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Left/Right turn variations

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
On soft snow (powder, cut-up, crud) I can feel a significant difference between left and right turns. When turning left I feel the pressure of my right foot on the ski centered under the arch and spreading out very equally from there. It is (feels like) a very stable platform that I can dynamically control with ease. When turning right my "natural" alignment produces a center of pressure (between my left foot and ski) that is felt right at or just behind the ankle and doesn't distribute out nearly as equally as the right. It feels substantially less stable than the right ski in a left turn. In both cases the inside ski pressure feels pretty well distributed and stable.

In trying to improve the stability on the left I can consciously move the perceived center of pressure forward but no matter what I do, the left ski in a right turn does not feel nearly as stable with the pressure spreading out nicely over the whole foot.

When searching to produce the same stable platform on my left ski in a right turn as I get on the opposite side I have tried a number of things. Conscious efforts to pull the left ski back (reduce tip lead) as I begin the turn, move forward, increased tipping/external rotation of the inside ski, etc., all produce some minor helpful effects but still don't produce anywhere near the stable platform I find on my right during a left turn.

I am curious if, from this description, anyone can hazard a guess about the root cause of this difference. Is alignment involved? What about technique? I have played with the boot adjustments I have readily available (forward lean and internal boot board ramp angle) with some improvement. As mentioned above I have also tried to improve this by making changes in technique, again only with minor improvement. Finally, I feel this difference on the groomed as well but both the technique and alignment changes I have made have worked better to reduce the differences between left and right turns there although some differences still exist on the groomed as well.
post #2 of 21
Do you have custom foot beds ?

When I finally decided to have foot beds made the boot fitter examined my feet and said "let me tell you something about your skiing". "You make a better left turn then a right turn". I said "why, yes". She said " I can fix that".

I'm no instructor but I know the benefit of good foot beds.
post #3 of 21
Si,

A couple questions. First, which hip was replaced and might this be a factor? Second, do you know which is your naturally dominate foot?

Yd
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Max Capacity,

Yes I have custom footbeds which were made buy someone who is well known for this work and actually does footbeds for a couple of World Cup racers. In general I have flat, adequately mobile (for skiing standards) feet/ankles that don't require very "complex" footbeds. I have had 3 footbeds that I have used over my skiing career and they have made only very small differences although my current pair are definitely the best in terms of fit and allowing for foot pronation.

Yd,

I think that's a salient question. I had my right hip replaced almost 4 years ago. During replacement the external rotators were removed and then replaced into position. I do believe there is some residual weakness (only apparent under relatively high demand such as a large step up while climbing with a pack and skis on my back) in the external rotators and I continue to work on strengthening the hip stabilizers. I have thought about the external rotators limiting supination of the right foot and having an effect on the stability of the left foot/ski during a right turn. I actually think this may be part of the issue but from my own perceptions it's still not the root of the problem.

Edit, my right foot is definitely my dominant foot.

To you two and those who may respond - thanks for taking the time to comment on this! This has been an issue ever since I have become more aware of my pressure distribution and control over my skis.

[ December 01, 2003, 09:58 AM: Message edited by: Si ]
post #5 of 21
Si, how long has this situation existed? Did it begin when your hip got replaced?
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Si:


I have thought about the external rotators limiting supination of the right foot and having an effect on the stability of the left foot/ski during a right turn. I actually think this may be part of the issue but from my own perceptions it's still not the root of the problem.

Si, my own very uneducated, non-medical guess is that the hip differences are the primary cause. You walk differently on your left leg versus the right and I can't help but think that your pressure distribution on skis has got to be different as well.

Have you tried actually lifting (oh, God, not the LIFTING thing again!) your right ski off the snow during some of these turns? I'm curious about how much of your total body weight you're actually committing to the left ski on a right turn. It may be that you are putting far more weight on your right ski than you think you are during a right turn. That might have a fairly significant effect on why you feel the way you do. And all of that might easily be related to your hip situation.

Just a thought.

Bob
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Si:

When searching to produce the same stable platform on my left ski in a right turn as I get on the opposite side I have tried a number of things. Conscious efforts to pull the left ski back (reduce tip lead) as I begin the turn, move forward, increased tipping/external rotation of the inside ski, etc., all produce some minor helpful effects but still don't produce anywhere near the stable platform I find on my right during a left turn.
Si,

Without seeing you ski, it's like trying to find a specific ant in my back yard. But I do have a couple of thoughts based on one of your comments. If you are making a defined movement to draw your ski back at turn initiation, rather than simply maintaining a drawn ski position, you may actually be causing tip lead in your next turn, which would cause your fore/aft position and weight on your outside foot to be somewhat as you describe. It's the old scissor turn movement, just in a different degree.

