Damn foot - training without climbing?


Original Post
Chad Miller · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 0

So it looks like my 39 years finally caught up with me and I now have a nagging sesmoiditis in my right foot.  Basically the little bones on the ball of my big toe are angry.  Obviously this makes climbing rather painful and promotes poor footwork.  As such I'm going to embark on a month or so no climbing in hopes that this condition calms down.  My question is does anyone have recommendations for climbing training that don't evolve actual climbing or more importantly putting a lot of pressure on the balls of your feet?

I'm already doing the following:

Conditioning training - entire body leaning towards being climbing specific with a lot of core  (led by Rob Pizman):  2x a week

Hang-board training:  2x week

Elliptical:  1x week

Tom Stoltz 1 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 30

I would say campus, but dropping from the board might hurt the foot.  I think your plan looks pretty solid.  Maybe add some stretching or yoga. 

John Ryan · · Poncha Springs, CO · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 150

I think I have something similar. I would experiment with larger, more comfortable shoes, and a shoe with rigidity may take some pressure off of that part of the foot. I find that when I crank on the front point of my Solutions that the pain is worse, same with micro footholds. I have been trying to edge more when possible, even edging further down the shoe/foot than you normally would. My Miuras seem to have more of a hard rubber which for me protects the ball of the foot and results in less pain. 

Chad Miller · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 0

My pain is greater when doing inside edging. 

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 5
Chad Miller wrote:

I'm already doing the following:

Conditioning training - entire body leaning towards being climbing specific with a lot of core  (led by Rob Pizman):  2x a week

Hang-board training:  2x week

Elliptical:  1x week

The amount listed is plenty, and I wouldn't suggest adding any more than that. For someone new to hangboarding training, 2, or at most 3, days a week on the hangboarding, plus some general strength and conditioning, is a pretty ideal strength phase. Provided you are doing the hangboarding in a smart, progressive way, you'll finish the month stronger than you were when it started. It really doesn't take much volume to be effective.

I will reiterate- be careful about being over enthusiastic and jumping into excess training volume. It is easy to overdo it. You should feel like you aren't doing enough.

The one thing you should add is some PT for your foot. Don't just wait for it to get better, do something about it. You may wish to see a pro for guidance on that one, though.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 1,875
Chad Miller wrote:

So it looks like my 39 years finally caught up with me and I now have a nagging sesmoiditis in my right foot.  Basically the little bones on the ball of my big toe are angry.  Obviously this makes climbing rather painful and promotes poor footwork.  

I'm curious, how tight are your climbing shoes?  I shudder when I hear of folks who downsize 2 sizes from their street shoe size.  I always assumed there'd be long-term damage from that.

Chad Miller · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 0
JCM wrote:

The amount listed is plenty, and I wouldn't suggest adding any more than that. For someone new to hangboarding training, 2, or at most 3, days a week on the hangboarding, plus some general strength and conditioning, is a pretty ideal strength phase. Provided you are doing the hangboarding in a smart, progressive way, you'll finish the month stronger than you were when it started. It really doesn't take much volume to be effective.

I will reiterate- be careful about being over enthusiastic and jumping into excess training volume. It is easy to overdo it. You should feel like you aren't doing enough.

The one thing you should add is some PT for your foot. Don't just wait for it to get better, do something about it. You may wish to see a pro for guidance on that one, though.

Good advice. I'm doing a conservative hangboard routine , ten seconds on/ off, three sets, 3-4 grips. I'll be using a weight and pully system to assist as needed. 

What would you recomend in terms of progression?  

As for the sesmoiditis and PT. I was told by two seporate podiatrists that there really is no PT for this. I'll be some toe strengthening stuff but that's just to keep my foot in shape. 

Chad Miller · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 0
Gunkiemike wrote:

I'm curious, how tight are your climbing shoes?  I shudder when I hear of folks who downsize 2 sizes from their street shoe size.  I always assumed there'd be long-term damage from that.

I'm about a half to a full size down from my street shoe depending on the model. I have a wide , square toe box though. Currently I'm climbing in a Mura VS and Butora Ailtra Wide. 

Joshua1979 · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5

I have the same issue which I have made manageable by not climbing slab anymore (which is a shame) and also freezing bottles of water and rolling my foot on it when it flares up. Best of luck friend. I hope it's more acute for you and not chronic like I experience.

Chad Miller · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 0

I've had it for nine months now, I'm thinking it very well could be the end of my climbing. 

Stefan Figgley · · CA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 5

Obviously this isn't climbing specific, but swimming has been my life-savor during injury. In particular, I have plantar fasciitis in both feet that flares up so badly it hurts to stand/walk at all; I can empathize a little. The swimming at least keeps me conditioned. Couple that with some hang board sessions and you can keep pretty spry while you recover. 

Tom Stoltz 1 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 30
Chad Miller wrote:

I've had it for nine months now, I'm thinking it very well could be the end of my climbing. 

