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Lower body alignment

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

I've sprained my MCL twice while snowboarding.  I've seen a podiatrist and he said it was due to overpronation of the foot, causing my knees to knock, bad alignment in my hips and spine and ultimately causing the MCL to take way too much of the stress of snowboarding than it should.  He said I need to see a very experienced ski/snowboard boot fitter to have this issue resolved (my insurance won't cover anything beyond the exam, so all he can do is tell me what's wrong but can't actually do a lot to help, go figure).

 

Anyway, I know I need some orthotics that are canted, but I don't know where to get any.  I'm guessing I'll need some custom work to fit some boots properly.  Can anyone recommend a top notch bootfitter in the Sacramento or Lake Tahoe area?

 

At least we don't use hardboots on our boards!

 

Thanks! 

post #2 of 27

First off, what are your stance angles/width?  Sounds like you need to adjust them.  You should be putting very little stress on your MCL.  A boot fitter might relieve your problem, but I think there are cheaper and better alternatives.

 

Second, if adjusting your stance/angles won't help, you can cant your bindings instead of doing it in your boot.  Getting the angle you need that way.  Definitely less expensive than a boot fitter, though you may have to DIY it.  Not sure if there is anyone making custom cants or not.  Check the bomberonline forums.  Though it's a hard booter site, this is the sort of stuff you might find there.

post #3 of 27

Killclimbz gives good advice.  You need to think about which boots in particular you have as well as stance width and stance angles, and also maike sure the boots fit well, but at the end of the day while footbeds help some people lack of them, even with funky feet and ankles, shouldn't be causing MCL issues, and gettingthem is unlikely to cure any issues.

 

Some of the posters on Bomber give highly idiosyncratic advice when it comes to softboot setups.  "Bordy" on there is pretty good if he still posts, or you might search some of his older posts if he doesn't.  The snowboard colonies site also has some pretty good input on this stuff.  You could also consider taking the time to find a snowboard shop run by people who really are knowledgeable and ride a lot.  They're out there, and particularly if you then buy through them they can be a great resource.  Online, www.porterstahoe.com has really knowledgeable people.  There are other very good online shops too, but there's no substitute for being able to walk into a place and, inthe current case, show people your setup and see what they'd recommend.

post #4 of 27

Super,

 

What were you doing when you sprained your MCL? Just riding or landing jumps? Was it at the end of the day (when you were tired)? Was it on difficult terrain (bumps, steeps)? What kind of snow were you riding on (groomed, hardpack, powder)?

 

I'm with KC (please tell us your height and current stance width and angles). If you're current stance width has you knock kneed, try narrowing it. A duck stance (front foot toes pointed toward the nose, back foot toes pointed toward the tail) can also help alleviate knock kneed riding. Canting is nice and may be necessary in extreme cases, but it usually is not as necessary for riding as it is for skiing because of the adjustments we can make.

 

One possible contributing factor is making turns with knee rotation. Advanced riders somtimes use this as an addition to other movements to make turns. But if you are using this (or upper body rotation) as a primary means of making turns, that's going to put added stress on your knees. If this is case, a lesson that focuses on turning with the feet and getting the board to turn because of sidecut engagement is in order.

 

Snowboard boots are pretty comfy to start with, but footbeds make them even more comfortable. Unless you have severe structural issues, any good ski boot fitter should be able to make you footbeds for your snowboard boots that will also get your canting needs met. There's really not enough difference between ski boots and snowboard boots to make the job hard to do. If you've got a combination of issues (e.g. leg length, knock kneed, spinal alignment, internal hardware, ...), you'll probably already need orthotics for everyday use. In that case, you'll need someone real good for your riding orthotic too. Otherwise, if you've got the $$$, get the footbeds made at a reputable shop. If you don't, try adjusting stance width/angles first. If you do this, get a brace first. Even a drug store neoprene brace can help prevent additional injury while experimenting (as long as you take it easy). Riding with a brace is not preferred over the long term, but is prudent until you know for sure your issue has been resolved.

 

If you do decide to get footbeds, check out the Epic boot guys in the Tahoe neighborhood:

bud heishman
Bud Heishman
Snowind Sports
Grand Sierra Resort
2500 E. 2nd Street
Reno, NV 89595
(775) 323-9463
www.snowind.com
__________________________________________________

starthaus
Jim Schaffner
The Start Haus
10990 Donner Pass Rd
Truckee, CA 96161
(530) 582-5781
__________________________________________________

SierraJim
Jim Fowler
The Start Haus
10990 Donner Pass Rd
Truckee, CA 96161
(530) 582-5781

 

Snowboarding should be easy on your knees. Knee ligament sprains are more common when getting big air and landing hard. Knee sprains for regular riding are very rare. Please answer those questions for us and let us know how things work out.

post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 

Hey there kill.  I didn't know you frequented here too.  :)  I'm on snowboardingforum as well, but under a different name.

