" and that I may have been causing myself future pain by skiing on.

What I do know is that:
1. My first skiing day, a week ago Monday, I went down the easiest green run and the pain was immediate and so intense I barely made it down.
2. I exchanged those boots for a half-size larger, and fastened them loosely. The pain was a bit better, although as you can imagine I had very little control over the ski. I skied a tiny bit a week ago Tuesday, gave up for 3 days, then a tiny bit Saturday, and decided to do lessons.
3. My first lesson, Sunday, I had all the pain. I leaned into it on the magic carpet, and maybe this stretched it out so I was able to make it through my lesson. But it was still horrific, and I kept trying to lean every which way when we were stopped to try to get pressure of it, even lifting my ski off the ground helped by changing the position.
4. My second lesson, Monday, again the magic carpet may have helped. Halfway through the lesson, the instructor fastened my boots properly, because by then the rest of my foot was also in extreme pain. I finally felt control and was able to ski better, and the tendon pain had subsided at the time he tightened the boots. I was finally able to ski enough to feel like "normal", with my quads and hamstrings and glutes engaging. I kept track of where the boots were tightened to, and have made sure to tighten them that way each time since, but it hasn't helped.
5. Yesterday, Tuesday, we skipped the magic carpet and started straight down a steeper green, then onto the sloshy blue. I was in extreme pain but just survived, I was also terrified of the steepness. I decided to rest for the remainder of the day.
6. Today I made sure to stretch and move around in the morning. I didn't tighten my boots until it was time to set off. But it didn't matter, the pain was immediately insane.

At first I thought it might be caused by jet lag and traveling. But I've been in France almost two weeks now, and I've been walking around a decent amount, same as back home, and am generally pretty flexible (a key issue with the boots before the instructor tightened them was that I felt I could just lean forward all the way to the ground).

So, as before, I do now have better boots but am scared to try them. I think it must be the boots and not me. But it's nuts to me that boots could leave someone in this much pain, from the very first moment. (And yes it's nuts that I'm such an idiot and ignored it, from the first moment to the last -- but hey, raised an athlete, push through the pain! Sigh.)
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@Old Fartbag, I hate going to the doctor, but maybe I should. I see there's one in Mottaret, I'll go down and enquire.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Dave of the Marmottes, yeah that's a good point, I'll give that a shot. I'm massively overthinking. Because I WANT TO SKIIIIII!!!! lol Smile
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
cametumbling wrote:
@Old Fartbag, I hate going to the doctor, but maybe I should. I see there's one in Mottaret, I'll go down and enquire.

When we were there, I think it was a Dr. Smash. Toofy Grin

We discovered this when my Mother in Law had an allergic reaction to sun cream, so her face swelled up like a red football.
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@cametumbling, I'm not an expert on muscular pain etc, but I suspect you have been struggling with boots that are too big (and perhaps not done up properly as well). If your feet are slipping around then you will likely be putting all sorts of unusual stresses and forces on your ankles and legs. You've also mentioned trying to grip the boot with your foot, which doesn't help (but is a very natural reaction when it feels like you can't control your skis).

So, if you now have boots that fit better, there's a good chance that you won't get so much pain.

One final thought - are you warming up before putting your boots on and going skiing? Well worth doing.
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Thanks @mgrolf, I appreciate your assessment. I am doing some stretching (calves, glutes, quads, hamstrings), and walking a bit. Do you have further suggestions?
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Old Fartbag, noooooo Laughing Laughing Laughing omg. Everything about that is terrible Laughing
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Old Fartbag wrote:
We discovered this when my Mother in Law had an allergic reaction to sun cream, so her face swelled up like a red football.


Sorry for the thread drift, but there is a Les Dawson joke trying to match up with that phrase somewhere.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Gilberts Fridge wrote:
Old Fartbag wrote:
We discovered this when my Mother in Law had an allergic reaction to sun cream, so her face swelled up like a red football.


Sorry for the thread drift, but there is a Les Dawson joke trying to match up with that phrase somewhere.

It was a living cliché.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
You could try this - I'm not a doc but suffer from achilles pain regularly.

Hot and cold "bath" - get an ice pack and a heat pack. 1 min cold on the affected area. 1 min hot. Repeat 7 or 8 times. Do twice daily. You could use a bag of snow and a hot water bottle.

Prod the rest of your leg, upper and lower - is there any muscle pain elsewhere that is only obvious when you prod it? If so, slowly and deeply massage that spot.

And of course good old Vitamin I

(Ibuprofen)
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@ChrisKernow, thanks for the prod Chris, I need to do this. The ice especially helped back when I had plantar fasciitis. I'll go grab some snow. Also, free massages should really be a thing.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@cametumbling, I am not clear if you have pain (identical) in both legs, or just one? The former would perhaps indicate more of a boot / stance issue, whereas the latter might suggest an injury.

A few other possibilities:
- Are your legs straight? Very Happy If you are a bit knock-kneed or bow-legged (like me) that can put some strain on the ankle joint if your boots don't compensate with a cant adjustment (which most hire boots don't have).
- Not sure if you are male or female, but women sometimes have more pronounced calf muscles, and squashing them in ski boots can cause a lot of pain.
- Are your legs really really tense when skiing? Understandably you may be worried about the pain recurring, but something like that in itself might be contributing.

Hope you work something out.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@ecureuil, thank you for your comment...it's probably stupid, but I hadn't actually thought about the symmetry before. It *is* in both legs. Which is unusual for me, since I have some issues with my right knee so my problems are generally in my right leg/foot. I wish I'd thought of that before, it would have made me more confident that it was a boot issue and not a I'm-deformed issue. Thanks!

I'm female and yes, I do think that's also an issue in getting a good fit. The new boots I have feel a lot more secure. You're also right about the tension -- especially my first few days I felt like I didn't know how to ski anymore -- I think the issues were coming from the boots, but I was overcompensating in stiff ways that weren't helping.

I wasn't brave enough to go back out today...I listened to the still-tingly tendons...but I'm really, really hoping tomorrow will be awesome.
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