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Is my leg length discrepancy causing my ski challenges?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Last year I had custom insoles made for my feet by a ski alignment guy.  I have a leg length discrepancy that has not been addressed in my boots or bindings.  Up until recently, I've had wider powder skis, but I just picked up a frontside carver, and I think that made my alignment problems obvious.

 

The carvers, 170 cm Experience 88s skied pretty darn fast, 48 MPH according to ski tracks.  Not that my intention was to go fast, but I found that at my fastest, the skis seemed fine and stable, I was  more the one who was feeling nervous and so I hit the brakes.

 

The snow was firm and hard in the morning, and softened up in the sun on Mt. Hood.  I noticed very quickly a problem I have not experienced with my 171 cm Atomic Access: My inside right ski edge and I think my inside left ski edge both started to engage while the skis were "flat" and I was trying to go straight.  My left leg is shorter than my right, and I have much less balance on my left side.

 

I also noticed something else interesting.  When I took a left turn, and my weight was mostly on my inside right edge, my skis were further apart and doing a slight pizza(ie. my skis were not parallel).  When making a right turn,  my weight was on my inside left edge, and my skis were parrallel and the turn felt good.  Keep in mind it's my LEFT leg that's shorter and has poor proprioception. 

 

So given this information, I have the following questions:

 

1)  Does all of this info add up into the problem clearly being my leg length discrepancy and that I need shims or canted boots?  I wondered if what I was noticing might have been related to a subconscious bias towards relying on my right leg, but this doesn't really seem to fit what I noticed.  I recorded two videos which captured what I'm describing.  Would it be helpful for you all to see them?  I can post them in this thread.

 

2) I found both of my inside edges wanted to engage while going straight down a run, making for a tough ride.  I've heard these skis talked about as being "squirrely" at high speeds.  I'm wondering if what I noticed is more directly related to the alignment issue than anything else?

 

3) My skis felt stable even at high speeds today, but I wasn't feeling very secure on the skis at higher speeds.  Could fixing the alignment issue cause these problems?

 

4) My old pair of skis have less of a sidecut are wider, and more powder oriented.  Is this a good explanation for why this alignment issue wasn't as obvious before?

 

5) I notice when I turn right and my weight is on my inside left edge, I have difficulty maintaining the edge, and the ski slides sideways (only at higher speeds).  Is this because of my lack of strength in my left leg?  Or is this problem something that could be fixed with alignment work?

 

 

6) Finally, the alignment guy I saw in Portland wasn't sure if he could add shims to my boots given the specific boots I own(Full Tilt Originals)--which would be ideal because I now have multiple skis.  Should I get that same guy to add shims to my set up before I leave town in two months?  Or would it be way better to waiting until I get to Colorado so that I can go back to whoever I see if my shims need tweaking?  Or would someone out in CO be able to easily adapt my shims from the guy here in Portland?

 

7)  Is there any way I can make a temporary or even longer term home solution to this problem?  I''m thinking adding thickness to the inside of my left boot would do the trick...

 

Lots of questions, and I appreciate any input you all could provide!

 

Thanks in advance,

Matt

post #2 of 8

folkfan,

 

skiing is all about symmetry---with one leg shorter than the other you would not have it(symmetry)----as it is, your skiing is all about compensating---those 2 words (symmetry and compensating) have nothing in common.

 

You need to see an experienced boot fitter and have your boots modified to balance your leg length discrepancy and set your alignment(both lateral and fore/aft) correctly.

 

In Colorado, I would suggest you go see Greg Hoffman at Vail.

 

Good Luck,

 

mike 

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by miketsc View Post

folkfan
,

skiing is all about symmetry---with one leg shorter than the other you would not have it(symmetry)----as it is, your skiing is all about compensating---those 2 words (symmetry and compensating) have nothing in common.

You need to see an experienced boot fitter and have your boots modified to balance your leg length discrepancy and set your alignment(both lateral and fore/aft) correctly.

In Colorado, I would suggest you go see Greg Hoffman at Vail.

Good Luck,

mike 

Thanks mike--I'll keep your recommendations in mind.

I understand how skiing is all about symmetry. Getting aligned would help my symmetry in terms of alignment. However, due to a neurological condition the sensitivity (proprioception), balance, and strength on the left side of my body including my left leg will never be the same as my right side. I'm not symmetrical. It's a subtle difference, but noticeable in terms of muscle tone etc. I can work this summer to increase balance etc on my left side, but I doubt that deficit will ever be ameliorated or overcome.

So will an alignment significantly help my skiing, even though the strength etc imbalance will remain?

Matt
Edited by folkfan - 4/14/14 at 11:40am
post #4 of 8

Absolutely! It will help.

 

Are your calf muscles the same size (circumference)at the top of the liner?

 

mike

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by miketsc View Post

Absolutely! It will help.



Are your calf muscles the same size (circumference)at the top of the liner?

mike

Thanks--that's a relief.

No, my left calf is smaller. About an inch smaller in terms of circumference, maybe a little more. Why do you ask?
Edited by folkfan - 4/14/14 at 12:55pm
post #6 of 8

You may need to add a spoiler between the liner and the shell, to make up the difference on that leg---for each inch of circumference difference there is, that knee will be a third of an inch (8.1mm) behind the other leg as far as forward lean of the tibia is concerned---your knees will not track the same.

 

is that the short leg also?

 

see the boot fitter.

 

mike


Edited by miketsc - 4/14/14 at 1:38pm
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by miketsc View Post

You may need to add a spoiler between the liner and the shell, to make up the difference---for each inch of circumference difference there is, that knee will be a third of an inch (8.1mm) behind the other leg as far as forward lean of the tibia is concerned---your knees will not track the same.

is that the short leg also?

see the boot fitter.

mike

Yes--it's also the short leg ( the left leg). Something the alignment guy I saw said to me just clicked. He said that even though my right leg is strong and my left leg is atrophied, my left leg is actually pretty well aligned over my boots. My right leg, on the other hand, he said was not. Now I think I understand why left turns, in which I need to pressure the inside right edge, aren't working well.

That makes me think the alignment issue and strength/sensitivity issue may actually be separate--and an alignment could help.

Thanks for your help. Between now and next ski season I'll try to do what I can to increase my balance and flexibility.

Finally, my powder skis, the atomic access 171 cm, are apparently too short for me according to people on this forum. I could get a deal on them 10 cm larger. Do you think I should wait until I have the alignment issues figured out to make any further ski investments?

Matt
post #8 of 8

Yeh!----- skis are "sexy"-----boots are utilitarian (not sexy)---they have to work correctly to allow you to use those sexy thangs.

 

get the boots working right then try out the skis.

 

mike

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