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Dangerously soft boots?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I finished my season the other day in the undignified position of passenger on a patrol toboggan. I suffered a significant tear of my left gastrocnemius, the big, meaty calf muscle, just as I completed my first, warmup run of the day: One minute I'm cruising in for a landing, the next I'm flat on my face with goggles full of snow and a really nasty pain in my lower leg. All I can think is that I zoned out a bit, caught an edge and went over the handlebars. Both bindings released, but not soon enough for save my left calf.

Here's my question: Could a stiffer boot have limited the stretching of that muscle and lessened or prevented the injury? I'm 64, but still at the advanced-beginner stage, so I was quite happy with my beginner-level boots. I was more into comfort than high performance, but now I wonder if I should upgrade from a 60 flex to 80 or 90. Or would that just turn the injury into a boot-top fracture or a blown-out knee? Or would it make no difference at all?

I plan to go into next season lighter and stronger, but I'm willing to upgrade my boots if that would help keep me on the slopes and off the couch.

post #2 of 10

I had a very similar injury in January of this season, partial tear in my right calf. I'm only now, about 8 weeks later able to put my full weight on it.

 

I was going for my first back flip and landed a little too far forward with my weight. I fell towards the tips of my skis and felt my calf *pop*. never want to feel that pain ever again, it was horrible.

 

In my case I was in 140 stiffness boots which is dam near the top of the stiffness scale, and it still didn't "prevent" me from over extending my calf. I'm 6'2" 220 lbs with an athletic build. Doctor that looked at my leg that night said that if it wasn't for my ski boot I probably would have torn my Achilles (to be fair though if I wasn't in a ski boot I wouldn't have been trying to flip at all!).

 

So take that anecdote for what you will. Maybe the stiffness will help a little, but from my experience its still possible to do even in a stiff boot.
 

post #3 of 10

Stiffer boot might have broken the tib and fib clean through..

post #4 of 10

Stiffer boot might be safer in that it might give you more control of your skis, so less likely to catch an edge or take an otherwise unanticipated fall, but it wouldn't protect you from injury if you do fall. Whether a stiffer boot would be appropriate for you at your level of skiing I am not qualified to say.

post #5 of 10

When you say "...cruising in for a landing..." do you mean landing as in the air or landing as in finishing your run (skis on the ground) at the base?

 

I ask because if you are taking to the friendly skies, you should be considering a higher performance boot.  A 60 flex boot for an adult is quite soft.  My teenage 90# peanut of a daughter is in a 65 flex (I know they aren't all equal but close enough) boot.

 

A grown adult should be in something closer to 100 than 50.  It doesn't have to be 100 but that is about where performance boots usually start to show up.  An 80 or 90 might be fine as long as the fit is good.  A would consider a 60 flex for an adult something they use the first few times out.  After that, you need something more responsive.

 

I have no idea if a stiffer boot could have prevented the over extension of the calf or changed it to a tib/fib break, but I do think there is a chance you might not have hooked an edge if you were in a better boot.

 

The above is an opinion.

 

Hope you heal quickly,

 

Ken

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post

When you say "...cruising in for a landing..." do you mean landing as in the air or landing as in finishing your run (skis on the ground) at the base?

 

I ask because if you are taking to the friendly skies, you should be considering a higher performance boot.  A 60 flex boot for an adult is quite soft.  My teenage 90# peanut of a daughter is in a 65 flex (I know they aren't all equal but close enough) boot.

 

A grown adult should be in something closer to 100 than 50.  It doesn't have to be 100 but that is about where performance boots usually start to show up.  An 80 or 90 might be fine as long as the fit is good.  A would consider a 60 flex for an adult something they use the first few times out.  After that, you need something more responsive.

 

I have no idea if a stiffer boot could have prevented the over extension of the calf or changed it to a tib/fib break, but I do think there is a chance you might not have hooked an edge if you were in a better boot.

 

The above is an opinion.

 

Hope you heal quickly,

 

Ken

Thanks for the replies, folks.

No, Ken, I definitely was not airborne, just coming to the very bottom of a rather easy slope that I have skied at least 100 times before. I saw a lady with a camera standing at the bottom, adjusted my path slightly to give her a wide berth, and down I went, probably because I let my mind wander, stopped really skiing, and was unprepared when whatever happened, happened.