Also, if you have not had a full in-shop and on snow alignment since your hip replacement, I would get that done. Without knowing where your alignment is at, especially after a major surgery like that, you may be attempting to compensate with movements for something your body cannot help but do. I have done alignments for about 4 hip replacement patients and found none that could be truly fixed with movement patterns alone. Everything from 1 1/4" short legs to massive supination (due to not re-habbing properly).
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Bob.Peters:
Si, my own very uneducated, non-medical guess is that the hip differences are the primary cause. You walk differently on your left leg versus the right and I can't help but think that your pressure distribution on skis has got to be different as well.

Have you tried actually lifting (oh, God, not the LIFTING thing again!) your right ski off the snow during some of these turns? I'm curious about how much of your total body weight you're actually committing to the left ski on a right turn. It may be that you are putting far more weight on your right ski than you think you are during a right turn. That might have a fairly significant effect on why you feel the way you do. And all of that might easily be related to your hip situation.

Just a thought.

Bob
Bob, you know I very much respect your opinion so thanks! I have tried lifting my right ski off the snow and can do that quite readily. I don't have any trouble varying the load distribution from 100/0 to 50/50 (or even further if I want to make a weighted inside turn) on the left ski during a right turn. I do tend to want to wieght my inside ski a bit more when turning right in soft snow but that's because I don't feel so stable on the left ski (compared to the opposite direction).

One suspicion I have is somewhat along your line of thinking, however. I am wondering if the left (my natural hip), which has some limitations in internal rotation (but only moderately so far due to arthritis like the right that got replaced) just can't "follow" the angles of my "leading" right leg during a right turn. This would at least explain why it's not as big of a problem on the groomed where the edge tracking the snow can actively help me to internally rotate that hip. However, I am not totally convinced by this argument.

(Note, for more info on left leg abilities see my response to MC Extreme below).
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by MC Extreme:
Si,

Without seeing you ski, it's like trying to find a specific ant in my back yard. But I do have a couple of thoughts based on one of your comments. If you are making a defined movement to draw your ski back at turn initiation, rather than simply maintaining a drawn ski position, you may actually be causing tip lead in your next turn, which would cause your fore/aft position and weight on your outside foot to be somewhat as you describe. It's the old scissor turn movement, just in a different degree.

Also, if you have not had a full in-shop and on snow alignment since your hip replacement, I would get that done. Without knowing where your alignment is at, especially after a major surgery like that, you may be attempting to compensate with movements for something your body cannot help but do. I have done alignments for about 4 hip replacement patients and found none that could be truly fixed with movement patterns alone. Everything from 1 1/4" short legs to massive supination (due to not re-habbing properly).
MC,
Thanks a lot. Yes, it's very difficult to make suggestions based on my descriptions, however, I really am just looking for ideas that I can work with. I think both the points you raise are good ones.

To respond to your points, I don't think I am drawing my ski back at any specific point but rather keeping excessive tip lead from happening right from the start, so I don't think this is the issue. On the other hand, the more I reduce tip lead (to the point that it's close to non-existent) the less the problem. Unfortunately, no matter how much I reduce tip lead there is still a substantial difference and I don't achieve a stable pressure distribution on the outside/left ski in a right turn. In general I try to ski with very little tip lead and am successful for the most part in this.

I have had a couple of "expert" alignment evaluations since my hip was done and my alignment has changed at most a 1/2 of degree. However, with new boots (which I also hoped would contribute to solving the left/right variation) my alignment on the RIGHT went from 1.5-2.0 degrees thick side out to 1.5-2.0 degrees the other way - quite surprising. My left didn't change. I have gotten pretty good at checking my own alignment statically indoors and match the shop evaluations pretty closely.

On the snow evaluation shows similar results to indoor evaluation. Funny thing is I don't have to shift my body nearly as much when straight line tracking on the left ski as opposed to the right. However, I still feel more stable on the right when straight tracking on one ski with a pressure distribution which feels more forward and more evenly distributed than the left.