 

Well, I was using +12 -12 at about 21.5" width.  I'm 5'8".  The 12/-12 put a lot of stress on the outside of my feet and outside calves so over the course of a day I changed it to 18/-15 which was comfortable on my legs.  At the time, I didn't know when you went into a squat your knee should go over your second toe.  Instead, my feet were pointed way out and my knees were bending directly in front of me.  Essentially I was knock-kneed but my feet were splayed out so wide the knees didn't touch.

 

Next season I intend to try a forward stance at 24/6 since that seems easier on the legs.

 

I need new boots - mine packed out a lot more than I expected and are now 1/2 size, to maybe 3/4 size too big.  I have them snug where my feet are locked in well but I know I still need boots that fit properly.

 

Thanks!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post

First off, what are your stance angles/width?  Sounds like you need to adjust them.  You should be putting very little stress on your MCL.  A boot fitter might relieve your problem, but I think there are cheaper and better alternatives.

 

Second, if adjusting your stance/angles won't help, you can cant your bindings instead of doing it in your boot.  Getting the angle you need that way.  Definitely less expensive than a boot fitter, though you may have to DIY it.  Not sure if there is anyone making custom cants or not.  Check the bomberonline forums.  Though it's a hard booter site, this is the sort of stuff you might find there.

 

post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 

I was riding a blue with really choppy snow, middle of the day, maybe 4th run.  I had plenty of energy.  The snow felt like moguls under about 6" of fresh powder.  I was on my heel edge and hit something under the snow pretty hard and my right knee popped and I went down.  Fortunately it was only a sprain (second time though) according to the orthpedist.  Because my knees were going inward my ortho thinks that is why strain was on the MCL.  Kind of an odd injury for snowboarding, but I guess it makes sense.  I have really splayed feet, so if I point my feet forward my knees bend inwards and knock.  Canting the inside of my running shoes (post under the 1 met and a little bit of a heel riser with a left side heel post) helps me keep my feet straight and my knees bending directly over my toes.  In a varus position my foot has a noticeable cant.  A physical therapist said that walking splayed all my life (30 years) is why my outside calves are extremely well developed and the inside are not, and that I have muscle imbalances due to this.  I'm working on that on my own in the gym by changing up a few movements I do.  Apparently my over pronation is causing lots of alignment issues in my lower body, which sucks.  :(  I don't have any chronic pain in my legs or feet, so no one thinks I have anything severely messed up, but obviously the issue needs to be corrected while snowboarding.

 

I narrowed my stance from about 24" (which I didn't like due to comfort) to about 21.5".  I'm just barely an intermediate rider and at the time, ironically enough, I was actually working on keeping my upper body still and using only the sidecut with no "rear leg rudder" etc.  I don't remember it well, but I think I may have been putting torque on my right knee from twisting hard trying to get the board around in a hurry trying to get around a big mogul.  Whatever I hit under the snow, I didn't hit it hard, that much I know.  My funky feet and legs combined with any kind of torsion on the knee is a bad combination for sure, and is most likely how the injury occured.

 

The first right MCL sprain was almost exactly one year to the day, on the same mountain, as my most recent injury.  That time it was caused by cartwheeling and it hurt way more.  

 

I know my boots are a little too big.  They packed out a lot more than I expected.  I've done some work to make them fit better (no heel lift or moving around in the boot anymore, and there wasn't any when I hurt my MCL) but I'm not riding them next year.  I don't have a lot of cash but I'll give up getting a season pass to get a perfectly fitting pair of boots next year.  Avoiding injury is more important in my book.

 

Truckee and South Lake Tahoe are within driving distance for me.  Thank you so much for the contact information, it's very helpful.  I was hoping to get some new boots this summer (I don't mind using last year's stuff) fitted and ready to go before the fitters get real busy in the fall, but it's not like I'd be able to try them out until the fall anyway so it's not that big a deal.  Just trying to save a few bucks.  :P

 

I hope this reply and the one to KC answers your questions, and thanks so much to everyone for all the great advice so far.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

Super,

 

What were you doing when you sprained your MCL? Just riding or landing jumps? Was it at the end of the day (when you were tired)? Was it on difficult terrain (bumps, steeps)? What kind of snow were you riding on (groomed, hardpack, powder)?

