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All new talk about "alignment"

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I would like to start this topic not to bicker about vocabulary, but to actualy shine a new light on the subject. yes and actuly present an entirly new and unique understanding of what alignment realy means for skiing.

I wold like to begin by intoducing a new term to the skiing world. Instead of the term "sub taylor neutral" used by podorthists. I look for a position that I call "Dynamic Neutral". This position is not determined by palpating the talis joint. It is found while fully wheighted, and is determined by watching the muscular symptoms of the anterioir tibialus and opposing muscles around the ankle. Watch them while while standing on one foot. By articulating the foot lateraly (with a balance machine that we make and sell by the way). This position I feel, and testing has shown to be the best place to begin any movement from. If you are relaxed to begin with then you can truly make proactive movments. This one footed test Mimics a one footed streight run on a gentle slope.

This is the teltale of all in skiing. If you cant go streight comfortably how can you hunker down and mash on sompthing with any accuracy.

Ask any athlete how important is it to be able to relax while in a performance mode.

Coaches call this "spare capacity"

This one footed testing process I feel will be sompthing that can change the world of alignment for a long time to come.

What do you think about this?

Eric Ward
The Foot Foundation

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 16, 2001 01:57 AM: Message edited 1 time, by mosh ]</font>
post #2 of 19

The one thing we don't want to do here is to turn epicski into an advertising/marketing vehicle for your company, or any other.

I'm not acusing you of this or of "bulletinboardism". I'm just saying that we're here for independent discussion and free thinking -- not to be sold to. I think that's the of the values of epic, don't you?
post #3 of 19
Mosh, I am very interested in that concept. I am assuming that muscular neutral and subtalar neutral are not always the same but if muscular neutral is put on a bell curve that subtalar neutral would be at the apex. I am assuming that an average person would be in muscular balance at sub neutral but many people may be out of balance.
This is an interesting point. I have a functional short leg instead of a anatomical short leg that is not caused by scoliosis but instead, by muscular imbalance. I have recently put a lift in my shoe and much of my back pain is going away. These muscular imbalances must be compensated elsewere in the body and I would think definitely at the base of support, the feet. I am thinking that if I correct at the feet the other imbalances might improve but when this happens I don't know if my alignment will change requiring less lift on my short leg.
I am starting to think of alignment more in terms of a wholistic approach vs a clinical podiatristic approach, especially fore/aft alignment. This is a good topic, I am just getting set up to do alignments in my area as there is no one close by.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 16, 2001 01:54 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Pierre eh! ]</font>
post #4 of 19

Alignment is a topic that intrests me but could you please conduct the conversation in simplier terms. Many of those who read these posts have little or no technical background and we want them to be able to understand what it is we are talking about. Explain things as if you were teaching a ski lesson (I think you said in another post that you were an instructor) otherwise only Pierre eh will be able to understand and talk to you.

Could you explain further what you mean by Dynamic Neutral?


Edit: Are you mainly concerned with lateral alignment, fore/aft alignment or both?

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 16, 2001 07:20 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Ydnar ]</font>
post #5 of 19
I would agree that this is an excellent topic, but would request simpler terminology. My background is somewhat technical, but some of what you said went over my head.

Pierre, I like the idea that you are considering a more wholistic approach to alignment. You are quite coorect in saying that a misalignment in one part of the body will have a compensating effect someplace else. This is why I mentioned some things that were not related to legs and feet when I looked at SCSA pictures, If we have time, I'd love to talk to both of you about this at Fernie.

I just went for my first footbeds and learned some interesting things. From over 28 years in the Aerobic industry, as well as a few years as a Marathon runner, the transverse arches of my feet are a mess.

When Gordon looked at my feet, he commented that it was probably close to impossible to get my skis on edge without footbeds, especially in the slush bucket boots I used to have. I 'd be curious about more info on how the transverse arch relates to ski technique.

Todat we say aloud before an awestruck world:

Winston Churchill
post #6 of 19
mosh -

Welcome to EpicSki.

I too am interested in the technical concept that you proposed.

I wish I could be more positive about your post, but unfortunately, I'm having a very hard time getting past the many spelling and grammatical mistakes in your message.

I feel obliged to point out to you that when someone is brand new in a forum of knowledgeable people, and is attempting to establish their own credibility as a expert in a field, their image goes way down if they make lots of errors like these, particularly, if they misspell some of the most commonly used words in their own area of specialization.

It looks even funnier if they start by saying, "I would like to start this topic not to bicker about vocabulary".


sub taylor = subtalar
podorthists = ???
wheighted = weighted
actualy = actually
actuly = actually
realy = really
intoducing = introducing
streight = straight
sompthing = something

I'm sure that the last thing you want is for your posts to come across as either blatant self-promotion and/or "smoke and mirrors".

Tom / PM

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 16, 2001 01:01 PM: Message edited 1 time, by PhysicsMan ]</font>
post #7 of 19
Mosh,did you inadvertantly leave out the peroneals? They are co-contractors with the anterior tibialis. I would like to see your balance machine.

SnoKarver has taken HH's alignment and footbed course and I am about to take HH's Fall footbed and alignment course. The difference is we will be able to do on-snow assessment and verification. It starts on 10/29 through 11/3. The on-snow portion will be done at Loveland, which opens Thursday.

Yeah, I'm going opening day. Unlike most of the folks go like a bat out of hell, I'm just going to putt and work on balance.
post #8 of 19
Rick H,

I'm so with you. Folks tell me, "Why are you going? There's only 1 run open".

Early season is for practice - nothing but practice.

Looks like it might be Friday. Anyway, I'll be there practicing skiing on one foot.
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ok fair enough, I will try to use more simple language, however this is a fairly technical topic. Please ask questions about what you get lost on specificly and I will be happy to clarify on specifics.

As for the litteral skills I can only apologise for my horible education and typing skills. Please bear with me. Like I said I am a ski pro not a writer. If you can look past this I hope you will see the value of the content.

about the advertising, Whatever...

Dynamic neutral, This position is the place where the most efficient skeletal position of the foot is determined by watching the opposing muscle groups around the ankle. Yes the paraneal, and the hallus group and medail and lateral malelous, (Ankle bones) By manipulating the foot lateraly you can watch very real clear muscular responses. The duration and intesity of the contractions can be balanced. as well as the skeletal movments in the lateral plane.

Secondary symptoms are seen in the knee when this test is done. If a slight squat is done while on one foot. The symptoms will be knee tracking. When the foot is in Dynamic neutral the knee cap will move forward directly not inward. This is "The cure for the dreaded A frame".

Because many foot beds are not made with Dynamic neutral in mind, external canting does not completly deal with the problem. Often there are improvmets or change but many feel that it just is not complete.

I spent many years setting people up in the witherall fasion and although I did create change when we went out on snow I was still seeing the same symptoms. Why??????

Because the ankle was still pronating inside the boot. This is what I call "The invisible Symptom" coaches and Ski pros do not see what is hapening inside the ski boot. what is happening to the foot in the boot is the most important thing of all. This is the rubber meeting the road. The connection between the internal skeleton and the exoskeleton is the most crutial aspect of how ski equipment will perform for someone.

As for my new machine it is simple and is in Aspen. However like computers it is only as good as the operator. I would love to show it to anyone but I have no pics to send on line yet. It is on my list of things to do.

Obvously the cuff adjustments will be as important as always. I follow a simple procedure. Stand in the boots with foot beds inside the shell without bladders. Stand in a comfortable stance. Use adjustments to allow leg shaft to center in the top of the boot. that all.

With reguard to fore aft alignment. Very important. first you need to know what the range of motion of the foot and lower leg is.
Sit in chair with the lower leg perpendicular to floor. Rais foot off the floor keeping heel on floor. IF you can not place two fingers under the ball of the foot problems exist. If two fingers fit well under the ball of the foot the probems with fore aft is neglegable.

There is a dynamic test but it is to long to write now and IF people want to know they will ask I suspect.

That should do it for now. Thanks Eric

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 16, 2001 08:43 PM: Message edited 1 time, by mosh ]</font>
post #10 of 19

As PhysicsMan pointed out, I am also a little curious about your education in biomechanics and anatomy, as you are continuing to misspell terms such as "peroneal", "medial", and "malleolus". I understand that spelling doesn't come easily to everybody, but if you intend to convince us (and prospective customers, investors, et al.) that you have something valid and novel, then you need to make more of an effort to write correctly.

Anyways, I am interested in what you have to say. I have a couple of questions that I hope you can answer.

First, why do you think people aligned "the old fashioned way", for lack of a better term, are able to pronate inside the boot? How can you tell that the ankle is pronating inside the boot? I have a pair of custom footbeds. If I pull them out of my boots and place them on a hard, flat floor and stand on them, my feet do not pronate significantly, even when I flex my knees and ankles. (My knees track very straight with knee flexion when I am standing on my footbeds, by the way) Are you telling me that when I put my footbeds in my boots that somehow I will start pronating? If so, what might the mechanism be? My knees still track straight when I'm in my boots.

Second, as far as I am aware, "The cure for the dreaded A-frame" is not making the knee track straight (although that certainly won't hurt). Isn't the root cause of A-framing typically a non-active inside leg?

post #11 of 19
> I guess someone has to tell me where to
> find spell check if it is so distracting.

Instead of typing your messages directly into the "reply box", type your messages using your word processor (Microsoft Word, or whatever), run its spell checker, select the whole message, copy it, and then paste it into Epic's "reply box". Instant cool!

Tom / PM

PS - That's exactly the procedure I use, especially if its a long message, I know I'm tired, and I'm likely to make mistakes.
post #12 of 19
Mosh I have to digest this for a bit. When standing on one foot the body must shift to adjust for balance but is this indicative of what happens in dynamic skiing. That I don't know without some time to digest this. I have always thought of alignment as being more critical at turn initiation than in the center of the turn where skiers are more one footed.
I believe that I now understand what you are saying but I have to play with it. At the moment I am trying to enclose and addition onto my house so my mind has been elsewere.
post #13 of 19

You're going to be here for a long time answering questions, but you did ask for it.
I'm going to break mine down into several posts to keep things simple.

Like the idea of dynamic neutral. Is it achieved by tipping of the foot bed or by some other means? Please go into detail.

If someone has each foot aligned to dynamic neutral will both knees track straight when the legs are flexed with equal pressure on each foot?

It seems that we are moving away from being so one footed as regards lateral pressure distribution. How does this affect what you are doing and what is your opinion of this trend?

Finally, I don't think that you can dismiss fore/aft alignment as casusally as you do.
The test for ankle flexability can give a us an idea about how well someone will be able to compensate for poor f/a alignment and achieve f/a balance but it is just one factor of many that affect this subject. Others are; ratios between tib/fib length, femur length and torso length; curvature of the spine and how the head attaches to the spine; shape and structure of the foot; pelvic structure and how the femur attaches to the pelvic girdle; shape and structure of the foot; and others that I can't think of right now or don't yet know about. You see, by your test I am OK fore/aft but for me to attain a stance that allows me to pressure the front of the ski I need to raise my heel by more than four cm.

Enough for now, more later,

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 17, 2001 07:23 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Ydnar ]</font>
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ok, well as I have been saying the key to all of this to find out what your ankle is doing while balancing on one foot.

One Foot at a time. This means lift one foot and balance on your foot bed. and flex just the ankle knee and hip of the foot that your standing on. Then you will see movement in the ankle. Yes?.... This is the most important part. You wrote that you are flexing your knees, like both at the same time This is an inaplicable test for skiing.

The inside leg thing is a whole different issue that We can dive into but first you need to try the one foot thing before we can go further. The inside leg can be underactive, however most people are using it as a balancing platform becasue they can not commit completly to the outside ski. Lets go one step at a time.

