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Q- Angle

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I have been doing a bit of reading and have run across the term Q-Angle in reference to:.


I have done a search on this site but I still don't quite understand this.

Can anyone give me a bit more information or experience with this?


post #2 of 25
Hi Lu

It means "Quadriceps Angle," and refers essentially to the lateral angle of the knee. For someone with a wider pelvis, typical of women, the femurs (thighs) must angle outward from the knees to the hips. This causes the muscle of the thigh (the quadriceps) to have to pull at an angle across the knee, rather than straight in line with the lower leg. Large Q-angles can contribute to knee problems, especially when combined with bad technique.

Here's an illustration:

Does that explain it?

Best regards,

[ September 02, 2003, 11:37 AM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]
post #3 of 25
Q angle stands for quadricep angle. It is actually measured by drawing a line from the hip to the middle of the kneecap, drawing a second line the corresponds to the femur and subsequently measuring the angle between the two lines. In theory SOME woman have a greater Q angle than men. I say some not wanting to make gender generalities.

Now here is the part I find counterintuitive. The result of a high Q angle is a knock kneed skier. Being what is then termed "under-edged", a student then needs, ideally, to be corrected in terms of their alignment. There are various arguments about how very much a severely knock kneed skier can be "re-aligned" as well as the best way to do it. Some say cuff alignment, others boot sole, and others still advovate sub binding cants.

At one point I could cite the average Q angles for men and women, however, I think to a large degree it's silly due to the variety of shapes we see in people. The "average I BELIEVE" is 18 degrees for women and 12 for men. Those figures stick in my mind, although I could be off a few degrees.

[ September 02, 2003, 08:05 PM: Message edited by: Rusty Guy ]
post #4 of 25
I had a simultaneous post with a man who skews the Q-angle for the entire male race! Bob is the slimmest person you'll ever see and can eat like a horse. I think I'll waddle down to the kitchen and have another celery stick.
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your quick reply.

Bob, thank you for the illustration. I understand it a bit more. But let me ask you:

If a Large Q angle due to large hips, tends to cause knock kneed, over edged, A frame....... then would excessive smaller hips then cause bow leggedness?

post #6 of 25
As the step father/coach of a couple girls with 13 degree "Q" angles(a wife too) I'd like to point out that women who have that are usually under edged. My wife, who has her knees together and her feet about 18 inches apart, needs about 4 degrees of cant under her inside edges to adjust her stance. This has been my experience with knock kneed women for the last 15 or 20 years. Of course you don't know for sure until they stand on the canting wands.
post #7 of 25
Here is another thread on this topic:

This issue becomes pertinent when you talk about stance width. Proponents of a locked stance do not realize that this is not functional for women with large Q angles.
post #8 of 25
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
Here is another thread on this topic:

This issue becomes pertinent when you talk about stance width. Proponents of a locked stance do not realize that this is not functional for women with large Q angles.
Yeah, but they ski better than 97% of the rest of us.


[ September 02, 2003, 01:50 PM: Message edited by: irul&ublo ]
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
LM thank you for that link, I must have missed that one.

I am confused
"Proponents of a locked stance "
Do you mind explaining this quote?
As far as I am aware at no point should there be a 'locked stance' in skiing. I thought that stance depended on terrain and snow conditions among other variables. Stance changes and can become narrower for instance in powder where on a steep icy slope, stance can become a bit wider for better balance and edging.

post #10 of 25
Oh goodness! I opened up a can of worms! There are certain proponents of a non PSIA technique, who believe that a women's differing anatomy is irrelevant to stance width. They believe that a very narrow stance is mostt functional for everyone.
post #11 of 25
Say it ain't so! :
post #12 of 25
Thanks for the link. I missed it the first time around.

I didn't think there had been much of a stance issue since the really dogmatic ones left. It's kind of been the communication deal that Bob B talked about on page 7 of that "OTHER" thread. LU WHOO has it the way I understand it.
post #13 of 25
Originally posted by LU WHOO:
"Proponents of a locked stance "
Do you mind explaining this quote?
I assume she meant "closed" stance. Here we go with more jargon. A closed stance is "relatively" narrow and I suppose in theory would mitigate the stance issue of a bow-legged or under-edged skier.

I am not a follower of PMTS or a Harald Harb advocate. There are others here with exposure to Harb's teaching. I know one or two "green" PMTS certs. I presume Lisa is suggesting Harb advocated a narrow or fairly closed stance to mitigate the issues related to a high "Q-angle" for women.

In response to your question about the reverse being the case concerning bowlegged skiers and a low Q-angle I can't recall anyone suggesting such a correlation.
post #14 of 25
This is a locked stance...Ott
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Bob, or anyone else do you have an illustration of a bow legged person so I have an visual of what they would look like in relation to femurs and hips.

Would I be correct if I said that a bowlegged person would be underedged? If so, if it was not possible to change the boot alignment at the time would you suggest a wider stance might help a bowlegged person?

Thanks for all the comments so far.

post #16 of 25
A skier who appears bowlegged is usually over edged. A person who is actually bowlegged to start out may, in ski boots, be underedged. This is very rare. I can't say as I've seen it more than once in 20+ years of doing alignments.
Many World Cup athletes look bowlegged because they tend to be set up with positive cant(on their inside edges)
On the other hand I'm sure every instructor can visualize the person with their knees together and their skis apart(knock kneed). In every instance I've found that person to be under edged.
Remember most people are standing with their skis flat. Therefore, if they're bowlegged they're over edged and the opposite if knock kneed.
post #17 of 25
All aggravated or mitigated by pronation. I suppose as I think about it I have never heard of anyone who "normally" supinates when they walk. Hanging around running stores I have never seen anyone who rolled towards their little two during the course of a normal gait.

