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Hypermobile ankles - is there a boot that will work?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Sorry for the long post, but I've stumped more than a couple boot fitters and figured I'd try my luck here.


I just got Dalbello Krypton Kryzmas in size 21 with the intuition liners, B flex tongue (trying to find a stiffer one), and custom foot beds.  I am still having issues.  General info:

--Extremely hyper mobile ankles.  Dorsiflexion has been described as excessive and I can just about lay my lateral malleolus on the ground while standing if I so desire.  I crush nearly any woman's boot out there.

--Small, low volume foot, with exception of forefoot that measures 98 mm.

--5'2, 125#, and ski aggressively, preferring off piste terrain, steeps, and trees.  


I've cycled through a couple of boots in the past couple of years, and the only boot that has ever performed well for me was a Nordica Doberman.  Unfortunately, these boots were so painful and cold that I couldn't ski in them for more than a day at a time, and forget about hitting the hike to terrain. 


With the exception of the Dobermans, all boots I've been in have allowed suppination, even when in a flexed stance, despite the fact that I tend to pronate without footbeds.  Canting one way or the other (or even playing with shims on the hill,) just throws my ankles in the other direction, so this seems to be an issue with the boot volume and support at the level of the ankle rather than just the heel.  (As an experiment, I got the heels so tight that they go numb inside of 20 minutes, yet the downhill ankle still gets strain along the lateral aspect.)  The only way I've been able to take up volume to stabilize my ankles is to add a heel lift.  This eliminates shin/ medial malleolus bang because I'm higher in the boot, but compresses me to a silly extent, and is the absolutely wrong thing to do with hyper mobility, but it's better to burn my quads and sacrifice my stance than sprain my ankle inside the boot while attempting a groomer.  I've padded the outside of my ankles as well, but I'm not sure that's enough.  


I go from being able to ski nearly anything to struggling with making it down the groomers.  It's killing me.  Any suggestions?

post #2 of 9

The ankle joint complex is like a gimball---it allows for tri-planal motion inside the boot.  For the joint to center, it needs to be supported so that it does not fall off of position when loaded.---think of balancing on a bongo board---you fire muscles to keep your center over the balanced position and not fall off.  Your hyper mobility (lax ligaments and tendons) allows you to fall off of center at the ankle joint and supporting this needs to be done both laterally and fore/aft.  Seek out a boot fitter with experience in balance. (not many out there)---- where do you live/ski, we might be able to direct you to someone for help.


A stiffer boot will limit the amount of movement and control the ankle better, which is why you liked the Doberman---too bad it hurt and was cold.  There are other boots out there that should fit and be warm and still be supportive.  Go for an upper level (130 or 140 flex) boot---try many different brands, since flex numbers are not standardized across the industry.


As far as you being able to crush a boot---if you think about a boot with a shorter boot sole (21.0 mondo is very short)---- the lever in your lower leg (include the Tibia and the boot shell) is capable of over powering the lever that is in the boot sole. 


Being balanced is a combination of position settings that work for you or against you being in balance--- (we call it the sweet spot)


1. foot bed set up (the technician needs to set and support your sub-talor joint position correctly)


2. boot board angle


3. Delta angle (the height differential between the toe and heel of the binding)


4. forward lean of the boot---usually not adjustable, but not impossible to adjust.--- the forward lean in most brands is usually the same             regardless of the boot sole size.


5. Circumference of your calf muscle at the top of the liner --- (influences the forward lean of the lower leg)


6. Boot sole length this plays into the amount of forward lean issue, because as the boot sole shortens the center point of the boot moves         toward the heel of the boot relative to the shaft of the boot cuff.


Being out of position in any one of these issues will cause inappropriate use and loading of muscles to compensate --- this can then throw you off balance in one of the planes of motion---usually cause you to ski in the back seat,  If you are skiing in the back seat you are playing catch up all the time from turn to turn, in every turn---not a good thing!



post #3 of 9

trying to solve a hyper mobility issue with a krypton kryzma is like bringing a dull spoon to a knife fight.


follow mikes lead, he is on the right track.


dig out your nordicas and find a fitter that will turn them into warm and comfortable.



post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for your honest and thorough replies.  

I completely understand the points made in regards to balance and being back seated.  It's actually gotten so bad for me that I've learned to compensate for abnormal positions/ postures/ burning quads so long as I don't feel like I'm going to break and ankle in heavy snow.  A couple questions and points...