 

I'm with KC (please tell us your height and current stance width and angles). If you're current stance width has you knock kneed, try narrowing it. A duck stance (front foot toes pointed toward the nose, back foot toes pointed toward the tail) can also help alleviate knock kneed riding. Canting is nice and may be necessary in extreme cases, but it usually is not as necessary for riding as it is for skiing because of the adjustments we can make.

 

One possible contributing factor is making turns with knee rotation. Advanced riders somtimes use this as an addition to other movements to make turns. But if you are using this (or upper body rotation) as a primary means of making turns, that's going to put added stress on your knees. If this is case, a lesson that focuses on turning with the feet and getting the board to turn because of sidecut engagement is in order.

 

Snowboard boots are pretty comfy to start with, but footbeds make them even more comfortable. Unless you have severe structural issues, any good ski boot fitter should be able to make you footbeds for your snowboard boots that will also get your canting needs met. There's really not enough difference between ski boots and snowboard boots to make the job hard to do. If you've got a combination of issues (e.g. leg length, knock kneed, spinal alignment, internal hardware, ...), you'll probably already need orthotics for everyday use. In that case, you'll need someone real good for your riding orthotic too. Otherwise, if you've got the $$$, get the footbeds made at a reputable shop. If you don't, try adjusting stance width/angles first. If you do this, get a brace first. Even a drug store neoprene brace can help prevent additional injury while experimenting (as long as you take it easy). Riding with a brace is not preferred over the long term, but is prudent until you know for sure your issue has been resolved.

 

If you do decide to get footbeds, check out the Epic boot guys in the Tahoe neighborhood:

bud heishman
Bud Heishman
Snowind Sports
Grand Sierra Resort
2500 E. 2nd Street
Reno, NV 89595
(775) 323-9463
www.snowind.com
__________________________________________________

starthaus
Jim Schaffner
The Start Haus
10990 Donner Pass Rd
Truckee, CA 96161
(530) 582-5781
__________________________________________________

SierraJim
Jim Fowler
The Start Haus
10990 Donner Pass Rd
Truckee, CA 96161
(530) 582-5781

 

Snowboarding should be easy on your knees. Knee ligament sprains are more common when getting big air and landing hard. Knee sprains for regular riding are very rare. Please answer those questions for us and let us know how things work out.

 

post #7 of 27

You sound like you have significant stance issues remaining -- for instance, 24/+6 may also not be all that comfy for someone with significantly splayed feet, either.  An excellent ski race service shop may not necessarily be the best place for you to resolve all of those issues;  some "ski-focused" bootfitters work with a lot of snowboarders, most do not; most are also not that familiar with the range of "soft" boots (which in some cases now have pretty good footbeds themselves) available and may not ride a lot or at all themselves nor speak regularly to a wide range of good riders who have a wide range of different feet.  You are definitely in my opinion more likely on Epic to get pointed to an excellent ski race service shop, and if speed skis are your thing then nuthin wrong with that either. 

post #8 of 27

If you go the custom footbed route, make sure you have foam footbeds done and not cork.  Cork is better suited for ski boots because of the rigidity of the book.  Foam will flex with your snowboard boot better.  Snowboard boot stock footbeds may be better than what you get with ski boots but they still suck.  At the very least put a semi custom footbed in your boots like Superfeet.  A stock footbed has to be designed to work for every foot, so in the end they turn out to not be good for any foot. 

 

I still think it's probably something to do with your stance angles and width.  I ride ducky and when I switched over to that stance I spent the better part of a day playing with the width and angles until I got it to where I felt comfortable and wasn't tweaking my knees.  I'd say go to the resort, set your angles, and pack a screwdriver.  Take a couple of runs then make micro adjustments and take another couple of runs.  Lather, rinse, repeat, until you get your stance to where it works for you. 

 

The only reason I mentioned Bomber online was for getting info on custom cants.  Splitboard.com is another place you might look for info on DIY cants for your set up.

 

And yeah, I am a bit of a board whore, you'll find me on most of the major snowsports related websites. 

post #9 of 27

KC, I agree on the cork (and many ski bootfitters also don't like cork, at least for many people, for the same reason).  Some manufacturers now have pretty good stock footbeds though, with the ability to be tailored to ind feet.  Some soccer cleats now even come with 2-3 foot bed options, not perfect but not bad (i.e. for many sports it's getting taken more seriously).  And some stock footbeds do still suck, for sure.  (I have one kid who now prefers no footbed for skiing but uses Superfeet in soccer cleats, so it's definitely individual, too).  

