or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Ankle Flexion

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Due to previously been sold a badly fitted boot (we live and learn) I have now purchased a new pair.

One of the problems that I experienced with my old pair was that correct flexion of my ankle whilst skiing would cause pain/cramp in a relatively short period of time. Hence the new ski boots with correclty fitted footbeds

What I am now concerned about is that in attempting to counter-act the pain I have fallen into bad habits and need to work on my ankle flexion. As such I would be grateful if anybody could recommend some exercises to improve this and get me out of the somewhat static position that I seem to have developed as a result of the above.

All advice appreciated

Many thanks
post #2 of 4

Welcome aboard!

Boot fitter talking:
Where specifically did your old boot cause pain and cramping? Was the pain in your ankle or quads or shins?

The reason I ask is there may be different causes prompting different solutions to your query!

Your new boots may fit better but the position in which they support you may need some tweaking to place you in a better position which will permit a more relaxed stance and movements. In this case I would suggest finding an alignment specialist who will assess the four parameters of fore/aft alignment and make the necessary adjustments to place you in the optimum position.

ski instructor talking:
Without seeing you ski it is difficult to identify technique issues? If you are not flexing your ankles and knees, you are likely flexing your knees and your hips placing excessive work load on the quads (if this is where the cramping is occuring). Again I would suspect alignment issues.

If the cramping was in your ankles and the source of this pain has been eliminated, I don't understand why there would be residual motor memory to cause you to shy away from flexing your ankles? Again, need to see your skiing to identify the source of the problem.
post #3 of 4
Good Day!

A simple exercise that helped me a lot was to find an almost flat run and while running straight and flat try to do a small "hop" with no knee bend and especially no "preset" (i.e. to bounce down before bouncing up). You can prepare for this at home by standing on flat feet and then raising yourself up by standing on your toes. How high off the ground that your heels get is the maximum height that you should hop while you are on your skis. The height of the hop should only come from moving the ankle. The trick is to keep your skis level to the snow as you hop. This is the kind of ankle movement (opening) we should be doing while straightening the legs (extending). For a traditional type of turn, we would make this movement with only our outside leg (i.e. extend left leg and ankle during the start of a right turn).

I don't have a good on snow exercise for isolating closing of the ankle (the kind of movement we should do when bending the legs or flexing). Some traditional exercises like sliding a dollar bill into the top front of the boot and ski without losing it or focusing on keeping your toes, knees and nose in vertical alignment ("Tony Knows" how to ski) don't isolate the ankle movement like the hop exercise above does. One exercise you can try at home is to stand with only your toes on a stair step and then drop your heel below the level of the stair. Another exercise you can do is to stand with your bare feet flat on the floor and then lift your toes off the floor. When your skiing, you can try lifting your toes to touch the inside top of your ski boot. For a traditional type of turn, you would only do this with your new inside leg (i.e. lift right leg toes when starting a right turn).

It's very hard to think about opening one ankle and closing the other ankle at the same time and trying to start a turn at the same time. Most skiers focus on one leg or the other until the movement for that leg becomes automatic. Some times, focusing one leg alone automatically makes the other leg do the proper movement. For some skiers, a focus on keeping the hips or shoulders level to the snow makes the ankle movement automatic. Use what works best for you.

You don't have to start turns with one ankle opening and the other closing. It's possible to make turns with both ankles either opening or closing at the same time. But that's a little harder to do well. These exercises should give you a good start at redeveloping good ankle habits for basic turns.
post #4 of 4
I like Rusty's hop activity. If you pair up with someone and watch eachother's ankles while doing this routine, you can be sure you're really doing it all with the ankle joints and not involving the knees.

I think you can improve ankle awareness and involvement if you spend some time working on rolling the feet below the ankle. As you sit in a chair in front of the computer, try rolling an arch off the floor. With a little practice, you can roll the edge of your foot up without displacing your knee laterally. Your knee moves upward, but not sideways. When that becomes easy, try rolling the outside edge of the foot off the floor. That's a little more complicated, but doable with practice. Do each foot individually until the movements become familiar, then try doing both together. Again, the key is to avoid lateral movement of the knee.

Now try the foot rolls while bearing weight on the feet. I do this while standing in the corner of an L-shaped counter so I can hang onto each side equally.

This use of the ankle area has made it easier for me to sense opening and closing of the ankles.

Somewhere in the archives, both Pierre Eh and Jon Lawson (Snowpro) describe foot rolling routines. Pierre's involved edging adjustments on the hill without lateral movement of the knees and Jon's included video of stockingfooted exercises.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching