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Adjusting fore/aft balance

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I know this is the third fore-aft balance thread, but I don't want to crash anyone else's party ...

Me: About 240lbs, 6'3", reasonably aggressive skier (fast on groomers, capable off piste). Pronate somewhat, serverely limited eversion, normal dorsiflexion, tibia point inwards (can't remember what that's called). High, skinny calves.

Skis: Atomic Metron B5s, 162cm. Neox bindings mounted in the centre position marked on the ski.

Boots: Head RS90 in a 28.5 (street shoe size is 11 to 11.5 US) with the "narrow feet" foot boards. Power plates fitted. Lots of lateral canting to make up for knock-kneed stance (2 degrees on one foot, 3 on the other I think). Custom footbeds. Boots feel comfortably snug.

My boots are reasonably new (late last season) and I'm still getting used to them. I've had a little bit of foot pain of a kind I usually associate with being in the back seat, especially when on bumpy terrain. I have a feeling of needing to push down with the ball of my foot, and this seems to go with plantarflexing my ankle and straightening my knee, which pushes my calf against the back of the boot. I know this exactly the wrong thing to do, but I'm finding it hard to maintain dorsiflexion (not sure why - could be me, but this feeling is new since changing boots).

I was at a camp in Colorado at the start of this season and was told at that time that I was hanging out on the fronts of the boots - hence the power plates (I'm a heavy guy and the boots aren't that stiff). That has helped my groomer sking, but anything requiring more flexion still has the symptoms above - moreso if anything.

I did a quick indoor balance experiment last night, of the type Ron LeMaster recommends in "The Skier's Edge", trying to see how far I can squat wearing the boots. Adding 1.5-2cm of lift under the heels allows me to squat down so my butt is lower than my knees. With no lift I can't do that without falling backwards. I take it from this that I need more foreward lean.

This isn't what I was expecting from the symptoms above, but does match what I had in my old boots (I had heel lifts and extra padding behind the calf since I switched to the Atomics - I understand the Neox bindings are very flat, so this makes sense).

So, question is - what's the best way to do this? I understand heel lifts may not actually increase forward lean that much. I've raised the spoiler in the boot to its full height, but I'm not convinced its helping, and I'm a bit concerned given the wierd ankle-straitening thing that's going on that it might actually make the core issue worse, whatever that might be. I don't really like messing about with bindings, and anyway the Neox's probably don't provide much scope for that. Any thoughs?
post #2 of 8
ONe of the things that will make this difficult is your use of terminology and some assumptions. Maybe if we can get some of this straight things will be easier to discuss.

Lifts under the heel outside the boot also increase ramp angle. So you can't differentiate ramp from forward lean in this way. Did you do the experiment with the boots buckled or unbuckled. If buckled in a boot of even moderate flex, most people would have a hard time staying forward.

Simon how have you diagnosed limited eversion? By the way eversion is part of pronation.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi Lou,

Sorry about the terminology - I'm trying to be as precise as I can, which means I'm using jargon where I know it.

I did the experiment with boots buckled, which is what "The Skier's Edge" suggests - what I've seen/read suggests it should be possible to stay balanced like this. One of the things I'm interested in figuring out is whether the issue is ramp angle or forward lean - the books I have don't make a clear distinction. I can see the experiment I did doesn't differentiate - can you suggest one that does?

On eversion - my footbeds and canting were done by Harb Ski Systems during one of their camps. They noticed the limited eversion and its actually pretty obvious although I'd never noticed it previously - I can barely tip my feet inwards at all from the ankle, I'd guess only by 1 or 2 degrees. Inversion is normal enough. I'd guess this is the limiting factor in how much I pronate, 'though I don't know that.
post #4 of 8
Let's see where we can start. Regarding in/eversion. With your barefeet next to each other (touching at the inner ankle bones) if you roll your feet so the bottoms are facing each other this is inversion. Rolling them apart is eversion. And it is said that the average foot will invert approximately twice as many degrees as it will evert.

Now I'm not certain why in your case this is important, but since you mentioned I think we should have it correct. I think you had it backwards.

I have not tried the exercise from Skier's Edge, but the use of a 2cm heel lift would be far outside any norms. I admit to not using heel lifts the way other's do, but do know that 2 cm shouldn't be necessary. So something isn't adding up.

I don't quite understand what your complaint is. Not to say there isn't something wrong. Only that I don't completely understand.

Are you complaining about foot pain? What does it mean to be of the type associated with sitting back?

In order to push down with the ball of your feet it is necessary to plantarflex the foot.

Can you explain a little more.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Regarding in/eversion - that's what I thought. My eversion really is very limited - its all used up in my normal stationary stance. I've no particular reason to think it relevant here. Just mentioned it in case it was.

As to my complaint - I currently feel out of balance when I ski, especially on bumpy terrain. This wasn't true with my old boots, which were softer and had a heel lift in them. This is associated with feeling I need to push down on the ball of my foot. Playing with the sensations (without boots), I think that's because I'm projecting my upper body forwards.

I am also getting pain in the sole of my foot, towards the fore-foot. I associate this with sitting back, and sometimes experienced the same thing in my old boots. It seems to me now that this is to do with the "pushing down" movement of the ball of my foot, but I'm not sure of this.

Sorry - I'm obviously not being as clear as I could be here.
post #6 of 8
Simon, What did the Harb camp find for your dorsiflexion range of motion?
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi Bud,

They said its within normal range. Looks like about 10-20 degrees to me.
I have very tight calf muscles though, which means it requires some effort for flex forward beyond 5-10 degrees - I'm beginning to think that might be relevant. I

post #8 of 8
It may be worth trying another heel lift? It's a simple reversable experiment!
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