 

The stance experimentation is definitely good for a variety of reasons.  EWven things like sprained ankles can cause people to change stances around, a lot, so even at the individual level what works for a given type of riding can change.  Also things like sock thickness -- if you like thick socks, you can still ride ok with them, but any benefit from things like custom footbeds is going to be "detuned" somewhat with all that thickness. 

post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 

Well, in order for me to get into the stance that's right for me, I'm going to need to do some orthotic work.  As I said, my knees don't bend over my feet properly without canting.  My podiatrist actually showed me a way to modify my superfeet to cant properly so I may not need to go the custom route.  He hasn't yet decided just how screwy my feet are yet, though, and if they're too far out of whack this won't work.  

 

I think once I get my normal walking gait straightened out it'll be easy to extend that to my snowboard boot.  A better fitting boot + proper orthotic should work fine.  Just regular superfeet or sole softechs hasn't been enough.

 

I'll remember the bit about the cork vs foam.  

 

Would it be worth trying a forward stance?  When just messing with my board and standing on it that is actually a comfortable position for me.

 

Does anyone even use a forward stance anymore?

 

Thanks guys!   

post #11 of 27

If you think you need the canting, it might be better (and more comfortable) to set up cants under your bindings and not in your boot directly.  That is where the DIY cants may be of use for you.  I quick google search found this guy.  You may contact him for more info.  It sounds like a fairly cheap and easy to make system.  You'll probably have to play with the angle for the cants.  I don't think it will be all that tough.

post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thanks KC!  I checked the bomber site earlier but wasn't able to find much information.  That looks like something I can try that just might be more comfortable.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post

If you think you need the canting, it might be better (and more comfortable) to set up cants under your bindings and not in your boot directly.  That is where the DIY cants may be of use for you.  I quick google search found this guy.  You may contact him for more info.  It sounds like a fairly cheap and easy to make system.  You'll probably have to play with the angle for the cants.  I don't think it will be all that tough.

 

post #13 of 27

Yes on the forward stance.  THe main Q is what works for you and your type of riding.  Just remember that most soft boots are not designed to be but so far forward, for good reason, and that other things being equal stances tend to get narrower the more forward the angle.  Some boards work better with narrower stance than others -- you basically have a whole system you're dealing with. 

post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 

Gotcha.  I wanted to try the forward because all I wanna do is ride groomers and hopefully this season start doing some backcountry riding.  I have zero interest in the park.  At most I want to be able to take a few jumps just so I can handle backcountry riding alright.  Buddy of mine who does lots of Tahoe BC riding said being able to do smaller jumps can be really helpful.  :D

 

Since I have plenty of time during the summer I'm going to experiment with the shims and without them and just see how standing and squatting on the board for a bit in different stances feels.  That should at least give me an idea where to go when the season starts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

Yes on the forward stance.  THe main Q is what works for you and your type of riding.  Just remember that most soft boots are not designed to be but so far forward, for good reason, and that other things being equal stances tend to get narrower the more forward the angle.  Some boards work better with narrower stance than others -- you basically have a whole system you're dealing with. 

 

post #15 of 27

Keep in mind that there are certain advantages to a duck stance vs a foward stance (and vice a versa).  I really don't do freestyle stuff anymore and about all I ride is backcountry, yet I still rock a duck stance.  The main reason being is that with a duck stance you can squat really low to the ground.  Which is super handy in thick trees/scrubbrush.  Something that I run into a lot in Colorado, and if you're riding in Cali, you'll experience it too.  Though not to the degree of it as found in Colorado.

post #16 of 27

Super,

 

Thanks for the info. That's very helpful. CT raises some good points. The beauty of Epic is that you can contact the boot guys here and check them out before you go. You can also ask them for their recommendations for snowboard boot specialists they may know. It's still my opinion that these guys can fix you up with footbeds that will resolve your cant issues. KC also raises a good point for discussion about cork vs foam. I've had cork footbeds that were thin enough to be fairly flexible and you may be better off sacrificing some flexibility for medical reasons. Personally, I've found footbed material choice to be virtually a "religious" topic among fitters. As I said earlier, you know you've got more serious issues than just canting. It's your call as to whether to reuse the advice you've already got or to seek specific snowboard professional help. My recommendation is to start talking to folks. You'll soon find someone you are comfortable with and can trust.

