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knee alignment and canting

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

A bit of background.  I've always felt like my boots force my legs to bow outwards when I stand flat in them.  They felt like the medial side of the boots were just too high.  Going straight on skis, when I put my legs in a more natural position, I end up on my inside edges.  To keep the ski flat, I would need to force my knees outwards.  This also caused a lot of weight/pressure to go towards the lateral side of my feet.

I just went to a local bootfitter to get my boot alignment adjusted.  He started off marking the center of my knees with a framing tool.  Then I stood a comfortable shoulder width in my shells with the liner out and just the footbed (custom orthodic).  He put me on this static boot alignment thing with an attached laser and noticed immediately that my left knee's center mark was well to the medial side of the middle of the boot - probably a good inch or more.  My right knee center was slightly to the inside, but not much.  The boot shells are pressing up against the medial side of my calves.  He adjusted the cuff so they leaned in more and that gave my legs some more room on the inside.

After adjust the cuffs, he tried to get my knees to be directly over the center of the boot by adding canting shims to raise the medial side of my feet.  As I mentioned before, I already felt like the medial side of my boots were too high.  This centered my knees over my feet better but I felt WAAY worse.  The shells now dug themselves right into medial side of my calves and I felt like I was standing on the outside edges of my feet.  He then tried putting the canting shims on the outside which made me feel much more comfortable and I felt like I had balanced pressure on both sides of my feet.  This however did not help my knee alignment issue at all.  My knees are still way to the inside of the middle of the foot and possibly worse than before. 

He tried a bunch of things with no success and ended up consulting with another boot fitter.  They came to the conclusion that they should focus on acheiving a flat ski in my neutral position rather than trying to line up my knees.  In the end, I got the lateral side of my boots raised so that I would have balanced pressure on my feet to acheive natural and easy edge to edge ability.

Wondering if anyone has comments on the results.  Is there something else that could be done so that my knees are lined up correctly and still felt comfortable under my feet?  Perhaps my anatomy is just too weird and I have to live with the fact that I won't be able to be "stacked" correctly.  I have a feeling my tibia sort of goes outwards, then curves down.  Below is a crude ASCII picture of what I'm trying to say.

  (    )     (    )     <-knees
    /            \      <--tibia bones    
   /              \
   |               |
   |               |
   |               |
  O             O     <--feet


post #2 of 7
there are many more variables that are important to solving the alignment puzzle. including some checks of bootboard, footbed, your ankle ROM, fore foot variables, the fit of the boot in terms of foot shape match, instep match, and cuff shape, i am curious about the stance width that was used to check your alignment, limb length differential, how they determined center of your knee mass, the accuracy of the stand that you were checked on, boot model and flex, internal or external rotation of the lower leg during flex, injuries to the lower half of your body, do you turn symetrically or make sequential movements to turn, etc, etc....

also what are you trying to do, get the ski flat on the snow?, or improve your balance and positioning by stacking your frame over your feet?

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Alright I'll try my best to provide a bit more info.

height: 5'8" weight: 150lbs age: 26 bootsize: 25
Boots: Atomic Ti100 and Head RS100
skill level roughly 7-8 about a 15 nastar handicap
no previous injuries

For stance width, he had me stand in a comfortable ski stance width, which is probably slightly wider than I would stand if I didn't have skis on.  I'm not sure about exact width but I would guess roughly 12" apart from mid-foot to mid-foot.

Nothing specific was used to determine my limb length differential, but he did try putting an extra 0 degree shim under each foot to see if it would help in any way just in case my legs were different length.  It didn't seem to make much of a difference.

The center of my knee was determined using this framing tool.  It looked like it was specifically designed for this purpose.  There were 2 stands we tried.  First was a static guide.  It was just a plate on the ground with a parallel bar that had a laser attached to it.  The other one was something that mimiced a free balancing ski so I could move fore/aft and laterally when I'm on it.  Once I got in my natural neutral position, he would use an electronic level to determine how flat the skis were and try different canting strips to make this as flat as possible.

My reasons for going in to get properly aligned was
1. I felt like my skis weren't flat when I was in a natural position.  If I fixed this, it should allow me to have quicker and smoother transitions in my turns.
2. I'm in MN so I'm not used to skiing the big mountains.  When I do ski outwest, my left foot tends to start hurting under the arch.  I got custom footbed at end of year last year so that should help somewhat. I also think being properly aligned would help this because I feel like weight isn't evenly distributed on my feet.  Part of this is also just incorrect and inefficient movements.
3. I hear a lot about being properly aligned and just being able to become a more powerful and better skier.
post #4 of 7
 The stance width he used is in question to me. IMO shoulder width is pretty wide, I try to drop a line from the hip socket and use that as a starting point. With a knock kneed skier the condition gets worse as the feet get wider apart and is this the width that you would typically ski with? Also what was used to look at your fore/aft balance?
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
I wouldn't say it's quite shoulder width.  If you dropped a line from my armpits, it would probably line up with lateral side of my feet or maybe slightly inside that spot.  The width should be pretty close to the width I typically ski at on groomed runs.  My tracks do have a tendency to converge during transition.  I think this was due to skis ending up on inside edge when my legs were in a natural position.  I do ski with a much narrower stance in ungroomed....I'd say no more than a few inches of space, if that, between my feet.

There was nothing done to check fore/aft balance other than just me standing in my boots and trying to stay centered over my feet.  Measurements were taken with slightly bent knees and a small amount of pressure against the boot tongue.

post #6 of 7
 Ok well like Starthouse said
there are many variables in the foot that need to be understood to make sense of this.  namely pronation if you were to get measured you would probably find there is a large degree of it in your feet.  This would cause the symptoms you are describing.  I predict that you wear your shoes out completely on the outside of the sole not just the heel.  You probably notice your knees doing this in other activities in life as well.  It is the feet not the knees that is just where you notice it.  Try a one legged kne flex where does your knee go when you flex.  Straight forward or inward sharply?  if inward we should talk.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

When I got my custom footbeds, my left foot definitely pronates more.  I would say probably a little more than average, but not to an extreme amount.  My right foot is actually pretty much normal.

My shoes wear fairly evenly on both sides, if anything, I would say the insides wear just a bit more.  This makes sense to me.  In skiing, my natural stance caused me to be on the inside edges of my skis.  Translated to walking, that means my inside edges would see more wear. 

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by one-legged knee flex.  I balanced on one leg and flexed forward.  I don't notice any sharp inward knee movement...maybe just slightly, but I would be comfortable categorizing it as a forward movement.

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