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Soft boots

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Here's my problem...I ski aggressively, so when ever i look at boots, im always steered towards a stiffer boot. However, no matter what boot i try, they always seem to hurt my shins. I'm currently in a pair of Salomon Equipe 9.0's from two model years ago. Ive been skiing them last year and this, and for the most part the work fine. However, if i go particularly hard one day, im usually in too much pain to ski again for a few days. I've tried all sorts of different snuggnesses on my boots from super tight, to fairly use, and the pain always comes when i ski hard. I'm 5' 10" and weigh about 160 lbs, i have a relatively flat arch, and an average to moderatly fat width foot (i.e. I dont fit in langes too well) I ski everything and like to ski fast. Does any one else have this problem, and if so are their any boots that might work for me?
post #2 of 21
Check again. I'm on the same boot and lighter than you. Maybe don't ski as agressivly but I can offer a few thoughts.
First off, can you tell if it is bruising or rubbing that is causing your pain. (Bruises turn black/blue purple after a day or 2. Rubbing would be red almost like a rash or lots of little blisters.
What kind of socks, do you use? have you gotten the footbeds.

I found that with proper skiing technique and good alignment/footbeds a lot of rubbing problems go away.

A good fit also helps a lot. Some people wear thicker socks or double socks thinking that this will stop rubbing/blisters. Bad move in boots. I go for the thinest socks I can get my hands on and smooth inside if possible. These seem to create less friction and less problems. a properly fitted footbed will keep your foot from rolling inside the boot and stop a lot of rubbing also. The harder you ski the more important it is to keep the foot from rolling (pronating supunating) as this will cause movement in the shins no matter how tight or loose your buckles are.

If you are bruising there is a whole different approach. but since you say the next few days you can't even ski I suspect it's the former..
post #3 of 21
Sounds like you have shinbang. I had this problem last year and I found that by tightening up the upper buckles on my boot that it went away. It happens when you have too much space between your shin and your tongue. The other thing that might be happenign is that you just plain sit back too much.

Hope this helps.
post #4 of 21
above two are right on track. Too much space, try a neoprene tongue shim. Some people use a thin piece of plastic to help if it's rubbing, others just shave their shins.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
I wear smartwool, light cushioned ski socks, pretty much the thinnest they make and have superfeet footbeds. Boots were fitted by probably the best bootfitters in my area. The pain is like a shin splint, if you've ever had them to compare too. theres not really any reddening or bruising. it just hurts a lot. i do have a tendency to ski from the back seat, but i think this is derived somewhat from the belief that it will hurt my shins less. i was thinking i could try a boot with a softer flex maybe, or is that a bad move?
post #6 of 21
ECR, (good shortening bob)
I think I know what you are doing. I do this when I don't think about it and it starts to hurt. almost like a pulled muscle in the front of your shin?
If you keep at it for a day it almost feels like you have been sitting and holding up weights with your toes?
Yes sitting back on your skis makes it worse.

I find it comes from skiing hard on varied terrain and leaning "up the hill" and not staying commited to the fall line. Also trying too hard to "suck up" my legs under me to absorb really non-existant bumps. In crud and varied terrain if I just continue to push my tips into the valleys or spaces and extend my legs into the belly of the turns don't lift my toes while retracting my legs as I "cross under" the symptom seems to go away. Maybe Bob can explain the mechanics of this.

Oh yeah I also found more pulling back of the feet instead of trying to catch up with my skis also makes a big difference with this symptom.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited March 15, 2001).]</FONT>
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
dchan, thats the exact pain i have. i can usually ski the first run ok, but after a while i start to hurt. i havent skied in a week, and today i was totally off on my first run, and the pain came quickly. the pain makes it hard for me to stay forward, and that may lead to further problems, as i felt totally disconnected when i was skiing today. i suffer from shin splints when i run, could this pain be related, or is it just poor form? i'm self taugh other then tips i picked up from my brother or by watching people ski (been skiing since i was 3, making it 14 years now)...would be a good idea to take a lesson, or what?
post #8 of 21
The shin splints don't help but I found that the fix is a form problem. Take a lesson, Private would be better because you are trying to fix a specific problem. Make sure you ask the director of the school for a Level 3 or examiner. When you talk to the instructor, let him know "you think you have a balance/backseat problem you want to fix". You probably also want to tell him/her the pain symptom. Using the descriptions like I did in my earlier post would be very helpful for the instructor to hear. It isolates the muscle groups and movements for their evaluation. Be open to doing a lot of work on easy groomed runs. There are a lot of primary movements that go into fixing this on the steep stuff. Probably the biggest fix will be learning to use your ankles and lower legs to keep your balance rather than large upper body movements to do the same. Very subtle movements in the feet/ankles can do a great deal to correcting fore/aft balance problems I have found. It took an expert trained eye to help me on this one too.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited March 17, 2001).]</FONT>
post #9 of 21
by the way, If anyone was behind me when I wrote the earlier post about the weights on the toes, they probably would have been ROFL. I was putting things on top of my feet and pulling this way and that way, trying to figure out what isolated those feelings. I'm a pretty tactile and visually oriented learner.

post #10 of 21
If you are still following this thread, It sounds ironic that you are suggesting that we don't move to softer boots, and yet everyone keeps buying the stiffest boots they can find and then soften them up by cutting the V out of the cuff.