 

Good for you for working on the muscle imbalance! This is a key contributing factor to many injuries. You may want to invest in a visit to a physical therapist. They have 1001 effective torture techniques, oops I mean ways for measuring fitness and programs for fixing stuff. You can probably get some good resistance band exercises that you can do at home. The right exercises with the proper form can make a huge difference. Being able to do them at home makes it more likely that you'll do them more often.

 

Realize that you are normally going to want set your stance width to place your legs outside of your hips, underneath your hips or inside your hips depending on balance, comfort/feel and board flex. A wider stance gives you stronger balance (to a point). IMO a wider stance gives you better feel for the nose and tail of the board. But a narrower stance will let you bend the board more. Some people make comfort a bigger factor for setting stance width, but my recommendation is that some "uncomfortable" stances will grow on you after your performance improves. I think, for you, a narrower stance will reduce stress on your knees. If you get your canting and your muscle imbalance fixed, this will probably be less of an issue. But it is something to consider. If you get new boots and footbeds, you'll need to start the experimenting over again. I'll add to KC's advice by saying to do your experimenting on easy terrain first. A new board is probably not in the cards for you, but you may want to use a demo day to check out a Burton board with the channel binding (ICS) set up. You can set these up with any stance width you want and it's much easier to change widths and angles than using normal bindings. Also consider renting a board for a day. Many rental bindings have flip levers to allow quick stance angle adjustment. Finally, consider board flex as you change stance width. If you're already on a soft flex board, going to a narrow stance may cause it to lose carving performance. Rental boards tend to be softer flex, so you may want a wider stance with those.

 

 

post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 

Hey Rusty thanks for the response

 

My only serious issue is hyperpronating.  According to my podiatrist it isn't that bad because I have no chronic pain or other problems.  It's only really a big problem in heavy athletic activity, such as snowboarding.  So far he's got a temporary medial heel post on my green superfeet and that tiny amount of cant is helping with quite a bit.  I am pretty sure I'll be able to fix most of my issues with a good orthotic.

 

As far as the muscle imbalances go, I know a fair bit.  I used to do bodybuilding maybe a dozen years ago, and I'm also familiar with a lot of PT torture exercises.  The really good thing is with a canted surface (or insole) I can actually work muscles easily that used to be incredibly difficult for me to target.  The inside calf muscle is my best example.  My outside calves are so overdeveloped from pronating too much all my life that it makes me look bowlegged.  My inside calves are not developed well at all.  By canting my feet I am able to actually work my entire calf group equally and easily target my inside calves.  I'm also working on my hip adductors and abductors to help with knee stability, as well as doing hours on a bike.  Hamstring and quad work is a given, but with a canted insole it feels more stable and I can work more of the muscle groups.  Over the weekend I was at Clear Lake and was on a peddle boat for a long time.  Felt great on my knee.  Once my MCL heals up all the way I'm going go back to keeping yoga in my workouts.

 

I've still got a bit of pain in certain positions on my MCL but it's a lot better.  Going to talk to my orthopedist (who is also my podiatrist currently haha) about it this week too.

 

As far as my stance goes, I have no idea what I am going to do.  I really want to try a forward stance, but I really don't want to lose the flexibility of duck.  I do think that going forward might do well for me, as I really do not like only being able to turn my head to look; I'd rather turn my whole body.  I may have been doing this unconsiously when I sprained my MCL.  That may well have put extra torque on the knee where a mild mogul hit was enough to cause injury.

 

I did notice when my feet were canted, in a duck stance, they naturally pointed to about 12/-12, so that at least is much more natural stance than the 18/-15 I was running.  I have had it as far as 21/-18 before too, if you can imagine that.

 

The thing that worries me most is that I'm going to go out next season and bang up my knee again.  Two times now with no serious or permanent damage (or so the doctors say).  Third time is a charm.  If I hurt it again the smart money is on me tearing something.  So that's in the back of my mind.  I might practice ollying or hopping on and off my ottoman to see how it feels on the knees.  That should be a fair indicator of what to expect I think.

 

:)

 

 

post #18 of 27

If you're worried, try a neoprene brace. IMO it's the best trade off between protection and over protection.

