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?
Bob Barnes[ September 05, 2003, 07:24 PM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]