Hey all. I've seen somewhat similar posts about this but wanted to ask very specifically so bear with me.
I've been boarding for a few years now but this season's the first that I've really been able to get up often, and get my technique down. This year I finally got around to buying a decent board (Never Summer F1 Premiere - amazing) and switched from the Flow bindings I started with to some newer, standard bindings that give me much better control. The one constant has been my Ride brand boots.
When I'm riding I find that for the first couple of hours the achilles tendon on my front foot hurts like a god damn, especially when I'm riding toe-side or traversing. I try to stretch before hand but though this tends to help with other minor cramps and aches it does little for my tendon. I think it's because my heal is coming up a bit too much in my boot. The way the boot tightens, it doesn't seem to snug against the front, top of my ankle enough to stop my foot from moving around. If I just tighten the hell out of them, it just squeezes my foot from side to side and adds a bunch of cramping without really helping my problem.
I've tried putting in my insoles that I put in some shoes (mainly to fill in bigger shoes, as I have pretty normal feet) but that just kind of makes less room in general and doesn't help a ton, either.
Anyway, I think it's time for more boots. I just wanted to ask, is this common? Is it likely being caused by what I think? Are there any stretches or techniques to minimize the pain at all? It's without doubt the biggest hindrance I have to my riding. I got a pass to whistler next year and really want to get the most out of it... :o
I'm not sure I can give you a definitive answer; not sure anyone can without a lot more details. Even then, it would be difficult. So many things you could check/tweak. Off the top of my head, here's a bunch of stuff to think about.
The tendon pain is likely related to heel lift as you describe. Your equipment isn't supporting all the force; your joints/tendons are probably straining to compensate for that. Two things to think about with regards to this:
If it is more issue #2 above, then you need different boots to fit your new bindings. Take your bindings to the store and try them on with new boots to make sure they fit very snuggly. Different boots fit differently with each brand/type of binding. You should take your bindings anyway to insure they fit well with the new boots.
I do not think it is the board. Never Summer makes great stuff, and rarely is a board the cause of pain. I suppose a really poorly made board could, but that is not the issue here.
Your new board might be stiffer/softer, and exaggerate the a heel lift that was there previously. A stiffer/softer board may have compensated for poorly fitting equipment.
Your Flow bindings may have previously been compensating for not so good fitting boots. They've got that big wide front strap that might have kept the whole lot down more (I don't know). Just thinking about things that would have made your experience worse now vs then.
Bindings & Setup:
High back angle might be set too far forward or too far back. They might be much stiffer/softer than the Flows, which may require a different set up. Is the high back aligned parallel to the edge of your board? Could have something to do with that.
Do you need to switch your stance? You've got some new equipment, and for you, maybe it rides better in a different configuration. Wider/narrower foot placement. Different set up angles for the bindings on the board. Perhaps your straps aren't properly aligned. etc.
Maybe a different angle foot bed would help. Check out the Ride Angled Wedgie to see what I'm talking about.
You've tried heel inserts. Have they been flat? Maybe you need a slightly raised heel or the opposite(I don't know)
Going out more often means you often have more wear and tear on your body. Perhaps you tweaked the tendon once, and you haven't allowed it to heal?
Perhaps your technique may have changed do to increased time on the slopes and relative improvement? Maybe a bad habit or two creeped in, though overall you are still much better. Unsure obviously.
If you are straining your tendon, then stretching isn't really going to help. To rehab it, you might want to do some light stretching to insure you keep it loose. But if you are pulling on it hard for long periods every time out, all the pre game stretching in the world won't help.
Just to clarify, it's always given me pain. In fact, the old bindings were worse, if anything. It's definitely number one, the heel in the boot. My bindings pin the boot down nicely. I can improve it slightly by tightening the shit out of my top binding strap, basically crushing my foot, but of course that only helps slightly, and that's not exactly an elegant solution...
What size are your boots? How did you size your foot before deciding on the Rides?
Sounds like your seasons over, but you may want to try some boot fitting pads to lock your heel down and see if that helps. If you're dead set on trashing the Rides, you should put some careful thought into selecting new boots based on the type of riding you're going to do and more importantly, fit.
Quick question for the OP....after you're done riding and pull your foot out of your boot, is your tendon really stiff? I mean stiff enough that it's hard to lower your heel to the ground?
I had the exact problem with my achilles tendon on my front foot several years ago. It was so bad that it actually caused me to stop riding for a few years and only ride when I went on bigger trips. Even then, I could only ride one day and was in too much pain the next day.
Anyway, I did find that stretching and taking advil before riding did help. However, what ultimately caused the problem to go away all together was buying new bindings and new boots.
I first bought new bindings and the problem was reduced quite a bit. Then, I bought new boots and haven't had the problem since (except for a few times when I experement with binding angles and forward lean). I now ride more often than ever before and can ride multiple days in a row without having the problem. I assume the increased support with much better bindings and boots solved the problem for me.
My guess is getting new boots that fit really well will help a ton, if not solve your problem altogether.
Not really stiff like that... the pain subsides pretty quickly after I take them off... Advil's definitely helped in the past though.
Season's not quite over, yet. I'll be trying to get another 5 or 6 days at Blackcomb... What are fitting pads?
Tognar Ski and Snowboard Boot Fitting Tools, Insoles, Footbeds and Inserts
Scroll down to Narrowing Pads. I doubt its the boots lack of tech that give you your heel lift. Even if you didn't pick the perfect boot, you should be able to make it manageable with some pads and maybe a different lacing technique. At worst, trying to fix your current boot will help you learn about your foot's idiosyncrasies.
I may be missing something but did you go buy a new board and bindings but are still riding same old boots?
Sounds to me like your boots aren't doing their job, i.e holding and supporting your foot like they should.
Crap boots can lead to a world of shit pain-wise... just a thought. Its been beaten round here plenty but good/great boots are the most important thing you can own.
^ You bring up a good point. OP, what Ride boots do you have? How old? How many days on them? I was kinda assuming that these were worth trying to salvage. I think its wasteful when my friends have 30 days on two year old gear and decide they need brand new stuff, but if you're riding bargain basement Rides, then a new pair might be better use of your time and money.
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