 

Your best riding performance comes from riding with your shoulders aligned to your stance vs rotated relative to your stance to see where you're going. The message is to start thinking about learning to ride with your head turned. One of the advantages of a duck stance is easier lower body flexing. Once you get fixed, this will be a benefit you should still be concerned about. This will become critically important once you start getting air. Note that I will often put riders with a brain lock on turning their body to face forward into a forward stance as a quick fix to this problem.

 

If you're going to self train, consider swimming, balance boards and treadmills. For swimming - vary between scissor and frog kicks. For balance boards, I recommend the simple model of a square with a  small T running under the middle. Do exercises rocking from one side to the other with a pause to balance in the middle. Do it with the "T" running between the feet (side to side rock) and with the T running under the balls of the feet (forward and back rock). Do it with two feet and then with one foot (you may need to cheat at first), then try with your eyes closed (might be too hard). This works the ankles more than the calves, but it should be helpful. I think you'll feel the one foot side to side drill work the mcl, but confidence is the goal there vs development. Try sidestepping on a treadmill set to >10 degree incline. Backwards walking on an incline is good too.

 

Do you have access to resistance bands?

 

There's also a yoga pose that might help. Stand on one leg and simultaneously get your other leg, upper body and arms horizontal (i.e. "above" your head - palms together) to the floor so that your body forms a "T" shape. You may need to slightly bend your stance leg to stay in balance as you move into position, then try to straighten it. When you can do this on a hard surface, try it on a cushy mat. For fun, try it with your eyes closed.

 

 

post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 

Good info on the brace.  I was looking at some earlier and they all look way too supportive.  I felt like most I've seen would be detrimental to my riding and recovery.  lol

 

Well, I'm generally able to only turn my head.  I only turned my body because visibility was really bad (a lot of snow), the run wasn't groomed and I was having a hard time on the moguls because I couldn't see.  I guess twisting my body around to flip the board around faster wasn't the best way to get down the hill.

 

With my superfeet modified to give a cant (podiatrist did this) I actually have a good, neutral feeling stance at 12 / -12.  My knees pretty much go right over my second toe and everything feels comfortable.  Of course, this is just hopping around in my living room, but it feels better than it did in the past.  I was wondering, does riding a stance such as 18 / -6 or so allow a slightly more forward stance?  I may not be built well for mirrored angles.

 

In the past I've practiced yoga and pilates quite a bit.  I'm actually debating giving up some of my workout routine to add yoga back in at least twice a week.  

 

There is a balance ball my wife's physical therapist (she has a chronic ACL tear, go figure) recommended.  It's like a smaller swiss ball, but it's flat on one side.  She said it's great, though a bit expensive.  Should be worth it though.  Can do exercises on the ball with a flat bottom or use the flat part as a board and adjust the air pressure in the ball to increase difficulty.  I should be able to do the rocking exercises you described on it.  I'm not too worried about working my calves on a balance board, as I can hit those hard in a lot of different ways.  I do, however, like the idea of working my ankles on it, since those are a lot more difficult to target in my experience.

 

I've got some resistance bands that my wife uses.  She's showing me some exercises her PT gave her to improve lower body stability.  I've done them and they're effective.  A lot of work on the hip flexors, adductors and abductors.

 

Who in the Tahoe area has experience doing bootfitting for snowboarders?  I've called most of the ones listed and every one of them claims to be an expert snowboard boot fitter.  Right...

 

So, let me make sure I'm summarizing all the advice correctly:

 

Get orthotics or something to align my lower body properly (consider a pro bootfitter)  

Do exercises to increase lower body strength and stability 

Possibly use a neoprene knee sleeve 

Play with binding angles until comfortable.

 

 

Thanks again to everyone!

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

If you're worried, try a neoprene brace. IMO it's the best trade off between protection and over protection.

 

Your best riding performance comes from riding with your shoulders aligned to your stance vs rotated relative to your stance to see where you're going. The message is to start thinking about learning to ride with your head turned. One of the advantages of a duck stance is easier lower body flexing. Once you get fixed, this will be a benefit you should still be concerned about. This will become critically important once you start getting air. Note that I will often put riders with a brain lock on turning their body to face forward into a forward stance as a quick fix to this problem.

 

If you're going to self train, consider swimming, balance boards and treadmills. For swimming - vary between scissor and frog kicks. For balance boards, I recommend the simple model of a square with a  small T running under the middle. Do exercises rocking from one side to the other with a pause to balance in the middle. Do it with the "T" running between the feet (side to side rock) and with the T running under the balls of the feet (forward and back rock). Do it with two feet and then with one foot (you may need to cheat at first), then try with your eyes closed (might be too hard). This works the ankles more than the calves, but it should be helpful. I think you'll feel the one foot side to side drill work the mcl, but confidence is the goal there vs development. Try sidestepping on a treadmill set to >10 degree incline. Backwards walking on an incline is good too.