Finally my leg lengths are VERY close and besides the slight weakness in my external rotators (affecting external rotation and stability of the right hip - not the side having problems on a right turn) my strength in the right hip is probably better than the left as the dominant side.

As per Vera's question, which I think is relevent here, I THINK that I experienced similar problems before my hip replacement. However as I made significant skill improvements while my hip was getting worse (had to, to be able to ski at all) and then further improvement since then, I wasn't really able to perceive pressure distribution and stability to the same degree as so many other ineffeciencies were in the mix.

If you have any other thoughts on this I'd love to hear it. I think you raised very good issues that could be the cause but I don't THINK they are in my case. However, I will certainly keep them in mind and keep un re-evaluating.
post #10 of 21
Si, just playing detective here. [img]smile.gif[/img]
Go to www.bootech.net and check out the text for "How".
When you were aligned and had your footbeds made, did your technician measure in a scientific fashion all the kinetic chain considerations mentioned in that text?
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by vera:
Si, just playing detective here. [img]smile.gif[/img]
Go to www.bootech.net and check out the text for "How".
When you were aligned and had your footbeds made, did your technician measure in a scientific fashion all the kinetic chain considerations mentioned in that text?
Vera, thanks that's exactly what I need is detective work. Yes the person I worked with did check (and record) all of the measurements and considerations mentioned (as I said, this person is very well qualified). I actually did the alignment process and looked at a couple of boots (somewhat limited by a low volume foot) before purchasing the boots. The boots (a pair considered in the alignment process) were purchased at a local shop with reasonable but limited expertise. However, the alignment process doesn't actively "check" hip rotation which I suspect more than anything else (my left, natural hip, that is). If anyone had a good assesment for a functional (as opposed to clinical which I know how to do) hip articulation assessment (specific to skiing) perhaps that would help? If I just stand in bare feet and push off to either side I definitely feel a difference right to left but I'm not sure that is relative to skiing (although I think maybe it is).
post #12 of 21
A part of holding an inside foot back is flexing the knee and ankle of that foot. The hip on that side should also slide forward slightly. Perhaps there is a difference in how much that hip movement occurs????
post #13 of 21
Si,

You may want to check your natural stance for how balanced it is. I know chiropractors have instrumentation that checks the muscle tonus of the back muscles and based on the data they know where the stance is off and by how much.

It could be that after the hip replacement you are favoring one side.

Another thought would be perhaps to move one of the bindings slightly back along the ski (probably the left one, since you are feeling that you pressure the left ski in the right turn behind the ankle instead of in the middle of the foot).

But I am not a doctor or a chiropractor :
post #14 of 21
Could also be "leftover" movement patterns from BEFORE the hip was replaced... ones that were needed with the old hip to compensate for problems... but no longer are required... this could be VERY subtle type of movement...

How do you look on video? Is each turn initiated the same etc etc...
post #15 of 21
Si, I think you're on the right track when you are thinking of hip flexibility. Disski's point of the good hip being stronger from compensating for the other hurting and/or recovering hip could easily reduce the mobility in the left. Could be an imbalance in the strenght of the muscles also.

Try these easy exercises t oexplore your range of motion.

Standing up, slowly extend(tilt forward) your pelvis, and then slowly flex(tilt to the rear) your pelvis. Be attentive, and try to feel which hip socket has better mobility.

Next lay on your back on the floor, with your knees bent at 90 degrees, with your feet against a wall, shoulder width apart. Then slowly move your thigh(femur) through abduction and adduction. Again be attentive, and feel for any difference in range of motion. This is a good warmup excercise for skiing, and was how it was presented to me.

Another one is to stand with feet twice hip width and with legs straight, slowly rock your hips in straight line as far to each side as you can, isolating the movement to the hipos as much as possible. Seems simple but because of range of motion issues, is not as easy as one would think.

Then try clock face movements with your hips. 12 is hips extended, 6 is hips flexed, 3 right hip lifted, 9 left hip lifted, with other a combination of one hip lifted and pelvis tilt.

These exercises can give you an idea of the mobility you have, and can also help loosen things up.

You're thinking in this direction is probably right on.
post #16 of 21
Si,

Digital video analysis can help do some of the detective work.

