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Do I have a boot problem or a technique problem??

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
After returning from a weekend skiing and revisiting all of last seasons problems I am trying a bit of self analysis on what may be going on so I am delurking to ask a few questions.

To fill in some background. I have been skiing since childhood in the 1960s and spent the first 20 years of my skiing life learning to ski the "old way". I progressed very well and after 5 years living in an Australian ski resort I could zipperline even the steepest mogul run on my 200cm planks.

Around that time motherhood stepped in and I spent the next 10 years only getting on the hill for a couple of weeks per year.

3 years ago we decided that we missed regular skiing so joined the volunteer ski patrol. Not wanting to be laughed off the hill I purchased some "carve" skis that had a nasty 65mm waist and 99mm tip and tail and some Dalbello boots.

I bumbled my first 10 days or so of training on that gear and got by OK for someone coming out of a semi ski retirement.

Summer arrived and the opportunity for a trip to Canada arose. I decided that the Dalbello boots were a little too slipper like so taking advantage of our newly aquired pro deal purchased a pair of Salomon X wave 9 boots. As it was summer we had to go to the importers warehouse to get them so apart from seeing that my foot fit snugly they weren't fitted by a boot expert.

Off to Canada and first day on snow. Boot problems. Got the guy in the store at Apex to make some custom cork footbeds and some minor adjustments to the shell to fit my bumps and lumps and had comfortable boots for the rest of the trip.

This is where the big problems start. At the end of 3 weeks in Canada I had extremely sore knees, to the point where they were swollen and sore for 4 weeks afterwards. This is something that I had never experienced before in my life. There was no audible clicking or grinding just an extremely dull but throbbing ache that didn't subside. Oh well its summer I would get over it so ignored it.

Next winter came and time to hit the slopes. First 2 days patrolling in Thredbo found me coming home with such sore quads and calves that I had trouble getting up and down from my chair for 3 days. Skied again the next weekend and only sore for 2 days etc until about the 3rd or 4th weekend. By the end of 30 days I had no leg pain anymore but did find that my boots were not supporting my ankles very well so the Salomon guy put some heal lifts in and some ankle padding. All comfortable but I then started having trouble with my stance when trying to run sleds. About mid season I purchased some K2 Axis X skis and really like them so don't think the cut on the skis caused the problem.

This summer I spent a lot of time mountain biking to build up strength and fitness to see if that was exacerbating my problem as I am rapidly approaching my mid 40s but alas my trouble seem worse.

I am sitting here today with extremely sore quads and calves (probably not as bad as last year) and a nasty blistered rash on both lower legs. That would be from trying to do my boots up tight enough to stop my feet moving. Now when I say tight I am only on the 2nd last hook on my buckle. I also bought some X-socks and think that the so call supportive elastic has caused a bit of rubbing hence the blisters.

No I am no chook legged fragile thing. My leg measurements are ankle 9 1/2 inches, mid calf 16 inches and length of lower leg from base of knee to bend of anke 13 inches. My boot size is 25.5.

Apart from my boot woes my skiing has gone way backwards.

I am now finding that I can calve big wide turns and can rail in one direction but tend to cut off a bit the other way but couldn't do a short radius turn to save my life. They actually look like those pivot slips in the animation thread. In an essence I am looking and feeling good on the groomers but get me into the trees or tight chutes and it's good night Irene. Thank god I am slower and can side slip down behind without be 'caught out'

My sled training has also gone backwards and my instructor is saying that I need to get my body back over my feet as I am leaning way out to get an edge and keeping most of my weight on the downhill ski causing the uphill ski to skate around doing nothing.

I also find that if I widen my stance to where they prefer for akja running rather than being able to press both knees into the hill that the lower one drops in and I can't get any edge bit. I am also wedging my pivot turns a bit.

I talked this over with my husband and he just said I need to roll my ankles more but I am finding that I can't see to get them to move any further and that my knees are taking the pressure in my shorter turns.

I have not had a lesson since the mid 80s however have spent some time on the hill with other patrollers that have instructed but all they seem to suggest is to get my stance wider. If I go any wider I feel really unstable and wedge even more.

I have looked over a lot of topics in the forum and looked at lots of photos of 'alignment' and feel that I stand with my knees really bent.