 

Do you have access to resistance bands?

 

There's also a yoga pose that might help. Stand on one leg and simultaneously get your other leg, upper body and arms horizontal (i.e. "above" your head - palms together) to the floor so that your body forms a "T" shape. You may need to slightly bend your stance leg to stay in balance as you move into position, then try to straighten it. When you can do this on a hard surface, try it on a cushy mat. For fun, try it with your eyes closed.

 

 

 

post #20 of 27

Yeah - moguls - it's almost a law that you start out whipping your body around and getting your ass kicked. As much as it seems you have to do it this way, once you learn how to ride through them you'll sound like Homer Simpson (D'oh!)

 

A shift from 12/-12 to 18/-6 will allow you to rotate your shoulders 6 degrees forward without screwing things up.

 

That balance ball is a Bosu. LisaMarie over in the fitness forum is a big Bosu fan. It is a great device. It's not as good for the drills I recommended though because it allows lateral drift. It's a better exercise, but not for what we're trying to achieve. If you can't find one like I've described, they are easy enough to make.

 

I can't give you any personal recommendations for the Tahoe area.

post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 

I can do a 2 liter soda bottle and a piece of wood to make what you described I think.  :D  I can use it and the Bosu.  

 

18/-6 sounds like a good starting place then.  I get a little forward rotation without giving up the benefits of duck.  I'll try it out! 

 

I might go post over on the fitness forum too and see what I can learn.  I used to do some basic bodybuilding about 12 years ago but that kind of strength was never really practical to anything I did.

 

Thank you for taking the time to give so much advice.  It's really appreciated!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

Yeah - moguls - it's almost a law that you start out whipping your body around and getting your ass kicked. As much as it seems you have to do it this way, once you learn how to ride through them you'll sound like Homer Simpson (D'oh!)

 

A shift from 12/-12 to 18/-6 will allow you to rotate your shoulders 6 degrees forward without screwing things up.

 

That balance ball is a Bosu. LisaMarie over in the fitness forum is a big Bosu fan. It is a great device. It's not as good for the drills I recommended though because it allows lateral drift. It's a better exercise, but not for what we're trying to achieve. If you can't find one like I've described, they are easy enough to make.

 

I can't give you any personal recommendations for the Tahoe area.

 

post #22 of 27

A soda bottle is too big and not sturdy enough. The one I use is 1 1/2" tall one inch wide piece of wood with the "bottom" edges rounded off. The wood square should be wide enough for your snowboard stance.

 

Glad to help - it's what I'm here for. Heroes pay it forward.

post #23 of 27
Thread Starter 

Sorta


Edited by Superhero - 6/11/2009 at 03:06 am GMT
post #24 of 27
i always use boots, for something like that. not the same but silmilar.
post #25 of 27

Welcome to Epic planner!

We were talking about a balance board that is wooden square with a small piece of wood underneath.
This device is similar to what I'm talking about:

www.amazon.com/Fit-Balance-Board-Fulcrums/dp/B0018E751Y/ref=pd_sbs_sg_5

What would you use boots for?

post #26 of 27
Thread Starter 

I figured I'd give an update as to where I am at with the alignment before the season starts.

I've been hitting the gym hard over the summer.  I switched to a simple olympic lifting routine to build core and leg strength.  Squats and deadlifts make up the core of the routine.  My legs are a lot stronger now, my posture is better and I generally feel more centered.  That said, doing heavy squats really made me pay attention to my lower body alignment, for obvious reasons.

I do olympic squats, which means I use a slightly wider than shoulder width stance (same as when I snowboard), I duck my feet out (same as when I snowboard) and I bend at the hips, keeping the lower back properly arched (just like snowboarding).  I noticed that when I go down to parallel and lower on the squat, that my ankles roll inward and my knees come together.  It's a fair amount, especially on my right leg.  I placed some bits of foam under my insoles, basically posting my first metatarsal and the medial side of my heel.  When squatting it allows my knee to track over my feet, and I can actually push more weight, more comfortably.