Two of the features of the video analysis software I use are:
1) digital flipping of video
2) side by side simultaneous play

With these features one can have a computer screen with two video windows set up side by side. You start by bringing up the same video clip in both windows. Then advance one clip by one turn, then digitally flip it. You now can compare your right turns against your left turns. Hit play or frame by frame advance and you can use your expert left turns to see what is happening differently in your right turns.

If you don't have access to such software you can send me a video tape. I'll send you back a tape of an analysis session. PM for more info if you're interested.

Also, if your hip is part of the problem, consider going to a physical therapist for help. There's a special place in hell for these people because they have a bag of tricks that can take you to the brink of what you can stand, but also solve your problems quite effectively.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Ric B and theRusty, Thanks! As I go through this discussion, think about the problem, and play with movements I am becoming more convinced than ever that is is a limitation of physical movement that is the problem. I am traveliing on business right now but as soon as I get time I'm going to play with your assessment ideas, Ric. Last night I was noticing that I am limited in pronation on my left foot. This was noted and accounted for (as much as possible) in my new footbeds this year. If you then add in the limitation in internal rotation (and who knows what else) on the left (natural, but moderately arthritic hip) I think the problem is magnified. Now, if I add in a slight weakness in external rotation on the right as a result of hip replacement, things are compounded further. This is becoming more evident to me as I try to edge in bare feet. My left side just can't create nearly as much edge as the right while keeping my feet straight ahead. The left wants to "stem" out to increase edging.

theRusty, It is tempting to take you up on your offer of video anaylsis but I don't know if I'll get the chance. There are a few repercussions of this problem (like hanging on to a right turn a bit too much - especially in very difficult and steep terrain due to lack confidence about those left turns) that I think are obvious but I think that video analysis would show the difference in movement patterns between left and right that are more towards the root issues.

On the other hand, I am becoming more convinced that I should be able to get a handle on the basis for this problem through exercises and assessments like Ric is suggesting.

BTW I am in the Rehabilitation field so I have plenty of access to top sports rehab programs. I wonder, however, if they've ever addressed this problem (if the pronation/hip rotation is the heart of the issue) specifically. I will check when I get back!

I really appreciate this folks. It's really great to have you help me think through this problem and hopefully try to design a program to help remediate the problem. My old approach has been to think about boot alignment (compensation vs. remediation) but the canting I need for alignment of knee and leg is opposite to what I need to try and increase my ability to pronate. Thus any time I have tried to improve one I have affected the other. So I think it's very worthwhile to look for alternative solutions like those being suggested.
post #18 of 21
Si,

You're right on for where I was leading with the video analysis offer. It's a detective tool.

Even though those sports guys might not have experience with your problem, they have means and tools to measure things and find problems. Keep your questions to them open ended. The good ones work miracles.
post #19 of 21
Great advice, Si. You might consult one of those hotshot athletic trainers at the University--the guy who gave Ric the exercises is a trainer for the Montana State track team.
post #20 of 21
Si, what I'd really like to suggest is to take up tai-chi with a good teacher, and practicve regularly. What the sports physician Nolo speaks of did for me was put a western analytical spin on this whole subject. He spoke highly of the soft martial arts for physical training and said he derived many of his stretches from yoga, but he did caution against jumping into yoga without first having good conditioning. Sounds to me like you've already developed a good structural awareness, but we can always improve it.

I have to admit that I like the cut to the chase, quick analytical western approach, especially when it suuports the time tested chinese approach.

Good luck with this. Later, Ric.
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
Ric,

The danger in thinking you have good awareness is that what you think of as objective self-evaluation is actually subjective and off the mark. This discussion has given me some further support for a hypothesis about the basis for this problem. I will try to take some of your advice and further assess my movement potential on the left side (as well as the right!). I will also seek local/non-skiing expert help in this assessment (and intervention if the assessment bears out the hypothesis). Of course, a video analysis of the type theRusty suggests would certainly be very helpful (and more objective than my own impressions).

Again, I really do appreciate everybody's assistance in helping me think through this issue. I have tackled this issue many times before and always end up with the conclusion that it is just a static alignment issue that should be best fixed through boot alignment and better ski technique. I now feel that I'm going to have to try and see if I can work on improving my ability to move certain ways off the slopes. This is a real change in direction that I am hopeful about. I've certainly worked on my right side because of the hip replacement but never really the left which only has moderate arthritic issues. I am hopeful.

P.S. I don't feel like anything here is definitive so if anyone else wants to offer a comment or suggestion I'm listening.
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