My lower leg would probably be at a 45 degree angle and if I look down whilst running flat along a wide open traverse I think my knees are pointing in a little towards each other hence my question

is this a boot problem or do I need to go back to ski school???
post #2 of 23
Mangoes,

Step one take the heel lifts out of your boots and throw them away. Your description of yourself and your aches and pains indicate that you are over ramped and also probably have too much forward lean in the boots. Take out any spoilers or spacers in the back of your boot. You might need major surgery on your boots to accomidate your calfs, the back of the boot either flared out or cut off. Under no circumstances allow anyone to put heel lifts back into your boots to lift your calfs, this just makes your bent legged stance worse.

Can't say a lot more without actually seeing you.

yd
post #3 of 23
Rash on shins - at the very least get some tape on it to reduce the friction... You could try Mefix/Fixomull/whatever the one starting with P is.....
They should be OILED to remove - they have some low friction to the surface....

If it is worse than very mild get some Clearsite(or equvalent) - if you get the island one it will stick by itself. The borderless you can stick on with Mefix/Fixomull or with Tegaderm/Opsite/etc.... STRETCH the film dressings to remove & oil the other stuff....

Any of the above should be fine to leave on for a few days (about 3-5) as long as there is not infection present (yes early is better)

The Clearsite takes a HUGE amount of shear pressure away from skin.... used on Murray River Marathon rowers blisters... (ouch)

I'd suggest a lesson with my instructor - but he is booked out....
post #4 of 23
Mangoes,
Welcome to EpicSki!
I totally agree with ydnar on the heel lifts, lose 'em! I would have to se you ski to know exactly what's going on but I suspect that you probably stay too flexed. This puts stress on the quads and the calves because the muscles are supporting you rather than your skeletal structure. You may also fold at the waist in order to stay balanced? Try standing tall as you ski and focus on moving your center in the direction you want to go. Use your legs like shock absorbers, flex when you need to but then get back to a tall stance to realign your body. Relax more and let gravity do the work .
post #5 of 23
Mangoes, obviously , havent seen you ski--maybe you are pressuring yourself--relax a bit and let the skis do a bit more work--not necessary to muscle too much..as you are traversing ,align your self , shoulder , arms, hips skis with the pitch of the hill---you have just moved your cm to the inside and maybe you are 60-40 pressure--outside ski and inside with skis on edge ---flatten the skis and let G do it`s job--a bit of rotary and-angulate(cm to the inside) and let the skis work-----this is very basic --ski the slow line---slow and sense what is happening------IMHO-----without your buddies-----I`m sure there will be comments on this from others--it is very basic and if your boots fit and you take YDNARs advise you may be skiing smoother and easier---you can wind it up as you go along---
Also, Don`t know where you live or ski---however, if you can find a good bootfitter/orthotic person, such as the Green Mountain operation--don`t remember their address, just do a search. They are excellent in alleviating your Boot problems --if any , via alignment or boot reconfiguration...You seem to have a combination of problems-----have fun---
post #6 of 23
Just a guess, but are your boots too wide? I wear normal width shoes but I was moving arouond a lot in my ski boots, and constantly tightening them. The first time I got off the lift in narrower boots, I crossed my skis. I was so used to compensating for the room without even realizing it.
post #7 of 23
The other thing to do is get your cant's checked. Knee pain I have found can be caused by your knees not tracking straight forward when you press into the front of the boot. There are 2 cant adjustments that need to be checked. When you are standing flat in the boot, (with foot bed but no liner) you want the lower leg to be in alignment with your cuffs. Then with the boot liner in and snug, you want to check if the knee is plumb with the center of the boot. if you are being pushed into alignment by your boots rather than standing in proper alignment by canting the bottoms of your boots you will find that there is some extra strain on your knees causing pain and swelling. Some people are affected more than others. Everyone is different.
post #8 of 23
very limited on bootfitter options where mangoes skis guys...

Sorefoot sold up & moved out....(not that big a loss I think - my footbeds from them caused me pain - not fixed it & I did explain in detail about the dodgy foot & orthotics that I wear all day BEFORE they started)

Nothing really like Gmolfoot's place around...

I think ant found a good podiatrist who is a skier - but that is probably the closest she has combined with a good bootfitter... they would be 2 hours from the snow for her....

