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ankle dorsiflexion impairment and skiing performance

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

So here's the question: how much does the degree of dorsiflexion influence performance and what can be done to work around it?

In my specific case the left ankle has pretty much 0 degrees active and about 5 passive while the right one is within normal values. I often feel like i cannot put the same pressure on the left ski and it's harder to control it. I have tried to ski with the flex on the left foot lower than what i would normally use but i cannot really tell if it is making a difference or if i'm just "feeling it' that way.

Is that even a reasonable thing to try? are there any other options? 


post #2 of 9



"So here's the question: how much does the degree of dorsiflexion influence performance "


The answer: A whole bunch!


First: How much forward lean does your set of boots have?  What is the boot board angle, (heel to toe differential) of your boots?


Next:    Place a carpenters square, upright behind the heel of your boots and measure to the liner at top of the shell. Now, simulate the boot board angle first then, stack books up under the heels of your feet,(this will tilt your knee forward) until your calf is far enough forward (at boot top elevation), (equal to the forward lean measurement of the boots) this will allow you to stand in your boots without your left heel being pulled up.  This measurement is how much heel lift you would need inside both your boots to try to even out your turns somewhat (get them symmetrical).  Question is-----Is there enough instep height in your boots to allow this much heel height adjustment?  


By the way: You need stiff boots, not soft. 


and-----"You need a boot fitter".



post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

thank you!

i've always wondered about it and now i know!
i'm skiing a pair of dalbello SR150 scorpion so i can change the ramp angle by changing the inserts. i will have a boot fitter check it this weekend because it's not something i wanna play with myself.


post #4 of 9



I ski that same boot and love it!


Agree with Miketsc above.  You should also remove any spoiler shim behind your calves.  This will also help to open the ankle joint which is the goal with limited dorsi flexion.  If your boot board, with the steeper ramp angle, needs a bit more angle, it can be easily sanded with a belt sander to increase the angle more without tightening up the instep area.  If doing this you may need to add a bit of padding above the toes and forefoot area to eliminate excess play?


The last parameter to consider in your fore/aft balance scenario is the binding delta angle which is created by the "stand height differential" or the difference in height from the toe piece and the heel piece which creates an angle under your boot soles.  Changing this by as little as a couple millimeters can make a very noticeable improvement in your fore/aft balance and stance.  But address the dorsiflexion issues first before experimenting with delta!


good luck!

Edited by bud heishman - 4/1/12 at 7:36pm
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

I switched to the lower angle ramp witch made the boot feel more comfortable (boots are about 1.5 sizes smaller so the are pretty snug) but also less aggressive, and like if i was sitting back a bit.  talking with the bootfiitter we decided to try a neutral alignment (knees in line with the centerline of the boot) and a 3 mm raise.

free skiing feels pretty good i've actually had some of the best right turns in a long time (left ankle is the one with limited ROM) but i'm still slightly knock-kneed.

i'll post some pics later on.

@bud wouldn't removing the spoiler create to much room or play? are you suggesting to do this only on the left ankle or both?

@miketsc how do you measure the boot board angle?

post #6 of 9

your quote,-------"i can change the ramp angle by changing the inserts."


The specs on your boots bootboards should be available through your local dealer,

although I dint think the angle much matters if you are going to try to move your knee forward by lifting your heels,

just lift them till you can stand in the boot without your heel pulling up.



post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

so boot board angle and ramp angle are the same measurement? 

(i'm sorry i really don't know much about boots)

post #8 of 9



Yes, boot board and ramp angle are pretty synonymous.  Your actual ramp angle is the sum of the angle created by your boot board (or zeppa) and your footbed (ie: the thickness under your met heads in relation to the thickness under your heels).  


I measure boot board angles with a digital level placed inside the boot on a flat surface.


removing the spoiler(s) will open the ankle more and stand you up taller.  This should not cause any slop as the power strap and buckles will close the gap.  Consequently, making these adjustments to the ramp and forward lean may necessitate increasing your delta angle a couple millimeters to get your knees to plumb over your toes more (a good static starting point).


Here's a pointer you should also try.  Before latching the top two buckles on your cuff , wrap your power strap around just the liner and tongue pulling your leg back against the boot spine, then wrap the upper cuff plastic over the top of the power strap and buckle as normal.  You will notice a more positive energy transmission from shovel to tail without any gapping or lag time.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you,

I'll try skiing without the spoilers this weekend, i'll also go back to the bootfitter and work on balance/ramp angle/heel lift.


I'll post results later next week.



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