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Did her smaller left foot be the cause for her broken ankle? The curious case of my wife's mishap. Lets hear your expert opinions....

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
My wife has been skiing since 2005. She is 5'6", 145 lbs, and is fairly athletic with a competitive swimming and marathon running background (she loses weight when she starts run training). As far as skiing, she likes a leisurely pace with the kids and prefers long and wide blues. She refuses to ski fast but knows how to if needed. She says skiing is her recovery sport from a long hard summer of running - so why push it? Makes sense to her and I am okay with it. Her technique continues to be refined by periodic private lessons through the years.

Her feet are just slightly wider than average with a high instep and rather bony heel / ankle. What is unique about them is that her left foot is about 0.25 inches shorter than her right foot. Same width, same instep, same everything, just shorter. She got fitted by a US certifed master bootfitter during the 2008 / 2009 season for a pair of Salomon Idols 80 flex in size 24.5. She feels that these boots are packed out and is much looser than when we first bought them in 2008 / 2009. As a reference for the runners out ther, she runs in Asics 9.5 shoes .

So here is what happened:

We were skiing the Canyons last spring and it was our third day. Snow was heavy (thick wet spring) but the base was good. She fell on a steep blue, skidded, got up and continued toward the easier section on a slow pace. Toward the bottom as she was doing an easy slow turn, the inner left edge of her ski caught and she tumbled. By the time I got there (10 seconds later), she was writhing in pain. First thing I noticed was a buckle (maybe even two) on her left boot was open - her smaller foot. X rays revealed broken ankle. Surgery was two weeks later (swelling had to subside first) and she now has five screws and a metal plate about three inches long on her bone.

I continue to wonder what happened so last week, I did a basic check on her boots and here is what I discovered:

1) There is about a 2 centimeter space between her heel and the back of the inner shell ON HER RIGHT FOOT! The space is clearly going to be bigger on her left foot. I didn't even bother to check anymore because I do not want to be shocked by what I will discover. Did her boot fitter give her too large a boot? Did he not check the left foot and did a shell sizing only on the right foot? Even only with the right, the boot was still too big in my opinion.

2) Should she have been sized properly on her left foot instead of her larger right foot? She does not remember if the bootfitter checked out both feet. She has been skiing long enough and have had many boots prior so she clearly knows the notion that ski boots MUST be tight. That I am pretty certain.

3) Did the liner pack out too much? Should we have changed the boot sooner? I checked the liner and it still seemed fairly okay, but how am I to remember how thick it was five years ago? She skis an average of 10 to 12 days a year so I cannot imagine it packing out that much.

4) Did that open buckle (or two) cause the foot to move inside so much - to break? She does not know why it was open and suspects it opened when she fell on the initial steep blue run where she skidded on her side. It could have also opened when she fell on that easy run. But should one or even two open buckles loosen a boot so much to allow it to move around that much?

So why am I asking all these things now, 10 months after the accident?

She still uses the Idols but wants new boots to avoid another accident like this, and because her left ankle is now bigger than before - with the plates and screws inside. It also hurts so she want a molded liner on her ankle. She also says her Idols are now too loose and she can wiggle her toes inside.

As a possibility, she using my daughter's ski boots - a Salomon X Pro 90 boots in 24.5. My daughter was fitted for these boots (not by the same boot fitter) and she loves her boots particularly because of the liner which has the firm but comfortable ankle pockets. My wife tried these X Pro 90 boots and likes the ankle pockets too and says that our daughter's boots are more "snug" than her Salomon Idols, more receptive, and has a good fit. She skied on them for two days and she actually skis better on them than on her current boots. However, she thinks the size 24.5 are too comfortable to be correct. Snug but too comfortable. She says she can wiggle her toes inside. I don't know if she is just insecure about her boot size because of the accident.

Now she wants to be fitted for the X pro 90 (or 80) of for a Salomon X Max (90) but on a size 23.5. She wants the Salomons because of the option to mold the liner and the shell (considering her wide feet and bigger and painful left ankle).

I would really like to consider a 23.5 Max or 23.5 Pro, but I cannot seem to find them anywhere nearby that are sold by a good bootfitter. I can go to the same guy that fitted her on the Idols five years ago and I don't mind going back to him but he does not carry the sizes and models we are looking for and have to special order them - which I have to pay for. When we went to Stowe two weeks ago, we could not find enough sizes in the Salomon X Pro 80s or 90s - for her to try on. She thinks a 23.5 is in order considering her smaller left foot.

I have read in multiple reviews that the X max is actually long for its size and some expert reviewers have actually downsized by one. The longer length is because of the deeper heel pocket. Perhaps this would be good for my wife to consider but I want to get opinions of the expert fitters here about all these.

Cheers.
post #2 of 3

 open clip and a bit of bad luck are probably more to blame than a boot with a little bit too much space in it which has packed out, not being present at the fitting i don't know if the fitter tried the smaller size and your wife refused it as it felt too tight (it happens a lot, and the customer is always right aren't they?)  but there are a whole heap of skiers out there in boots which are a LOT bigger than that and not breaking ankles

 

you are getting towards the end of the season, so i would wait till next season if you are struggling to find sizes, the salomons do run long, and the idol had a whole heap of forward lean which makes them feel shorter than they shell check as some people could not get into the back of the shell 

 

get in early to a fitter next season, there are a few good guys around Stowe so i am sure she will get sorted when the boots are available

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hi CEM,

You may be right that the injury was correlated more to the open buckle and bad luck rather than the "loose" boot. I realized that there are a lot of skiers using boots too big and they have not had this type of injuries. One suspicion I have is that the bindings are compromised and have to be checked. I just bloody sold the ski to a shop for their rental fleet and told them to check the bindings before they rent it out.

I found a used Saly X Max in 23.5 so lets see if this will fits her and if the right boot will need some punching.

Cheers.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ask the Boot Guys › Did her smaller left foot be the cause for her broken ankle? The curious case of my wife's mishap. Lets hear your expert opinions....