Similarly I can find a good podiatrist & a good bootfitter in Melbourne who have worked together before... but again 3 hours from snow....
post #9 of 23
get yourself a copy of "the athletic skier" by Warren Witherell, David Evrard

It has the procedure most of the fitters are using for alignment It's not as good as getting to a good fitter but it might give you some clues and how to help it out. You can play with cuff cants, etc to see if any of that helps. Boot sole planing and canting can be a bit trickier. Officially we can't tell you to modify your boot soles as it is a liability but off the record, somewhere I saw someone using duct tape to change their cants (wink wink)
post #10 of 23
Ok, sounds like Mangoes is enjoying (at least trying to) skiing in the southern Hemisphere, therefore Green Mountain Orthotics (Stratton Mountain, VT) is out of the question. Now, the heel lifts, while I would say pull em (heel lifts caused major fore/aft balance issues for me), check em out first. Are they a flat platform for your hee to rest on (kinda like a high heeled shoe with two flat platforms under the toe/ball of foot and heel) or is it a ramp type heel lift which just ramps your foot creating an inclined plane that your whole foot is hitting? Often times the ramp type lifts cause problems with fore/aft balance, and they are far from easy to fix.

From what you described, Quad pain, Calve pain, trouble with short radius, wedged pivot slips, and even sore knees, one thing jumps into mind. You're leaning back. The reason I say that is it leaning back strains the quads excessivly, can put pressure on the back of the calves (on the boot edge), these 2 constant strains could be causing the knees to not work properly (having to rely too much on muscular support and not skeletal support) causing you to compensate and possibly move in a wave that is inefective and painful. Also, in terms of your turns, a long radius turn can be driven by the tails, but short radius turns need to be driven with a good forward pressure, to allow the whole ski to drive the turn. You might be making some compensations to "force" an un-natural short-radius, this same compensation coule be causing the wedging you mentioned above in your pivot slips too (how else are you going to get the skis to pivot under your body if you are stuck in an aft balance).

In terms of things to work on or try, lose the heel lifts, it might do wonders. If your boots are too high for your calf, a bootfitter should be able to strech the boots upper (and possibly cut and stretch if needed) to facilitate your calf, lifting youwhole leg is the wrong thing to do. Now, in terms of stance, there has been much debate over this throughout the ranks of instruction, but common opinion (seemingly) is wider is better, but it has to feel right, so your stance may need to be a little wider, but not necessarily as wide as someone else. The width in your stance is to allow you to get to like edges (without interferance), but I would work with the boots, and fore/aft aligment before trying to rework your stance.

Until (and while and after for that matter) your boot problems are worked out, focus on having your hands in a good position and good pole touches (easiest way to keep forward and maintain your center moving into the turn) and try to feel your shins, you want them to have a constant pressure against the front of the boot. Something to think about turning as well, start at slower speeds and not much incline and focus on putting your shins to 11 o'clock and 1 o'clock (if 12 o'clock is where your shins are in a straight run, and remember, do these SLOW, if you are tipping you will feel out of balance, these will force you to counter your upper body in order to remain in a balanced zone) - think about the clock face. As you want to tighten the turns, move more towards 10 and 2, this will increase your edge angles (and you might have to widen your stance a little too).

When you are comfortable with these feelings, try bringing these ideas into your general skiing turns, good forward pressure and better edge angles will do wonders for your turns.
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much for your analysis and advice. Everything suggested makes so much sense.

Disski has kindly offerred to get her instructor to look me over. He is very good with alignment and has had a lot of success with others with stance/boot issues.

I am heading off in the morning for a 9 days trip so have on my list to pack:

Hex keys to change the forward flex and canting if need be and buckles
Heat gun to flare out the top of the shell to give me more calf room
Hot melt glue gun and closed cell foam to pack around the ankles to reduce lateral movement.

The heel lifts are definitely the first thing that are going to come out. They are only the small ramp type and were put in there to lift my leg higher as that would have supposedly reduced my ankle movement but after reading responses here I can see that they are possibly the main cause of my troubles.

I'll let you all know how I get on in a couple of weeks.
post #12 of 23
Mangoes, you may also find that using some of that foam over the instep will help "lock" you into the boot. Lots of details in doing that, but worth considering.
post #13 of 23
A couple of thoughts come to mind.

Don't ignore the delta angle of the boot. Delta angle is the relationship between the boot sole plane and the ski. Ramp angle is essentially an internal angle involving the boot board.

I ski with a "negative" delta angle. The toe of my boot is actually five mm higher than my heel. If you go to the training forum you'll see in the bumps montage photos of Jenn Metz skiing bumps. She does this and gave me this fix. On occasion she posts here I think under the name skimom. She is a PSIA-RM examiner, training supervisor at Winter Park, and IMHO the best bumper around here.