I also noticed over the summer that since I have oversized lateral calves that the cuffs of my boots are pushing my knees together.  This exacerbates any minor knock knee issues I may have.  Unfortunately, since softboots don't have cuff adjustments, I had to find a way around these.  What I did was take some old boot liners and cut them down the middle.  I placed this between the liner and the shell of my boots, on the inside, to take up the room that my calves should be occupying.  Well, my boots are no longer forcing my knees inward, and I'm not expending a ton of energy just trying to maintain balance and alignment.

Something else I have noticed is that my balance is much better with the posts.  For example, if I try to balance on my right foot, and I try to keep it lined up with my knee, I tire out very quickly from the effort of maintaining the balance.  If I let it relax, the foot splays outward about 45 degrees, with the knee tracking significantly to the inside.  The posts eliminate this. 

In fact, I have an extremely difficult time rollerblading and ice skating because of the tendency of my feet to point outwards.  I haven't tried these activities yet with the posts on my insoles, but I imagine the ability to keep my feet pointing forward without fighting the collapse of my arch and the rolling inward of my tibia and knee will make a big difference.

I also asked myself a question - if I were a skier, what would they do to align me?

Well, they'd make sure the ski stayed flat, that the knee tracked safely above the feet and that the cuff was adjusted outward so as not to push my knees inward.  Literally, the posts under my first metatarsal and the medial heel post fixed all of these problems.

I found the SBS system Mosh on these forums sells.  I should have some on the way.  I'm going to try them in the gym.  If my knee tracks properly over my foot while on a bike, then I'm going to try running.  If my knees feel good there, and I am still able to maintain a good, painfree gait, then I'm going to try squatting in them.  If my knees feel solid, and I am able to keep them above my feet where they definitely belong, then I'm going to try them in snowboarding.

The way I see it is this:  squatting is very, very similar to snowboarding with a duck stance.  If I can maintain proper leg alignment with a few hundred pounds on my back, and if my knees feel strong doing so, then it should help my snowboarding.

Ultimately, I think my alignment issues are relatively minor, as is evidenced by the fact I'm 30, in great shape and have no chronic pain.  So, a logical mind would ask, if alignment issues are, overall, a minor issue, then what's the problem?  Well, something else I have put a great deal of thought into is my technique.  I believe bad technique and snowboarding on rough, ungroomed terrain with poor visiblity is probably the primary culprit to my injury.  Basically, my abilities weren't up to the task and a minor alignment issue was exposed.  When pushed and twisted and placed into a bad position, the knee gave out and voila, I sprained the MCL.  In that turn I twisted my body and my knee in order to try to bring the board around.  With my right knee twisted hard to the left, without a great deal of physical conditioning (at the time I was in pretty bad shape) to support the leg, the only thing left was the ligament.   

So, since I'd rather have a bruised ego than a destroyed body, I have decided that if I am able to make it to the slopes this season (laid off, second time this year, fucking economy), then I am going to hit the nice, groomed  greens and really, really focus on my turns, and learning to initiate, follow-through and end them properly by using the edges.  I was doing this before, mostly by scarving, but it wasn't until I tried harder terrain that my form and technique broke down.  I guess it's a lot like weightlifting, form and technique are more important than weight lifted. 

Anyway, I'll post how my experiences with Mosh's SBS goes, and I'll also post how my relearning of snowboarding goes as well.

 

post #27 of 27
Great feedback superhero! This will help us improve our advice. Normally, I'd do the "lawyer who represents himself" bit for doing your own fitting, but it sounds like you've done as good as a pro would of. Measuring results through lifting capacity and visual confirmation of tracking says that you're on track.

It's possible to get injured like you did without being misaligned. Lots of accidents are caused by a combination of factors. Better strength, technique or alignment might have prevented your injury, but increased speed or steepness or wetter snow might also have been able to beat a stronger, better, aligned you. We do see conditioning issues (especially strength mismatches between quads and hammies) as a major contributor to knee injuries. But you're right that technique and alignment are other contributing factors. So you're doing a great job to attack the contributing factors in your fight to prevent future injuries.

Where do you ride? Maybe we can recommend a pro who can design a program for you. Or you can post some video early in the season so we can have a look here. There are different riding techniques that are appropriate for different terrain and conditions. For example, we hate to see riders on the groomers making turns by jamming their back foot out to the side. But that technique works well enough in powder. On flatter green trails, you generally need to ride over your board to stay in balance because you don't get a lot of speed. We call these "basic" turns. Once you get some more speed, you can make dynamic turns (where your feet get out from underneath your body and your leg movements start becoming more sequential than simultaneous). The caution here is that "nice groomed greens" may not let you develop the technique you want for harder terrain.
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