"Try many different brands"

With a 21 or 22 size, low volume foot, and needing a stiff boot, I'm not sure there are many options out there (4 or 5 max?).  Complicating this is that most shops don't stock many (if any) options in my size.  I get a lot of (reputable, some of whom are on this forum,) boot fitters offering to have me pay for an order a boot without trying it on.  It gets expensive if/ when I can't return them.  


Re: the Kryptons- are they just too high volume?  What's the issue with them?   


I'm in Denver, so it shouldn't be difficult to find someone...  I'm a recent transplant, so I went with a highly recommended shop, but obviously still having issues.  Suggestions?


The Dobermans are no more...  I sold them a couple of years ago after 2 or 3 very close calls with frost bite.  

post #5 of 9
Fischer 130 vacume should work for you, provided your fore/aft stance is evaluated and set correctly---they are made in a 266 shell length.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by miketsc View Post

Fischer 130 vacume should work for you, provided your fore/aft stance is evaluated and set correctly---they are made in a 266 shell length.

Tried them in one flex level down. Disaster. So much travel that I imponged a nerve on the top of my foot and couldn't feel the dorsateral aspect of my foot inside of 10 min. (Impingement only happened while skiing). Heel hold was good but lateral ankle hold was insufficient.

post #7 of 9

Did you have them heat molded and Vacumed?


Did they pay any attention to how your forward lean came out?  If you aren't careful you will end up with loads of forward lean which will use up available flexion and might account for the impingement problem.


We have also noted that it is possible to have lateral alignment problems if the technician allows the Vac bag to lift one side of the boot as it is being molded.


What size calf muscles at the top of the liner of the boot you now have?



post #8 of 9

things you already know............


1. the ski industry cannot afford to build a boot for your foot/ankle mobility. if they built a boot for your specs based on your description, they could sell about 200 pair worldwide per season. that would take them about 100 years to re-coup the cost of r&d and the building of permanent molds.


2. finding either a boot fitter that can recognize your needs, or knows the solutions to the what they find in assessment, or a shop that has a single choice of a boot for you is like trying to find osama bin laden or elvis presley.


3. only a few of the fitters on this forum know how to contain a low volume foot that is hypermobile.


4. you are the perfect sucker for any ski shop in anywhere USA, because you want and wish for this retailer to have the magic bullet boot in their stock to solve your problem right out of the box. and they of course think that they have the magic bullet in their stock to sell you. 


5. you also know the solution..........you have to commit to a boot fitter of your choice that will go the distance. first of all in assessment/discovery to listen to you and decipher the real issues that are are causing your problems while filtering out the "white noise", secondly either having in stock or having the industry savvy to track down the model(s) in your size that will solve for what was discovered in assessment, and last but not least to solve the compromise conundrum that has to occur with any molded plastic boot that you put on your feet. meaning that when you find the boot that has the volume to contain your foot, and after the ramp and forward lean adjustments are made to reduce the ROM of your ankle joint, there will be some hot spot or bone on shell that is created by those adjustments, that now have to be dealt with.


good luck in denver. if you look a little further west, a good solution in vail/beavercreek would be greg hoffman at skibootfittingvail, or in aspen/snowmass there is jack rafferty of the thotic shop, or in telluride bob gleason at the boot doctors.



post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Jim- it would be impossible to verbalize a more precise assessment of my situation.  I've luckily not run into many con artists, but I've been astoundingly effective at finding very earnest and otherwise excellent boot fitters who, as they say- don't know what they don't know.  I'll check out the guys along the I-70 corridor and definitely needed someone to pre-filter the shops for me.  After all the time I've spent looking for boots, a couple hours on the road won't put me off.  I met Bob Gleason at one point, and after brief assessment, told me he couldn't even consider finding a boot for me in late February.  Honest guy, much respect for that.   Thanks for the recommendations and insight, assuming I shouldn't take it to mean that I'll find a boot in Vegas.  =)


Mike- a master boot fitter took one look at me in the Fischers after molding.  Ordering them per a newbie fitter in the same shop  without trying on got me into that situation.  Not all fitters in a reputable shop are equally trained...  After I came back in, and before I told him what was up, he said he knew they would be a catastrophe when he saw me flex them.  They were refunded.  The technology is good, but not a panacea.  


Hopefully I'll figure it out with the recommendations.  God willing, before my boyfriend buys me a snowboard for Christmas. (eek!!!)


Many thanks for all the advice!!

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