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sore shins

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Recently I have been coming out of my classic intermediates back seat stance and discovering the advantages of of keeping my weight more forward. I have also been discovering the advantages of flexing from the ankles and knees rather than knees and waist. I feel like my short turns in wide steeps and narrow paths (my all time bug bear) have improved. If things start falling apart in intimidating situations I can usually get them back on track by focusing on projecting my weight down the fall line looking for that reassuring ankle flex and shin pressure at the end of the turn confirming that my weight has not gone back.

Thats the good news.

The bad news is that I sometimes get some muscular/tendon pain in the front of my right shin. I don't notice it too much when skiing, but after a few days of skiing I can feel it when walking or when lifting my foot off the gas pedal in the car. Sometimes in hard juddery piste conditions I can feel some pain while skiing. My ski boots are about 8 years old and otherwise very comfortable. I sense they are too stiff so I keep the front buckles relatively loose.

My question is whether this is a well known bad-technique related problem, or should I just accept it as recurring sports strain.
post #2 of 19
Two Possible Issue here (that I know of - I'm sure there is more)

The pain in your shin may be a sporting problem known as shin splints (I suffered from this years ago) - This is caused/exacerbated as follows
You should use the muscles /tendons on the front of your lower leg to flex the ankle (lift the toes by changing the angle of feet to shins) - and they are designed to support the weight of the foot (which is minimal) - like when you lift off the gas pedal
BUT - If you use these muscles to pull you forwards over your skis (which is something you are focussing on) you are trying to lift the whole body weight (at a slieght angle) - Obviously this does no good - imagine trying to lift yourself out of your driving seat by putting your foot under the gas pedal and lifting it up !!!!

Better is to acheieve any forward flex you need is by consciously relaxing calves (which may be tense and resisting the action) and by allowing your waist muscles to pull your upper body forward (which is what it is designed for - the six-pack) having done this you can simply relax forward onto your shins with gravity rather than against it

You mention juddery piste conditions - pistes are actually stationary - it is you who is juddering! Why - If you have very tense lower legs / or very straight/extended legs there is little elasticity so you bounce - like a toy parachutist with dead straight legs dropped on the floor, If you allow yourself to be more elastic/relaxed not only will you go with the flow, the elasticity will absorb much of the bouce so your whole body (jaws teeth eyeballs) will not shake about. This will improve balance (your ears/ears are rubbish when vibrated)and also mean that lower (transitional) forces are applied to the skis by your body (because there is less to shake about), so they will in any case ride more smoothly

- this will mean that the juddering will simply cease and you will be able to hold a carved turn much better

good luck - relax and flex and the pain will go
post #3 of 19
I'm no expert, but maybe it is a combination of two things...

1) using some new muscle groups

2) packed out boot lining

All in all I would say treat yourself to a good pair of easier to flex boots with brand new high tech liners. Just make sure they are a perfect fit so they don't pack out and your back to a sloppy boot problem.

My last pair of boot were so bad, combined with too MUCH forward pressure I would get broken skin and bruises along the front of my shinbones. At the end of ski season I would have 2 matching red lines downs the front of each shin.... Got new boots, feel great.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fairly
Two Possible Issue here (that I know of - I'm sure there is more)

The pain in your shin may be a sporting problem known as shin splints (I suffered from this years ago) - This is caused/exacerbated as follows
You should use the muscles /tendons on the front of your lower leg to flex the ankle (lift the toes by changing the angle of feet to shins) - and they are designed to support the weight of the foot (which is minimal) - like when you lift off the gas pedal
BUT - If you use these muscles to pull you forwards over your skis (which is something you are focussing on) you are trying to lift the whole body weight (at a slieght angle) - Obviously this does no good - imagine trying to lift yourself out of your driving seat by putting your foot under the gas pedal and lifting it up !!!!

Better is to acheieve any forward flex you need is by consciously relaxing calves (which may be tense and resisting the action) and by allowing your waist muscles to pull your upper body forward (which is what it is designed for - the six-pack) having done this you can simply relax forward onto your shins with gravity rather than against it

You mention juddery piste conditions - pistes are actually stationary - it is you who is juddering! Why - If you have very tense lower legs / or very straight/extended legs there is little elasticity so you bounce - like a toy parachutist with dead straight legs dropped on the floor, If you allow yourself to be more elastic/relaxed not only will you go with the flow, the elasticity will absorb much of the bouce so your whole body (jaws teeth eyeballs) will not shake about. This will improve balance (your ears/ears are rubbish when vibrated)and also mean that lower (transitional) forces are applied to the skis by your body (because there is less to shake about), so they will in any case ride more smoothly

- this will mean that the juddering will simply cease and you will be able to hold a carved turn much better

good luck - relax and flex and the pain will go
Thanks for this helpful advice. I am not noted for my flexibility or relaxed state no you are probably right on the mark. One thing that still confuses me though, is how can a muscle that needs to be contracted be relaxed at the same time. If I am in the middle of a turn with my shins in contact with the front of my boots and my knees slightly bent (i.e. not stacked or locked out), my quads need to be contracted to support my weight. I only know one way to do this. The idea of being relaxed and strong at the same time all sounds more like a (zen) state of mind rather than a physiological practicality.

