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Boot stiffness and injury

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I don't know where else to ask, but here's my question:

Do skiers that use boots that are "too stiff" injure their knees more often than those whose boots are the correct stiffness for their size and ability?

Or is the forward lean in the "too stiff" boot more to blame? (I'm thinking really stiff boots are race boots, and race boots usually have a serious forward lean.)

I recall injury statistics from the 70's were that more knee injuries occured as boots got taller, with a corresponding decrease in ankle injuries. (Moving away from the old low leather boots.)

This is purely conjecture, but I am in the market for new boots.....
post #2 of 5

Remember that the ski boot is an energy transmitter. That transmitter broadcasts both ways. I found that out personally out west this year.

I went from an ill-fitting, medium flex all mountain boot. To a 130 stiffness, close fit racing boot. Worked great ion groomed, new and soft crud snow. They also worked great in the bumps especially in steering the zipper-line. However, when my technique failed me and I had to take a few mogul on and did not properly apply A/E those stiff flexing boots transmitted the hit from those bumps into me pretty dramatically. It really made me pause and have to shake a couple of those off. I could see how stiff racing boot and the wrong skier could lead to injury.

I wonder if there are any industry studies out there?

post #3 of 5

Some articles

Well found some articles on my own:

Check this quote out from http://www.sportsmed.org/sml/document.asp?did=132, very interesting on their take on boots.

"Boots are less important in the prevention of injuries, though you should be mindful of their proper fit and the amount of external wear on your boots. When buying boots, be sure to get a proper fit from a knowledgeable salesperson. Check that the toe and heel of your boots have little external wear and are clean. This will allow proper release from the binding.

Proper ski length may also affect injury rate. Shorter skis are easier to turn and control but may be less stable at high speeds. Newer skis have more sidecut (the curve on the sides of your ski). This helps skiers of all ability levels carve turns more easily. Some research suggests that this feature may cause more twisting injuries to the knee. Regardless, it is important to keep your ski edges in good condition to allow for proper carving of a turn and to control your speed, especially on hard pack or icy conditions."

But how about this from a Ski Mag article http://www.skimag.com/skimag/fitness...3725-1,00.html.

"There is no single explanation for the epidemic, but one leading theory involves a combination of factors. Today’s stiff, forward-leaning boots apply greater pressure to a skier’s ACL. Meanwhile, modern skis carve so readily and hold an edge so well that when skiers lose balance to the rear, their skis can continue turning across the hill, resulting in a twisted knee. (See "How It Happens," page 201, for a more detailed explanation of this, the so-called "phantom foot" scenario.)"

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the links! BTW: the correct link from the SKI article is:


Their description of the phantom foot assumes the boot is tall enough to supply the forward leverage necessary to push on the calf. I suspect that this sort of "phantom foot" injury does not occur with such frequency on cross-country skiers, simply because the boot cuff is lower. It can also happen on a jump, where landing back levers the tibia forwards as the ski makes contact from tail to tip.

The point about the huge sidecuts and micro-radius skis should also be highlighted. That would suggest that intermediate skiers should AVOID the HP short radiused skis.

This article suggests that the majority of cross-country knee injuries are MCL, not ACL, from catching a tip.


I'm sure there are more.

It seems that rear-ward stiff boots, very short radius skis, high cuffs, and extreme forward lean can increase the likelihood of ACL injury. Got to look more at this. Didn't Lange make a boot that released the cuff rearwards on over-pressure?
post #5 of 5
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