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Range of motion in the ankle

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
The relation of the foot to the leg could be described as a measurement in degrees. 90 degrees, would be a right angle. Generally, when riding a flat board, I assume most peeps do not have a 90 angle but slightly lesser. While I'm not presently measuring the angle, I think on a flat board I have about 75 degrees bend at my ankle.
Here's my question: how much do YOU deviate (from YOUR normal "flat board degree") on toe & heelside edging?
Is the deviation even (say 20 degrees open & 20 degrees closed)? Do you flex more than extend? Do you flex only and never extend?... or just the opposite?
I think I deviate max appx 25 degrees in both directions when riding. I extend my ankle joint on toeside and flex it on heelside.
post #2 of 3

It depends


First caveat -this is for "regular" snowboarding as opposed to "alpine" riding.

Ankle movement is going to depend on a lot of different factors (e.g. intent, type of turn, speed, conditions). In general, I'd say that the higher edge angles you want to develop in your turn, the higher the deviation in ankle position will help you get there. On a toe side turn, you'll want to open your ankles (toes lower than heels). On a heel side turn, you'll want to close your ankles (toes higher than heels). If you're not doing this (e.g. making toe turns with a closed ankle and leaning the upper body to get weight over the toes), you won't be riding as efficiently as someone who is. This is true for what we call "basic" carved turns when not using board twist (i.e. turns where both feet are doing the same movement at the same time). For turns where the different feet do different things at the same time (e.g. twisting the board to start a basic carve or doing dynamic carves where one foot passes underneath the body while the other foot is away from the body), the general rules can get thrown out the window. For example, one rider at our mountain starts toe side turns with closing the ankle as he steps on the front foot to start the turn.

My reference stance is also about 15 degrees closed from a 90 degree bend (or 75 degrees as you put it). This is basically the forward lean that is built in to the boot. I have about 45 degrees of flex range either way from standing on a flat surface. So, for a heel side turn, I can go about 30 degrees up and a toe side turn, I can go about 60 degrees down. I will very rarely use my full range of flexion while riding. Getting on high edges on very firm snow offers very little margin for error.

Also note that you're highback setting can force you into a more closed reference stance.
post #3 of 3


Interesting topic Bryan,

The range of motion for the ankle flex is different depending on what type of turn i'm performing and also what terrain i'm riding over.

My shin is definitely closer to my foot on toe side turns. I don't really try to move my shin away from my foot during heelside turns, other than getting to the point where i'm in contact and actively pressing against the high back once again. At the same time, I'm actually trying to bring the toes up to some degree.

I definitely flex more (shin closer to the foot) in skidded toe side turns compared to carved toe side turns.

I tend to bring the toes up less in skidded heel side turns compared to carved turns.

Assuming my 'normal' stance has a 75 degree as per the example 'the Rusty' suggested, the most range of motion toward the foot would be around the 45 degree mark (heel still in contact w/ the footbed). As an aside ankle straps (and obvioulsy boot stiffness) is a big determiner of how much i can flex the ankle joint again rather than physical limitations. I think (as i'm imagining riding situations right now rather than actually doing stuff on the hill) that the range of motion the other direction (opening the ankle joint) would max out a 85/90 degrees (again heel still incontact w/ the footbed). I think this range is limited by the flex of the highback as well as the construction of the boot rather than my body's limitations.

This range would change if i had real loose fitting boots as my heel would come up off the footbed increasing the possible range of motion. I don't think that there would be any performance change with the board in this scenario since the binder limits how much opening of the ankle joint is possible no matter what kind of boot you've got and just slopping around in my boot won't really translate directly to board activity.

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