Having said all this I do tense up my foot inside my ski boot when trying to hold an edge. I used to believe that the ski boot locked up the foot and so foot movements and lateral ankle movements within the boot were impossible and futile. Recently I have noticed that they do make a difference. Should I be relaxing my foot and ankle to help absord vibrations from hard pistes?
post #5 of 19
Wish I had a video to show you.
You need to absorb the terrain with your legs. By being relaxed most of the time you can then react to the terrain changes. By being stiff or tensed, you're not able to react because your muscles are already engaged.

Think of playing tennis, you are on the baseline anticipating the ball. Relaxed and ready to move, your legs are in an atheletic position but not stiff.
post #6 of 19
Pretty sure this would be a great exercise for you

Ski a gentle wide blue run (european blue) with very wide carving turns
See how many toes you can wiggle or if you can tap out a rhythm with them all the way round the turn (this is just an exercise)

Regarding your quads - they don't support your hips they extend your shins (kicking action)

Each muscle group along a limb moves the next section relative to the joint so actually your buttocks are used to bring your hips forward and weight up - and if your hips are centred over your boots you need very little quad tension (because your knees are reasonably straight - though not locked) - unless you are extremely angulated (which from your post seems unlikely)
post #7 of 19
It could be a number of things, Technique will help. without more info it's hard to tell.

8 year old boots are probably a bit stiff so you might be getting a little bit of excessive shin bang. You didn't mention what kind of boots, your weight or "ability" level.

Newer boots are molded out of 2 different plastics so they can be made softer on the forward flex and stiffer laterally.

If you insist on keeping the boots, you might try a booster strap. Run the strap tight around the liner but under the buckles. Then leave the upper buckles looser. This will give you a more progressive flex (less shin bang) and make the boot feel and act softer in the forward direction without losing the lateral stiffness.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fairly
Pretty sure this would be a great exercise for you

Ski a gentle wide blue run (european blue) with very wide carving turns
See how many toes you can wiggle or if you can tap out a rhythm with them all the way round the turn (this is just an exercise)

Regarding your quads - they don't support your hips they extend your shins (kicking action)
Thanks, I do appreciate your advice.

The quads do indeed extend the shins if the body is a fixed point of reference (e.g the infamous inefficient use of large muscles in the front crawl kicking action). but if the lower leg is braced against the ground or a ski boot they also support the weight of the upper legs and body. Some of the most impressive leg press performances at my local gym are performed by skiers (myself excluded :-) ).
post #9 of 19
OK - I see where you are coming from

But this is a separate issue from the original

Consider the implausible concept of skiing with your hips in front of your boots and bent forward at the waist - Obviously you need tension in the calves - to stop your shins collapsing forwards (rather than tension in the shins) also to prevent your chest from flopping onto your knees you need tension in your buttock and backs of thighs - In this extreme hips forward rather than ass backwards stance you dont need any tension in your quads or shins

OK so it isnt real, but it makes my point that if you (as you say) have been driving from the backseat - is it possible that you have been overrelying on your quads and shins for support or recovery - I believe it is plausible - but only you know how it feels when these sets of muscles are pulling

If I am wrong fine - but you must know the exercise of skiing imagining you are cracking a walnut between your cheeks (sometimes put more crudely in hip pumping terms) - The reason for this was to get people to get the feel of weight forward if it was backward - You say that you suffered this problem and perhaps still do and so I am suggesting it may be that in recovering it you are straining yourself
post #10 of 19
Don't know if these helps.

Using your abs:
http://www.psia.org/psia_2002/educat...pring96abs.asp

Toes control:
http://www.psia.org/psia_2002/educat...er00toesup.asp

If if it was me, I would want to practice sideslipping and falling leave
with right side leg as downhill. Try to understand neutral position to
correct back-sitting position.
Learn to tune fwd/aft balance with just front/calves muscle tightless controls
without visible movement of body parts. Build it up from there.

-Kin.
post #11 of 19
You can get aftermarket tongues for your boots, btw.
post #12 of 19
Blah Blah Blah! to all of the above.

Before you get all out a wack and spend big bucks for new boots or this or that try this simple solution:

Put a 1/8" to 1/4" heel lift in each boot underneath the liner.

What you are desrcibing is a muscular effort to stay forward! This is why your dorsi flexion muscles are sore at the end of the day because you are using them to stay forward in your boots BECAUSE YOUR RAMP ANGLE AND DELTA ANGLES ARE TOO FLAT!

Because your equipment is forcing you back you have no choice but to fight to stay forward WHICH YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO DO. A properly balanced boot/binding in the fore/aft plane will afford you a comfortable balanced stance without all that effort.

