During ski season, forefoot numbness due to tight fitting boots is a common problem. Due to the hard outer shell, patients find it difficult to determine proper fit. In addition, ski boot shops typically fit boots too snug, which directly contributes to the problem.
An easy way to help your patients better understand fit is to have them bring in their ski boot inner liner and footbed. First remove the footbed and have the patient place his or her foot on it. If the patient’s toes extend beyond the footbed, plain and simple, the boot is too short.
The photo on the left shows a patient standing on his ski boot footbed. Based on the insole wear pattern, his heel rests forward in the boot by one-half inch. As you can see, his foot almost entirely covers the footbed, both in length and width. When he saw this, he immediately understood the boot was too short and used this information to purchase a new, longer boot. Not surprisingly, his forefoot numbness resolved.