Hiking boots seem to be my “bug bear” right now. My old boots disintegrated. I had to buy new boots. My new boots felt great for 2 weeks. When I increased my backpack weight to 18 lbs my new boots started giving me trouble. (sigh!)
Half way though a practice hike, my Achilles tendons start to hurt. Not a blister kind of hurt, but a pressure kind of hurt. I tightened my boots. OUCH! I loosen my boots. OUCH! I limp home. (Why does this always happen at the farthest point from home?)
It pays to have patience and keep trying different solutions until you stumble on one that works. Murray and I figure out that maybe my feet are too low in the boots. Maybe my feet should be raised up so the inside contour of the boot hits my legs at a different point.
I take my boots to Sundance Ski Shop, Alex Messinis confirms our diagnosis. She outfits me with a pair of Superfeet footbeds that will raise my heel up. I am hopeful.
Next time I walk in my boots, the right heel does not hurt at all. YIPPEE! The left one still hurts. I fold up some cardboard and place it under the footbeds for more height. Not quite there yet. I borrow some heel lifts from Sundance and put those under the footbeds. My left Achilles doesn’t hurt but now there is a spot down by my ankle that hurts. One problem solved, now onto another one. I talk to my personal trainer Tracy Rollo, about what muscles run down beside my ankle and what would cause them to hurt. I go home with new ideas.
My ankle seems to want to move inward when I walk and the boot is not allowing this to happen. Murray and I try tipping my foot inside my boot, an idea I am not sure about, but try anyway. We try different combinations of footbeds, flat insoles, heel lifts. THEN I tie up my boots a slightly different way. You see, I watched YouTube videos the other day about boot tying to give me ideas on my boot issues. Well, I tried retying my left boot slightly different and WOW!!!! NO PAIN!!!! I take a short walk, with my backpack on, and STILL NO PAIN!!!
The right boot has the multiple crossover tie on the 5th crossover up whereas the left boot has it on the 4th one up. The tops of the boots are tied up slightly differently also.
So what happened was that I was tying my boots too tight around my ankle, not allowing my ankle to move the way it wanted to. The alternate tie method loosened the boot around my ankle so that it quit hurting. My heel moves a bit in my boot, but that is minor compared to the pain. I can work on getting just the right tightness to stop my heel moving, while making sure there is no ankle pain.
I’m going for a hike!