Without going into too much detail this will "straighten your lower legs" and actually create more "bend at the waist". In actuality create a little more angle in your upper body......more leaning over from the waist.

Try fiddling with cants. You can make them yourself and slip them on a trial basis between boot and binding. Will it hamper release and/or the AFD (anti friction device)? Perhaps. When I do this I simply lower my D.I.N. setting, slow down, and experiment on easy groomed terrain. I ski on Marker and they have a "cant kit" and the shims can easily be used on a temporary basis to fiddle around.

Glucosimine with MSN?

Lastly, your comments about short radius turns were interesting. I think it's tough for a good skier to transition from a fairly straight or "all mountain" ski to a ski with a shorter turn radius and figure out the right mix of tipping and rotary skills.

Well I guess I already said lastly......one shameless plug. I pro rep for Fischer and their somatec boot may be an answer. You can check out the theory at http://www.fischerskis.com/alpine/index.php

In essence you ski in the boot with your foot turned out or laterally rotated. It allows the knee to track in a more natural manner. Your foot sits in the boot much like one would stand. I ski in the boot as does Bob Barnes. He wrote a lengthy review of the boot which I assume is still archived.

It is by far the best boot I have ever owned.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manus
Something to think about turning as well, start at slower speeds and not much incline and focus on putting your shins to 11 o'clock and 1 o'clock (if 12 o'clock is where your shins are in a straight run, and remember, do these SLOW, if you are tipping you will feel out of balance, these will force you to counter your upper body in order to remain in a balanced zone) - think about the clock face. As you want to tighten the turns, move more towards 10 and 2, this will increase your edge angles (and you might have to widen your stance a little too).
I will give you something else to consider

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...ot+cuff+qu iz
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
very limited on bootfitter options where mangoes skis guys...

Sorefoot sold up & moved out....(not that big a loss I think - my footbeds from them caused me pain - not fixed it & I did explain in detail about the dodgy foot & orthotics that I wear all day BEFORE they started)

Nothing really like Gmolfoot's place around...
Not sure I agree. Both Peter Clarke and Andy Burford at Jindabyne Sports are Masterfit qualified bootfitters, and I and a number of others have found them very helpful and, most importantly, very patient.

I agree with Manus that a lot of what you describe sound like a backseat problem. I suggest you try skiing without the heel lifts and take a trip to jindy Sports and let them check both the boot fit and the alignment.

Good luck! Let us know the outcome.
post #16 of 23
Rusty. in terms of the quiz, while at speed I would agree the that contact (irregardless of turn size) would be at 3/9 o'clock, think about very slow railroads, where subtle movements are key, while there may be pressure at 3/9, I feel that the central point of contact (your shin) is where most people can associate most, and while they might in fact be pressuring at 3 (slightly), they can be thinking they are hitting 1, because they can feel the contact of their shin and boot tongue, does that make sense (making me think isn't fair).

I think the most over looked way to learn is VERY slow skiing. If you can ski slow, you can ski as fast as you want, however, if you can ski fast that does not mean that you can ski slowly (it has to do with muscle memory and duration of time in feelings and sensations). And, while, I am not saying Bob Barnes is wrong, I'm thinking more like a customer/student when I talk, and to them pressure relates to contact, not necessarily the central pressure point (which yes would be 3/9 but its easier to trick someone with words than to have them try to ski analizing how much or little they are pressuring the side of the boot - and a student that is focused on hitting the side of their boot might loose their forward pressure, centering over the heel to facilitate hitting a 3/9 o'clock pressure point).

I'm gonna stop rambling now, since I know what I'm trying to say, and I'm somewhat confusing myself.

One last thing is what Rusty Guy said about Glucosamine, if you truly have joint issues do to whatever reason Glucosamine/Condrointin/MSM (or is it N) combi pills can be a lifesafer (when taken on a regular basis), I take em year round, ever day and they have helped my back (joint pain from weaken muscles in lower back from an old injury) and knees (chonic water on the knee), while I still have water on the knee, it has stabilized, if not gotten a little better, over the last couple years I have been taking Glu/Con/MSM and my back has not gone out (to were I cannot stand up) in 3 years (hard to believe I'm only 25 with problems like that huh).
post #17 of 23
Manus,

I agree that "slow skiing" is a wonderful way to learn/practice the movements associated with great skiing.