Stop climbing? Stop climbing?  Don't be a quitter.  Just cut off the foot!

Chad Miller · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 0

That's rather cool. However I'd probably just have the offensive bones removed before lopping off my foot.

Jason Eberhard · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 33

I've had similar issues with my big toe / ball on my right foot.  I've switched to a really stiff shoe (5.10 Stonelands), been mindful and slowed down when it flares up, and been rolling my feet out after climbing on one of these (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01F1L6YDO/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1).  That has allowed me to continue my regular routine (gym 2x week, outside once) without feeling like the problem is getting worse or I'm doing damage to my foot.  Hope it gets better for you; getting old is a bitch.

John Bigroom · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0

Hi,

Sorry to hear your feet issue. Been there and done that. Darn right toe!

Your training program looks ok. Just remember to rest enough. If you feel tired / exhausted / didn’t sleep well, then skip the training and just stretching/yoga.

Campusing is also good workout but with great caution! Very good warmup is important and quality over quantity attitude. Those 0-2-0 and similar trainings keep you pretty low.

http://cruxcrush.com/2014/09/15/how-to-train-on-the-campus-board/

I use now days half size smaller stiff climbing, shoes than my regular street shoes. Works for me in and out. Outside I often smearing the edges or try to use other toes than big one.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 234

My wife is too sensible to post on MP, but as a fellow sesamoid sufferer she wanted to offer her experience-

I have had sesamoiditis for years, and always suffered in climbing shoes.  It was only when I fractured my right sesamoid about 7 years ago that I got serious about treating this.  After about 6 weeks in a boot, I was fitted for custom orthotics and that has pretty much solved my problem.  I wear the orthotics in all shoes, every day, for all sports.  I never go barefoot.  For climbing, I have to make my own “custom” orthotics to fit into climbing shoes.  As folks have said here, more rigid shoes will feel best because you won't be able to flex that joint very much.   Here is a picture of my set up (made with Dr. Scholls foam inserts and super glue) which allows my sesamoids to drop into a depression thereby taking most of the pressure off that area:

 

Chad Miller · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 0

Thank you for the information!  

I have custom orthotics but they don't seem to help. My pain is on the side of my sesmoid 

Joshua1979 · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5
Chad Miller wrote:

I've had it for nine months now, I'm thinking it very well could be the end of my climbing. 

Climb steeps and there will obviously be less pressure on the toe. Not ideal but hopefully you can find a way to keep climbing. My favorite routes were vertical to slab tech climbs that were very footwork intensive. Unfortunately I can't climb that style that much or I pay dearly. It's forced me to climb steeper routes/problems and I've found a new appreciation for that. Gotta work with what you got. I have a friend with a similar prob that has had some dry needling done on his foot and has had moderate success. I'm considering trying it as well. Might be something to look into. Best of luck to you.

Chad Miller · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 0
Mark E Dixon wrote:

My wife is too sensible to post on MP, but as a fellow sesamoid sufferer she wanted to offer her experience-

I have had sesamoiditis for years, and always suffered in climbing shoes.  It was only when I fractured my right sesamoid about 7 years ago that I got serious about treating this.  After about 6 weeks in a boot, I was fitted for custom orthotics and that has pretty much solved my problem.  I wear the orthotics in all shoes, every day, for all sports.  I never go barefoot.  For climbing, I have to make my own “custom” orthotics to fit into climbing shoes.  As folks have said here, more rigid shoes will feel best because you won't be able to flex that joint very much.   Here is a picture of my set up (made with Dr. Scholls foam inserts and super glue) which allows my sesamoids to drop into a depression thereby taking most of the pressure off that area:

 

May I ask what make and model of shoes your wife prefers?

mario molina · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 0

My problem seems to be Plantar Faciitis, though it's never been officially diagnosed.

Cause? Drytooling with mono points in my garage gym, plus running stairs with leg weights probably didn't help.

What I've been thinking is that gear/ training has become too performance oriented vs. endurance, that in a sense, one needs to de-tune a bit.

Kind of like shifting from Formula 1 to LeMans, or one could consider why the keys on a keyboard on a computer/ type writer were purposely arranged the way they are; in a attempt to prevent carpal tunnel problems.

I've shifted to indoor drytooling with really stiff boots, and also just trying to use my foot more than just the big toe area; edging / heel.

I'm also looking at buying some older crampons, ones that you can adjust the front point more to the center: Petzl M10's.

I was using BD Raptors bolted on to some old Trangos, and also sadly looking at selling my G20s and Snaggletooths.

It's been 3 months, I've been wearing compression socks, taking NSAIDs, and slowly, damn ever so slowly it seems to be getting better.

I keep thinking that this could be a grand opportunity to, not only learn to climb smarter, but maybe redesign crampons/ froot boots.


Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 234
Chad Miller wrote:

May I ask what make and model of shoes your wife prefers?

Red Chili Sausolitos or Butora Mantras

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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