I too have 2 degrees cant under the inside of my foot and it really helps me. I thought alignment was a black art/science until I tried different cants. The results are remarkable.
post #18 of 25
Pronation is usually a factor as well. My wife, after 30+years of nursing,looks like she's wearing flesh colored socks that bag at the ankles when she's barefoot. Orthothics made up almost 2 degrees of cant for her(about the only time I've seen something inside the boot change the cant outside).
The Athletic Skier says, "first make a footbed, then align the cuff(if possible)and last do the cant".
post #19 of 25
Hi Lu, and everyone--

There are some possibly confusing things going on in this discussion. A large Q-angle does NOT necessarily mean a skier will be underedged. And while it looks similar, it is NOT necessarily the same thing as "knock-kneed"--which to me means that the knees are closeer together than the feet. Shins could be quite parallel, and a skier could be neutrally aligned, with any given q-angle.

As Rusty suggests, the combination of large q-angle AND underedged or pronated, doubles the skier's problems. Pronated/underedged skiers often use exaggerated knee angles as they try to get their skis to hold. "A-frames" or "knock-knees" are a sign of underedged aligmnent. Combine that with a large natural q-angle, and the knees undego a LOT of stress! Again, the hinge-joint knees work most efficiently and safely if the pull of the large quadriceps (thigh) muscles comes directly in line with the angle of the hinge. Both large q-angle and pronation/a-frame skew the angle of that pull, but they are not the same thing.

Would I be correct if I said that a bowlegged person would be underedged?
Generally, no--it is the opposite. Bowleggedness is a typical sign of OVERedged alignment and a rigid, supinated (high, stiff arch) foot. The confusion may arise from what happens if a "normal" person pretends to be bowlegged. If you stand in your natural-width stance, in your ski boots, and pull your knees apart, your skis will roll toward their outside edges--as if you were "underedged." Conversely, pull your knees together and your skis will roll to their INSIDE edges. But unlike you, the truly bowlegged/overedged skier's skis are FLAT or riding on their INSIDE edges when they stand in their natural bowlegged stance. Some supinated/overedged, but NOT naturally bowlegged, skiers become bowlegged when they ski, as they roll their knees out in an effort to reduce edge angle. You may see this at any phase of a turn, but it can be especially obvious as they try to flatten and release the edge of the downhill ski in the turn transition.

So there are lots of related issues going on here, but they are mostly independent, and not always causally linked. Typically, an obviously knock-kneed skier is under-edged, and an obviously bowlegged skier is overedged. To experiment with cant strips, the underedged/knock-kneed skier would put the thick edges of the wedge-shaped strips over the INSIDE edges, to INCREASE the skis' edge angle, and the overedged/bowlegged skier would put the thick edges over the OUTSIDE edges, to DECREASE the skis' edge angle.

And remember that none of these signs is an absolute gauge of alignment in itself. Knock-knees and a-frames can be purely technique-related, even for a well-aligned skier with a small q-angle. Skiers who rotate their upper bodies into the turn naturally twist their hips to the outside as a result of that rotation. Less-skilled skiers usually then just skid a lot, due to insufficient edge angle. More skillful skiers make up for the lack of hip angles by exaggerating KNEE angulation--bending the outside knee unnaturally sideways, creating the a-frame/knock-knee look, and causing undo stress on that knee!

Confusin', ain't it?

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

[ September 05, 2003, 07:24 PM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]
post #20 of 25
Originally posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado:

Confusin', ain't it?

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
Yes. It's hard to even know where to begin. Oh yeah, footbeds - cuffs - then canting.
post #21 of 25
Q-angle is measured at an intersection of vectors. The two lines/vectors intersect at the tibial tuberosity,NOT THE KNEE CAP . The tibial tuberosity is the boney bump below the knee cap.One line comes form the ASIS, anterior superior illac spine and travels to the tibial tuberosity. The ASIS is the boney bump in front of and above your hips. The other line goes from the tibial tuberosity to the center of the ankle mortise . SOrry for the big words but I cannot let alignment discussions go on when the basis for the discussion is wrong.
post #22 of 25
Yes, a large Q angle may *look* like knock-kneeism, but it isn't always the case. Beware of viewing the Q angle as some kind of deformity...because it's awfully common in around half the population.
post #23 of 25
...and here I am guys : ,
Hip to knee(below) mis-alignment to my somewhat bow-leggedness....to my pronation & supination.
I haven't been over to the shop in a while gmolfoot, but it's Steve from (used to be)Massachusetts....now Maine.
Greg must have enjoyed the successes we had while working on my alignment...as well as having a good chuckle over a few of my Atomic boots' inconsistencies
Gmolfoot...I think you're exactly right about part of the problem emminating from the hips on down. Good orthotics worn daily have really done a great job, particularly in allowing my feet to relax without having to compensate(which in time becomes a reflex) for the pronation.

Rusty, in years prior..without orthotics...my body would compensate for the pronation by rolling out, which would place the wear on the outside of my forefoot.

From my knees on down...Bob's description couldn't be more on target....and from getting on a whole-hearted training routine, the NeWLY-toned muscles and ligaments are now pulling their weight!...which prior, no doubt, added to the alignment problems even more....
It's amazing how much of a difference a well-designed orthotic/footbed makes... [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

[ September 06, 2003, 03:35 PM: Message edited by: HaveSkisWillClimb ]
post #24 of 25
Lu Whoo,
For an explanation of the Q angle and many other physical problems dealing with women skiers get a copy of Women Ski by Claudia Carbone. It was an eye opener to me. I've seen copies in used book stores and on Amazon.com.
post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thank you Melf,
I have not heard of that book. It is always interesting to hear of different books or source materials that have helped different people grasp a subject.

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