The boot cuff quiz merely points out that "movement", and in particular, tipping originates below the ankle. As I sit here at a desk in bare feet and roll my foot on edge I also realize how very much of a "toe in" movement it is.

I'm a big fan of glucosimine as well. I don't know why, not having any background in the matter, but all the nutritionalists around here eschew chondrotin in the mix.
post #18 of 23
well, I don't havea background in anything realted to the health industry (except for sheeling out quite a bit of money to them throughout my life), but My understanding was that Glucosamine/Condrointin helped to restore proper fluid levels in the joints of the body, and helped to maintain proper fluid levels once they have been restored. The MSM (or N what ever it is) I thought was supposed to be joint health and cartilage/ligament reltated, helping to maintain the strength of both, so they are mixing the proper fluid levels, with maintaining/strengthening of the cartalidge (sp?) and ligaments/tendons).

Again I'm no doctor, so if someone knows, please do correct me.
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manus
well, I don't havea background in anything realted to the health industry (except for sheeling out quite a bit of money to them throughout my life), but My understanding was that Glucosamine/Condrointin helped to restore proper fluid levels in the joints of the body, and helped to maintain proper fluid levels once they have been restored. The MSM (or N what ever it is) I thought was supposed to be joint health and cartilage/ligament reltated, helping to maintain the strength of both, so they are mixing the proper fluid levels, with maintaining/strengthening of the cartalidge (sp?) and ligaments/tendons).

Again I'm no doctor, so if someone knows, please do correct me.
I just blindly follow the advice of the old hippie woman in the health food store in Boulder
post #20 of 23
I`ve been taking glucosamine/chondroitin for about 6 years---before it became
de riquer.....The vet prescribed it for Josh ( 95 lb yellow lab.)...who has since ,after 15 years as my buddy, passed on...it worked for him--so I started taking Josh`s meds..out of respect for my buddy-----getting it from the vet...
Now I can get it at Sam`s club 1200 mg-gluco../1000mg chon. in 2 tablets daily. in a 3 month supply.....Josh has left me with good memories and the gluco/chond. habit

Thank you Josh....It seems that vets have a wider range of usage than RD`s ( real doctors)---the feds leave them pretty much alone---they can be very creative----
post #21 of 23
Yep, glucosamine chondroitin does work. I do Airedale rescue and it we give it to the dogs that come in with hip dysplasia. It provides them with noticeable pain relief, and there's no placebo effect with dogs.

Larry, the following link is for you and Josh:

www.petloss.com/poems/maingrp/rainbowb.htm


FASTMAN
post #22 of 23
GREAT STUFF! I have condromylacia(knee pain) and used to wear one of those braces to keep my patela tracking straight. I take 1500 glucosomine, 1200 chondroitin and MSN. Also, try to take 3 mg of Boron per day. after about 3-4 months, no pain, no brace. My dog gets it too!
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hi all

Just back from my trip. The first thing I did was ditch the heal lifts and things improved in the quad/calf situation.

The week started out reasonably well and I had some days where I was feeling fairly comfortable with things.

Around the middle of the week the weather turned quite cold and the mountain became extremely firm. eg groomed runs were 'hard packed' and off-piste well frozen crud.

By Thursday, due to high winds, a few of the groomed runs didn't even have stashes of loose snow along the sides to get an edge in so were really negotiated in a controlled slide for all but those with stiff ice loving skis.

After patrolling in the challenging conditions for a number of days I found that by Friday pm my right knee had become painfull, clicked a lot and collapsed a number of times so I chose to forgo Saturday's powder day and consult the Doc for both my body and boots.

The doctor checked out all my ligaments etc and diagnosed Patella Femoral Syndrome. I then had a recommended boot fitter do some work on my boots and took the day off from skiing. Unfortunately he wasn't able to do any aligment work but at least I am getting a step or two closer.

I went up the hill Sunday, although the knee was still troubling me, as I wanted to see what effect the boot work had.

I only skied for half a day as it was our last day and we had to leave early, but am happy so far. My short turns are much more under control. I am still a little restricted with some stiffness in the ankle of the sore leg which I think resulted in "carrying the knee" for a number of days but a couple of weeks off the snow combined with the exercises given by the doc might fix that.

I am still in the back seat off piste and over rotating with my right shoulder but my feet are firmly making contact with my ski edges which is much better.

Back to the snow in early August so will report more then.
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