|Originally posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado:
Lisamarie and Nolo--
It would be an interesting discussion to explore what alignment problems might be better addressed with fitness training than with external boot "compensations."
Unless you can change it now, it makes little difference what the original cause of an alignment problem might be. We can't change the fact that someone spent his infancy in a baby walker, or her adult life in front of the television. We can't fix bowed legs, whether caused by genetics, illness, or a lifetime of riding horses. But we can--and should--address the outcomes. If we can correct the problem with fitness training, that's ideal. If we can only compensate for it externally, through boot adjustment, it's surely better than nothing.
So--what boot or alignment problems are best addressed by physical training? Which can only be addressed by equipment adjustment? What problems should be addressed both ways? Which should be ignored, and corrected with changes in technique? Can strength training correct for excessive pronation, regardless of its cause? For the woman who lacks dorsiflexion (toes up ankle flexion) range because of years in high heels, surely some stretching will help in the longer term, but heel lifts in the boots can get her skiing now. What's ideal?
The subject matter is indeed highly controversial. As in most cases, the "right" answer probably lies in a balance somewhere between boot adjustment and body re-education.
But since the topic involved beginners, I can say that even newbies who have relatively good aignment are often put in boots that are so inappropriate for their foot type, that they end up in pain throughout the entire lesson.
Fitness professionals need to paraphrase the old adage:
Strength to change the things we can change
Accept the things we cannot change
Wisdom to know the difference
Its really important that a fitness professional understands the difference between a structural misalignment in the skeleton, and a muscular imbalance.
We cannot change a structural misalignment. In that case, if a boot alignment will help, great.
Nolo is correct in saying that people are impatient. Really excelling at this sport requires intricate foot biomechanics that are not used in daily life. If biomechanical inefficiency exists due to muscular imbalance, it needs to be worked on consistently, year round.
I recall at the Epicski Academy, Weems wanted Steve, the boot fitter to observe my skiing, in order to determine whether I needed to have an alignment session.
Steve determined that it was not an alignment issue that was throwing off my technique, but my tendency to "muscle" my turns.