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Less side-cut = more knee swelling?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
So I have been demoing for almost a year and I may have come to a sudden conclusion that I would like some comments on. I seem to suffer from fluid build up in my right knee when I ski on sticks that have less side-cut.

I have mostly been skiing in decent west coast snow on skis 80 mm to 100 mm wide in varying conditions.

Here are the stats:

Mantra, Line Prophet 100, Rossi Z9 (only 74mm) = No swelling.

B3, AC-4 (has some decent shape to it), BRO (188 blems mismatch flex) = Lots of swelling.

I don't know if it is stiffness of the skis or how I feel on them, but it has been fairly dramatic in the differences on my knee health.

Regarding the Bros - I am still waiting on my sticks to arrive in the soft flex and the blems that PM Gear so graciously sent for me to ride in the mean time are most likely not a fair comparison. **side note - PM Gear is a very impressive company that has been a joy to work and interact with - highly recommended**

The skis that did not cause swelling seem to initiate turns much easier and were able to carve better for my skiing style. I feel there is less strain/torque on the knee, the turn takes less effort and feels more stable throughout the arc.

History on my knee is that when I was 16 (now 33) I had surgery to repair a dislocating knee cap (8 dislocations prior to surgery). I recovered well from the surgery, played collegiate football, continue to play regular ice hockey, and have skied anywhere from 3 to 30 days every year since the surgery.

Prior to demoing this past year I suffered from swelling when i skied, but I only skied on either older straight skis or a moderately cut early model parabolic ski (1999) from Elan.

Anyone have a position on this?
post #2 of 15
If you're torquing your skis around, you definitely will hurt your knees more with a straighter or a longer ski; the side cut helps it around. If you tip the skis and keep the knees directly above the skis and only apply downward pressure without applying torque, it shouldn't matter, though width might.
post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by tchpdx View Post
....
History on my knee is that when I was 16 (now 33) I had surgery to repair a dislocating knee cap (8 dislocations prior to surgery). I recovered well from the surgery, played collegiate football, continue to play regular ice hockey, and have skied anywhere from 3 to 30 days every year since the surgery.

Prior to demoing this past year I suffered from swelling when i skied, but I only skied on either older straight skis or a moderately cut early model parabolic ski (1999) from Elan.

Anyone have a position on this?
Not yet, but I just find it interesting that our knee history is so similar: I had 8 dislocations, a lateral release at age 17 (now I'm 38), played collegiate soccer, have competed regularly at tennis since then, etc....

My knees aren't too bad when I ski. My left knee (the dislocating one) is fine when I ski; the other one is suffering, but that really just started last year when I aggravated it. I find that it swells up the longer I'm in ski boots. I haven't switched skis too often, so I can't compare sidecuts.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
If you're torquing your skis around, you definitely will hurt your knees . . .
How do you describe torquing? I used that term to describe the inward movement of the knee while putting the downhill ski on edge and applying pressure.

I have been told I ski with good form and technique, but I know I force things at times in not so good conditions or while over thinking my line.

I was surprised at the lack of swelling that occurred on the skis I mentioned and to be honest I enjoyed the way they skied over the ones that did cause swelling. The choice sounds like a no brainer, but I wanted some insight into it as it was new to me.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
. . . . a lateral release at age 17 (now I'm 38) . . .
segbrown - I often wonder how they treat this issue today. Did you ever get your quad to re-gain the size to the other leg? That was a bummer of a surgery that left me in a hip to ankle cast for six weeks and on crutches for almost twelve weeks.

I feel lucky to be able to do all the things I want athletically, but wonder if through physical therapy, and maybe not participating in sports like football and wrestling, I could have avoided the surgery.

I know that if I don't diligently work on my legs in the gym my balance and stability suffer greatly - it is all about joint strength, no heavy weights anymore.

I haven't met to many people who have been through the same ordeal. Nice to know you are still very active and skiing
post #6 of 15

curious

why did you buy a ski in the "lots of swelling " group?
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Duke - I bought the Bros because I couldn't demo them and they appear to fit my need in a ski at this moment. With that said I also know the demand for the Bro will allow me to pass it along at cost to someone else that is desiring it - high demand and low product equates to an easy sell if I decide the ski is not for me.

Like I said, I'm not sure the current blem Bros I'm skiing truly reflect the product I will receive. I really like the way the Bros ski and feel very confident on them, but my knee did swell up a bit the two days I've had on them.

I'm also considering riding the Bros alpine this season and then switching them to an AT set-up next season. The wife is going to work and dual incomes means more skis for me
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by tchpdx View Post
How do you describe torquing? I used that term to describe the inward movement of the knee while putting the downhill ski on edge and applying pressure.