I guess someone has to tell me where to find spell check if it is so distracting.

post #15 of 19
Yd said ... I need to raise my heel by more than four cm

4 cm is an enormous lift. : You must have serious alignment problems and little flexibility in the ankle!
post #16 of 19

That's the kind of lift that someone with fused ankles would require to be able to ski. Yet like I said I would probably pass Mosh's flex test. The alignment/bootfitting/footbed experts that I have consulted over the years have all said the same thing, that a lift of 5 to 7 mm would probably help me. I tried that and really didn't feel much difference, now I know why. I only found out how far out I was when I was introduced to the squat test. You should have seen the look on the face of the person administering it to me. He gave me his hand to keep me from falling backward and by the time I got all the way down he was leaning back as far as he could get with a foot braced against the toes of my boots, he almost couldn't counter-balance me.
You probably understand now my intense intrest in this fore/aft thing.

Bet you thought I was going to say I meant mm instead of cm,
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
P-man I will do that I just can't help jumping right to the reply but I agree that a bit of patience may make all the difference.

But quickly you are all on the right track and frankly I was expecting much much more resistance from such a crowd.

So why one footed? IF you were to conduct a time lapse analysis of a ski turn, what are you doing more of? Pressuring both skis equaly, or pressuring one ski more? Obviously the moments of equal pressure are micro seconds, aguably never. The remainder of the turn is spent dominiantly presuring one or the other ski. Even these days of more two footed skiing.

The idea of aligning each foot independenly is so important to getting them to behave much more similarly. If each foot is set up in a way that alows the muscles to relax then you have created a simlar relationship of the kinetic chain to the ski. By placing each half of the body in its most optimal balancing position. You have made both halves symetric to one another.

So imagine what life would be like if you can do a relaxed one footed straight run equaly on each side when you do the two footed streight run the lack of tension will astound you and how quickly the skis respond will also be very impresive for anyone who has struggled with skiing and alignment.

This is one way to unerstand why people struggle with one side and feel more comfortable with the other.

I hope this clears some things up I will be back later and I will use spell check next time. Thanks Mosh
post #18 of 19
Hooray, Andrew_Tai! Good observation about Mosh's supposed technical knowledge.

Mosh, please learn a little more about the issues you are discussing. I can't take you seriously if you don't even know the terminology. : You have made up words that don't exist to describe features, movements and facts that probably don't exist either.

Help us all by being clearer and plainer. Thanks.

EDITED to correct typos.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 18, 2001 10:19 AM: Message edited 1 time, by gonzostrike ]</font>
post #19 of 19
Dear mosh,

Thanks for your answers. However, I don't really understand, from a mechanics standpoint, why my "statically"-aligned feet (as opposed to "dynamically" aligned, I guess) should become misaligned when I'm standing on one leg. Why should the knee track differently whether one is standing on one foot or two? In my case, it doesn't!

Now, I have pretty darn flat feet, and they pronate pretty severely without my footbeds. Without them I can't skate or ski on one foot and my knees track inwards with flexion. However, with my old-fashioned footbeds in my skates, I have no problem gliding on one foot in a straight line. Same on skis. I "can do a relaxed one footed straight run equaly [sic] on each side" (to quote one of your earlier posts). I find that my knee tracks straight whether I am standing on one foot or two. Of course this is purely anecdotal evidence. But to extend a point made by pierre eh!, I am not sure that there is a biomechanically sound reason why a statically aligned foot/ankle doesn't result in a "dynamically" aligned foot, at least for the majority of individuals.

Your assertions are not implausible. But let's be scientific here. We could argue all day about your hypothesis, but the only way to know if it is valid is to test it. So, please describe a way of testing your hypothesis. For example, can you describe a dynamic test on skis or skates for which "static" footbeds are inadequate? I've already mentioned that one-footed skating and skiing, at least, are pretty easy for me when I am using my footbeds.

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