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Help with ski boot alignment issues

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Over the past 20 years I have seen 4 different bootfitters to get ski boot alignment issues resolved. Each bootfitter has tried something different.  Nothing has really fully worked. 


For my most recent attempt, I purchased new boots, had new orthotics made, and had some boot sole planing done. We started gradually with the boot sole planing and worked our way up.


With no boot sole planing, I was totally on both inside edges and could not get the skis to run flat----the skis were in a wedge and each of the turns was not happening symmetrically.  Different canting chips were used and I was asked to go out and ski and report back.  With 1 degree high on the outside for both boots, there was little difference versus nothing. With 2 degree high on the outside, the right ski flattened out but the left was still tracking heavy on the inside edge. By altering just the left boot with additional canting chips, this forced the right boot to work its way back on the inside edge.  At 2 degrees on both boots, right turns were a little difficult.  When 3 degrees heavy on the outside canting chips were used, the turns in both directions seemed equal and easy but the right boot was tracking slightly on the inside again and the left boot was slightly heavier on the inside edge---this seemed like the best set up so I had the boots planed this way---3 degrees heavy on the outside of both boots.  3.5 degrees was counter-productive when tested.


While skiing with this new set up, I notice that on left turns, the downhill right ski will shake.  I did not really notice this during the on hill canting chip test.


I mentioned to the boot fitter that I may have a leg length discrepancy but this issue has not been addressed yet.  If my right leg is slightly shorter than my left, can this be a reason for the right ski shaking after I make the left turn?


Any suggestions as to other issues that may be going on?


Any help will be greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 4

This is difficult to assess without seeing you in person but first realize that there are four parameters that affect the sagittal plane and they need to be coordinated to optimize your performance.  Being "O" framed or knees out when your skis are flat is a bit more challenging.  We must consider range of motion and decide whether best to correct or  accommodate.  Many times correcting 2 or more degrees limits the range of motion to cause stress on the joints inhibiting the ability to tip farther to edge effectively and puts undo stress on the joints. 


Secondly, I would address the leg length discrepancy and correct before assessing canting issues.  In fact the accepted protocol is to assess and address the footbed and post appropriately first, then adjust the cuff to match the lower leg curvature, then lastly the sole canting.  The fourth parameter affecting edging is the ski base bevel.


Downhill ski shaking is indicative of overcanting or too much inside edge.  testing with chips or tape may not give the same results as planing a more accurate angle and may require some tweaking.  I like to use as a final bench test having the skier rock left to right with both boots simultaneously and look and feel for a simultaneous edge change vs. sequential.  That feeling is more important to me than what the static angles show.  Realize sometimes the sole canting angles may look good but the problem may be in the footbed?


I would revisit the footbed to insure it is posted appropriately, then check for LLD and address, then recheck the cuff angle, then the sole canting.  Experiment with one parameter at a time until you find the best solution.  Take some duct tape with you and shim binding toe and heel equally with two layers at a time to get the most accurate assessment.  Test by skiing a variety of tasks including rail road track turns, traverses, straight runs, one legged skiing, short and medium turns.  Sometimes it is a process rather than a one time fix.


Hope this helped a bit.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your response, Bud.  


The only missing piece for me is addressing the LLD.  The other 3 parameters you mentioned were addressed, but unfortunately the LLD was not taken into consideration from the start although I did mention this to the bootfitter from the start. I wanted to mention that I am not bow-legged.


I know you mention that over-canting is a cause of shaking skis.  With no correction, I was initially skiing on both inside edges and if I attempted to ski straight on a trail and run my skis flat, you could see very deep tracks only on the inside edges. I had no ski shaking on turns at that time. Turns in both directions would begin in a partial wedge and then the skis would become parallel prior to initiating the next turn.  I was only able to have sequential rather than simultaneous movement of my boots when the boot fitter had me rock back and forth--this translated out on the mountain as well when I was skiing.  With the boot sole planing, both of my skis still track on the inside edges, but less than before the boot sole planing was done.  


I feel the right ski shake after I make the left turn and try to slow down just before I initiate the right hand turn. The ski tip "windshield wipes" only with the right ski, not the left.


After the boot work was done, the boot fitter did watch and feel how I rocked back and forth and I was told that what was now observed was simultaneous and not a sequential movement of both boots.  This also translates to on mountain skiing.  Both skis turn simultaneously and with ease.


I have been using this set up for a few weeks now and I have no joint pain.


Regarding re-addressing the orthotic, what should one be looking for with the posting? Can posting changes reduce the inside edge ski tracking? What about addressing LLD?


I have never been seen by an orthopedic physician to confirm the leg length discrepancy, but this was something that I was told by a previous boot fitter pedorthist I had seen. There are a few online videos on how to check for leg length discrepancy.  I had 2 different people test me and both came up with the same result--right leg is shorter than the left.


Since I have intergrated bindings on my skis, I cannot test out a lift plate under my binding to see how this would translate on the mountain prior to having a lift plate added to my boot sole.


Any additional comments/suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.

post #4 of 4

LLD is generally not diagnosed accurately from the outside looking in. it is possible to get an accurate diagnoses through x-ray.


so what do you usually get from a ski shop that has a pedorthist? it's kinda like the old saying opinions are like a%$holes and everybody's got one.


the skill involved is to first recognize that there may be some influence on skiing. then attempt to eliminate the variables that are either showing a true LLD or the possibility of some compensation that the human body is very used to making to effect your posture or balance.


that is the most important reason why a good boot fitter has a logical process in assessment that generally moves from under the foot, to inside the boot, to boot cuff, to knee and hip.


if you had your set up done properly the first times around, you would not be second guessing the foot bed / boot board this late in the game. i would guess that none of the boot fitters on this forum would have touched the outsole of your boot before they had made a stop on all of the joints and boot parts which would be part of the process that would normally discover either a true LLD or the symptoms of a true LLD, or the elimination of an LLD as a concern in the alignment process.



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