Before everyone asks, No I did not cut the V out of mine. My prolink shells are unaltered except for the cuff cant and liner work for fit..<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited March 17, 2001).]</FONT>
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
have you had any luck with your performa's in stopping shin pain? the main reason i got mine was for racing purposes, but i ran out of cash so i skied them from everything. i think i may not be heavy enough to flex this boot properly to ski it for all mountain riding, as it is i cant really overflex it when my shins feel good.
post #12 of 21
Actually ECR,
I pretty much stopped the shin pain by the corrections in my skiing. Since a lot of these are new skills, every so often I fall into my bad habits (mucho years of practicing movements that no longer apply due to new technology) and the pain is back.
I don't think I flex my boots much at all anymore. As these new skills get ingrained in my skiing, there should be less and less pain. As soon as I start to feel a little pain it reminds me to correct my movements.

What movement you are probably now asking...

On older straight skis I had to drive the knee forward in order to get the boot to drive the shovel of the ski to bend. (see thread on skiing from the shovel) This put a lot of pressure on the shins, flexed the boot some and made the instep of my boot jam into the top of my foot. I also would pull my knees up along with my ankles and almost lift my toes to unweight my skis and initiate my turns. (again older styles) this Lifting of the toes and pulling up of the knees at the same time put a great deal of tension on the front muscles of the shin. now stretched out and impact on the bump or into the steeps was almost like getting a charlie horse, I think this was the source of the pain.

Since then I have learned to lead my turns with my downhill knee/leg. This stopped me from "popping up the hill" and lifting my knees and legs. Instead it forced me to move my CM down the hill with little or now upward movement. This was/is now my "committed to the fall line" I mentioned in my earlier post. It is also my way of not leaning up the hill.

Then thinking as if your boots had a clock on them. 12:00 straight ahead, 10:00 left front 2:00 right front. I used to drive my knees forward 12:00 to pressure the tips of my skis and init the turns.
Now I use 10:00/2:00 positions, and only light pressure or contact only if you will, at these locations, I tip both skis at the same time and work on getting steering and adjusting my turn size. By not concentrating on where my weight is (how much on each ski) I find that my body will move and balance all the forces to keep me from getting pitched over my skis. Using the ankles' flexion instead to gently press the tips into following the terrain, and extending my legs to fill each "hole" in the terrain or to reach into the belly of the turn.

By using the ankles to maintain ski contact with the snow at all times Extension of the legs and small movements starting at the ankles to keep my CM centered over the skis, and moving down the hill, I found that I am much more relaxed and only making small adjustments through my turns. This fixed the "cramping, tension" pains I had in my shins. Like I said though, I still lapse into old habits.

Does that make sense?<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited March 17, 2001).]</FONT>
post #13 of 21
Mr. Ripper, I believe, it sounds like your shin are getting pretty "ripped" themselves.

I suggest the following:

1. Thorlo socks.

2. Check out the fit of your boots, think seriously about some custom made foot beds and other adjustments to your boots.

You will need to see professional boot fitter for the foot beds.

3.If that doesn't work, see your professional boot fiter, about new boots, that incorporate your foot beds, then do an alignment after you find the right fitting boot.

If that doesn't solve your problems get another boot fitter, and if the problems STILL remain unresolved, find another sport to rip up the slopes, eg snowboarding.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by wink (edited March 18, 2001).]</FONT>
post #14 of 21
I pretty much agree with Woody and dchan on everything they said. Boot fit and technique are the two major factors here. I also used to have problems with shin bang...getting a goot fit and getting used to skiing in a more centered stance has completely cured the problem. Am also in Salomon Equipe 9.0 boots and weigh only 150 lb. I don't think the softness of boot flex has a lot to do with shin bang.

Having a snug fit is crucial. Your shin should always be in GENTLE contact with the boot tongue. If there is too much free space between your shin and boot tongue you will end up banging your shin against the front of your boot throughout the day. This also applies to your feet as well--they should NOT be sliding fore-aft at all with your boots buckled, or you will have the same problem. I generally buckle the top two buckles quite tightly (with the heel of my hand) and leave the bottom two more loosely (i.e. I can close them with one or two fingers). Putting the powerstrap inside the shell, as gashw suggested, might help too but I don't have any experience with it myself.