I have been told I ski with good form and technique, but I know I force things at times in not so good conditions or while over thinking my line.

I was surprised at the lack of swelling that occurred on the skis I mentioned and to be honest I enjoyed the way they skied over the ones that did cause swelling. The choice sounds like a no brainer, but I wanted some insight into it as it was new to me.
As you define torque, the wider ski needs to be torqued more to get it on edge.

I meant torque about an axis perpendicular to the plane of the ski base, torquing your toes around your heels, such as you might use pivoting on the top of a bump, or trying to get the front edge to dig in a little more.

Although if your knees and ankles are bent there will be a little of the latter in the former.
post #9 of 15
H. Harb says wider skis are harder on the knees and skis with a waist around 68 are wide enough for most conditions without stressing the knee.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by tchpdx View Post
segbrown - I often wonder how they treat this issue today. Did you ever get your quad to re-gain the size to the other leg? That was a bummer of a surgery that left me in a hip to ankle cast for six weeks and on crutches for almost twelve weeks.
No, my quad on that side is still short. I know that knee surgery in general is much more aggressive with range of motion and moving your knee asap after surgery, and NOT immobilizing the knee as they did many years ago. I was not on crutches 12 weeks, but it was a while. I had a scope rather than an open procedure. That leg was soooo atrophied when I started rehab.

I know they still perform lateral releases, but I understand that if it isn't a tight retinaculum causing the misalignment, it won't help at all. And apparently it's definitely a surgery to be done by a patellar specialist. So I've heard some horror stories ... but mine was very successful.

Quote:
I feel lucky to be able to do all the things I want athletically, but wonder if through physical therapy, and maybe not participating in sports like football and wrestling, I could have avoided the surgery.
Well, possibly so. But I'll tell you, my left (surgery) knee that was my bad one during my teen years is really okay now. My trouble is that my patellas are poorly aligned and don't track properly ... the right knee was fine until a few years ago, and now I have no end of trouble with the swelling because the many years of activity have worn off the back of my kneecap. I almost wish I'd had the surgery on it, too, because my left is better.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
segbrown - I had the full on open surgery and othro. They released the outside portion of my right quad and then moved the inside portion up higher to get a more inward pull.

My dislocations occurred when the quad was contracted and I then had some sort of inconsequential contact to my knee cap. This would cause the dislocation and subsequent bone chips to come off the backside of the knee cap.

I know my surgery was done well as the "work" has been evaluated by several ortho specialist since it was completed - I feel very lucky about that.

My left knee is still stronger than my right, but mostly related to balance and quickness - not overall strength.

1989 seems like a long time ago when you start talking about medical advances.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post
H. Harb says wider skis are harder on the knees and skis with a waist around 68 are wide enough for most conditions without stressing the knee.
The tip/tail dimensions also matter, a heavy hourglass will create more torque than a narrower one. My knees are horrible, they swell up all the time. It's easier on the knees for me to ride a GS ski than a short radius carver.

And this moving the knees inside and then pressuring them? Wow, that's gotta hurt!
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
And this moving the knees inside and then pressuring them? Wow, that's gotta hurt!
I am apparently not doing a very good job of describing my skiing position. I am not doing anything stupid with my body while initiating the turn and I probably should never have used the word torque to describe a movement.

Please look at this thread . . . (I don't have picture posting rights yet) http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...kiing+pictures

The 9th picture down shows SierraJim in the midst of a turn. Please notice how his downhill knee is canted in towards his uphill knee. This is the position that I was trying to describe in writing.

Hope that helps. . . .
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Here is the picture I was refering to in my last post . . . .



and one more to drive the point home . . .
post #15 of 15
Hmmm..... There is what appears to be an edging movement happening at the knee, in the belly of the turn. That can be a problem, because it loads the medial and lateral compartments (inside of the knee joint and outside of the knee joint) unequally. I suspect you swell up more on the outside of the knee?

I personally try to use more hip angulation at that point, while keeping the knee square to the topsheet of the ski. My result is that the swelling is nice and even.:

But seriously, the more equally you spread the pressure between medial and lateral compartments, the easier it will be on your knees.

You may want to visit a bootfitter to make sure that your knees are tracking nicely, and don't do any funny stuff while flexing, like tracking out then in or tracking in then out..... That's a torque too, which can have nasty side effects, like knee swelling/meniscus tears etc...

Also, over/undercanting will create unequal loads on the knee joint. It's well worth getting properly aligned -- especially when past surgery was involved. The knees become a lot less forgiving after that, as well as with age.

Go see a bootfitter!
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