I like the idea of upgrading my boots, maybe to an 80 or 90. I'm an older, casual, low intermediate at best, so I value comfort and forgiveness over performance. But it seems an ultra-relaxed flex was not my friend this time.

I appreciate your good wishes. Healing will be slow and (no doubt) seem even slower. Being laid up really sucks.

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by slipshod View Post

Thanks for the replies, folks.

No, Ken, I definitely was not airborne, just coming to the very bottom of a rather easy slope that I have skied at least 100 times before. I saw a lady with a camera standing at the bottom, adjusted my path slightly to give her a wide berth, and down I went, probably because I let my mind wander, stopped really skiing, and was unprepared when whatever happened, happened.

I like the idea of upgrading my boots, maybe to an 80 or 90. I'm an older, casual, low intermediate at best, so I value comfort and forgiveness over performance. But it seems an ultra-relaxed flex was not my friend this time.

I appreciate your good wishes. Healing will be slow and (no doubt) seem even slower. Being laid up really sucks.

 

In 4 years I went through 3 surgeries to repair ski injuries so I literally feel your pain.  I decided a few years back that though I enjoy catching a little air here and there, it is probably best I don't make a habit of it.

 

In today's market, with today's technology, you can have comfort and performance, so don't think you have to sacrifice one for the other.  I'm in the Salamon X Max 120 (flex) and it is so snug I can't wear even a thin ski sock.  My street shoe is a size 8 and these boots are a 6.5!  I had them properly fitted and can wear them all day, with all the buckles buckled and not being in discomfort.  It isn't cheap, but worth it.

 

I understand how such things happen.  This past weekend I was doing drills and had my boots unbuckled.  Got off the lift and was just about stopped and I'm not even sure what happened but I started falling (on flat terrain at about .5 mph) but because my boots were unbuckled (doing drills), my correction didn't work and next thing you know I'm looking at the sky thinking "Smooth dumbass!"  Check to see if any instructors or coaches are in the area and smile at the fact that at least I didn't get caught.

 

At least it was the end of the season. 

 

Ken

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by slipshod View Post
now I wonder if I should upgrade from a 60 flex to 80 or 90. Or would that just turn the injury into a boot-top fracture or a blown-out knee? Or would it make no difference at all?

I plan to go into next season lighter and stronger, but I'm willing to upgrade my boots if that would help keep me on the slopes and off the couch.

The new boots are so good, that I find it hard to imagine your in a 60 flex boot.  I would really encourage you to step up to at least a 90-100 flex boot, as you will have better control and hopefully not hurt yourself when you day dream for a minute.  Go to a good shop and get fitted for some nice boots.  Heck, do it now while they are all on sale.  I just bought new boots today, as the price was to good to say no towink.gif  Uuuh, don't let my wife know.

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by slipshod View Post

I like the idea of upgrading my boots, maybe to an 80 or 90. I'm an older, casual, low intermediate at best, so I value comfort and forgiveness over performance.

 

As Ken said, you can have both, even in a 100+++ flex boot.  I'm 68, 150 pounds and wear Dalbello Krypton Cross ID boots that fit pretty much like the proverbial glove.  I ski pretty much all over the mountain, but mostly try to ski off-piste with trees being my favorite.  Believe me, you need high performance from your boots if you want to survive in the trees.  My boots are set for 90 flex and they give me all the control I need, whether I'm heading down a black glade or carving GS arcs at 40+mph on a blue groomer.  And, I can wear them all day and my feet never hurt.  I don't need to unbuckle them when I get on a lift or when I take a break for lunch, although I usually do take them off at lunch to put on fresh dry socks.  Go to the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum, read the wikis about fitting and terminology and then check the "Who's Who" for a boot fitter near you.  If there's one near you, call and make an appointment.  If there isn't, ask us and someone will be able to recommend a fitter. And listen to the fitter about how the boot should fit.  The liners will pack out after a few days so the boot needs to feel very snug, almost too small, when it's brand new.

 

Unless you weigh less than 100 pounds you really do need boots that are significantly stiffer than what you've been using.  I think a stiffer boot would have prevented your injury because the soft boot was able to flex too much without putting sufficient force on the binding to cause it to release, a stiffer boot would have applied more force to binding.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

These replies are making a lot of sense to me (although I won't be boot shopping for a while. It would hurt way too much). Thanks for the advice.

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