Technique is the other issue. If you tend to ski with your body too far back or pressure the tips too much you will also end up with shin bang. Keep light but consistent pressure on your boot tongues all the time.

Changing socks, neoprene pads, etc only treat the symptom and do not address the underlying causes.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
where might i get neoprene shin pads? i can see how adjusting body position might help, but how does that translate into sking better and painfree on steeps, bumps, etc. thats why i feel i need a softer boot, b/c those boots just werent made for bumps. i generally dont ski groomers except when its icy or everything else is poor.
post #16 of 21
By learning how your body moves with more efficiency, you start to use your bone stucture and movements that are stronger with out expending as much energy. This translates into stronger turns, more energy, less fatigue and smoother skiing. All this is the primary reason to fix your technique. The no shin pain (I don't really want to call it shin bang because I don't think that is the primary cause of your pain) is just a happy benefit.

By learning to move across your skis on to the edges instead of driving the knee into the front of the boot, you release the edges and begin carving earlier. On steeps this translates to better speed control because your skis will not be gaining speed in the early part of the turn that you need to scrub off at the end of the turn. Your early commitment to each turn and learning how fast or how much edge angle you need to make certain type turns means you can react to objets in your way better. By seldom letting your skis leave the snow means a lot less time that you do not have control of your skis and can continue to turn or make adjustments.

In bumps proper technique will keep balanced over the skis instead of in the back seat. less chance of blown ACL. Smoother skiing looks real cool, and not fighting to keep your balance will be less tiring.T hen all your buddies that ski bumps with you using pure muscle will be envious of you for skiing bumps all day long and not being as worn out.

It's all pros and no cons. and a lot more fun IMO.

By the way, I ski my Performa 9.0 equipes in everything. Bumps, Steeps, Crud, groomed, hardpack, Powder. No problems with being too stiff.
I'm 5'8" 155 lbs, PSIA lvl 9? and although maybe not as agressive as some skiers, I think I do pretty good all over the mountain.(ask DD or AC)<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited March 19, 2001).]</FONT>
post #17 of 21
ECR, is the pain up high or down close to the ankle? Is the problem pressure or friction ? The first thing you have to do is find out if your to far down in your boot , shim up under your heel and see if this helps. This will bring your ankle up and put your leg in better line with the flex pattern of the boot , along with this make sure that your buckles disribute even pressure from the top of your foot to the top of the boot. You can also try a little trick we used years ago to cure the dreaded Lange bang , smear vaseline on you shins and slip a plastic bag with the bottom cut out over your foot to go from the ankle to above your boot , (do this under your sock). If this helps you know your problem is friction related . Cutting the tongue out and leaving it loose to float can help with this , personally I've cut the tongues out of every pair of boots for myself for years until this years Atomics which are already floating and not fixed to the liner hard.
Give this stuff a try before buying , might work.
post #18 of 21
I know that Jeff Rich (NYC) sells em'....I do think Greg Hoffman/TJ/Scott sell a couple at GMOL @Stratton.

*Alignment sidebar...a footbed tweak and my boot's cuff has seemingly come alive!. There's nothing like proper alignment to straighten things out...and put your shins into great shape in the cuff.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
sounds like i have a few things to try...ill let you guys know how everything works out, probably wont be on snow again till saturday afternoon hopefully, as i have practice in the morning. thanks for the input, i think ill get some leasons early next season when the skiing isnt all that great and theres nothing else to do.
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
hi all,
i tried the vaseline and plastic bag thing, and i dont think it did anything. i did realize that the pain starts right near the top of the boot though, right in the powerstrap area or just above. i tried flexing my legs in as many ways possible, and the pain was still there. im not sure i understand the concept of running the powerstrap under the shell. could you clarify gashw? do i run it under the tounge of the boot as well??
post #21 of 21
i'm 17 also and i race, so we're in similar... umm... boots.... I'm using L10 ACD's and i had to pad the tongue with 2 foam pads (almost a Cm thick in total), and i still have shin bang when i'm not on groomed/hardpack. i'm very used to racing and never in the back seat here in the east, but when i went out to jackson, i got really kicked around the first couple of days because i was trying to power my skis through everything and i was in and out of the backseat... man my shins were killing me, but i learned to stay on balance a bit more and i no longer had problems. the key really is technique. the boots aren't too stiff for you and all the orthotics in the world cant help you if you bounce back and forth from the back seat (not saying that you do, btw). work on never letting yourself go back in the first place; constant pressure on your shins, and your pain will go away

It's not bragging if it's true - Mohammed Ali

There are two reasons for everything, the good reason and the real reason
-J. Pierpont Morgan

If life was easy everyone would be successful.
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