You can also experiment with temporary shims placed on top of your binding heel piece or the toe AFD. Use a bontex 3mm insole shim trimmed down to approximately 1" by 2" piece.

What brand of bindings are you using? The reason I ask is...if you are using Salomons or Atomics they are the flattest stand height bindings on the market and if you have a long boot sole length too, these two factors alone will move your stance back toward your heels.

Once you find your zone in the fore/aft plane try to recreate it whenever you change equipment so that your stance stays centered.

And you thought it was poor technique?.....

"You are better than you think! Just get your boots aligned and that will prove it!"

see ramp angle article at www.snowind.com for more detail
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman
Blah Blah Blah! to all of the above.

Before you get all out a wack and spend big bucks for new boots or this or that try this simple solution:

Put a 1/8" to 1/4" heel lift in each boot underneath the liner.

What you are desrcibing is a muscular effort to stay forward! This is why your dorsi flexion muscles are sore at the end of the day because you are using them to stay forward in your boots BECAUSE YOUR RAMP ANGLE AND DELTA ANGLES ARE TOO FLAT!

Because your equipment is forcing you back you have no choice but to fight to stay forward WHICH YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO DO. A properly balanced boot/binding in the fore/aft plane will afford you a comfortable balanced stance without all that effort.

You can also experiment with temporary shims placed on top of your binding heel piece or the toe AFD. Use a bontex 3mm insole shim trimmed down to approximately 1" by 2" piece.

What brand of bindings are you using? The reason I ask is...if you are using Salomons or Atomics they are the flattest stand height bindings on the market and if you have a long boot sole length too, these two factors alone will move your stance back toward your heels.

Once you find your zone in the fore/aft plane try to recreate it whenever you change equipment so that your stance stays centered.

And you thought it was poor technique?.....

"You are better than you think! Just get your boots aligned and that will prove it!"

see ramp angle article at www.snowind.com for more detail
Thanks to all for all the helpful advice.

My bindings are Look bindings. I have been reluctant to blame my equipment, because it opens you up to all sorts of cliched abuse about about bad workmen etc. Also, once I decide that equipment is an issue it creates a phychological hurdle.

However, I have done about 100 days of ski time in my boots and they are 9-10 year old technology. The 1st time I heard the advice that ski boots need to allow foward flex (about 5 years ago) I was a bit concerned because my impression is that my boots are very stiff. I can flex forward a bit but most of the flex comes from play in the fit (e.g the cuffs) not from bending of the plastic. I have also noticed that when I go up a T-bar with my wife my boots are alway 6-12 inches ahead of hers. This could be due to due male vs female geometry issues, or a back seat position (I deliberately do not pressure the front of my boots on drag lifts to reduce the tendency of my skis to catch edges and wander around), but I think some of the cause may be due to upright, stiff boots.

Also as mentioned before I do tense my feet inside the boots. I even noticed myself subconciously pressing down my big toe when I was walking down an icy hill in my street shoes.
post #14 of 19
These boots of yours aren't by any chance Nordica rear entry models are they?

Don't be an ostrich and stick your head in the sand over equipment. Getting it right takes some effort and expertise but the fruits are sweet.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman
Blah Blah Blah! to all of the above.

Before you get all out a wack and spend big bucks for new boots or this or that try this simple solution:
man I love Bud Heishman.
post #16 of 19
I agree with Bud on the ramp angle, but i sounds like it is time for new boots and also time to check your fore and aft allignment along with any canting problems you might have. Both are a good investment.
post #17 of 19
Heel lifts don't change the cuff angle, they only open the ankle joint in the boot(which can make it easier to pressure the front). What they do do is make the boot easier to bend by giving you a little more leverage against the cuff. They usually make me put more pressure on my heel. For me it's harder to finish the carve at the end of the turn without a lot of quadricep action. My calves get sore from them too. Modern technique is more upright and "stacked" over the ski.
George Twardokkens found that skiers usually have well developed anterior tibialis muscles. If you haven't been using yours they may be sore for awhile.
post #18 of 19
Stiff boots & loose buckles is a prescription for shin bang. Snug those buckles up!

Back seat is always gonna hurt.

Try Press your shins comfortably into the boot tongue, constantly.

How do we know all this stuff?? ;-)

CalG
post #19 of 19
Heel lifts are not the only way to gain the correct ramp angle. Fst it must be deternined if ramp angle is the problem, if so, lowering the front of the footbed under the liner is another way of changing the ramp angle. The ankle joint must hinge at the same place the boot hinges. In some cases, the bindings can affect ramp angle. Also, the power strap or booster strap should be only around the soft part of the liner in the front of the boot so it can keep any gap closed behind the calf. Many newer boots are designed for the power strap to be used this way. Being able to get a natural flex to your boots is essential to be able to keep your ankles flexed (dorsal flexion).
Hope this helps you, jpowrie
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