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Help!!! Do I have a boot/balance/alignment problem?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
1. When balancing on one foot in boots (no skis), my right foot balance is noticeably better than my left foot balance. I notice no difference when doing the same in shoes.

2. In boots my weight seems to be centered over the big toe side of my foot, from toe to heel. This is true with both feet, but more so with the left. Is this where the weight should be?

3. When balancing on my left foot the boot seems to be throwing me to the right, as thought the left side of the sole is higher than the right side. This is not true with my right boot. Also, when I am skiing on one foot, I am less sure on the left ski.

I have Salomon Evolution boots with custom footbeds. I would really appreciate any input.
Melf

[ November 19, 2002, 12:23 PM: Message edited by: Melf ]
post #2 of 23
Melf: I'd post this again but as a balance problem. You will probably get much more response.

Most boot things are.... too tight ..... too loose etc.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by yuki:
Melf: I'd post this again but as a balance problem. You will probably get much more response.

Most boot things are.... too tight ..... too loose etc.
Thanks Yuki.
post #4 of 23
Have you played around with the cuff angle adjustment? I think that's the most critical boot adjustment. I always take a couple of hours on the snow with new boots to get the cuff angle where it's easy to find the outside edges. Once that is right, I work on setting the forward lean. My rule is that if I can't hop from one foot to the other easily, without rebalancing between every hop, then I need to adjust the forward lean or add or subtract heal lifts until I can.

John
post #5 of 23
Melf,
As John said, check boot cuff. First check adjustments to see if they are the same L/R. If not make left same as right. Then if issue is the same, try adjusting the left cuff out at top (down at outside hinge, up at inside hinge) until you can get a feeling of equal balance on both L/R. As for weight on inside, this would be normal when picking up one foot, but not so that you feel like falling to big toe side or so that you have to make a contorted upper body movement to keep from doing so.

This made me curious so I just put my boots on. On a hard floor I can easily stand on either foot with a small movement of hips to center my weight over a foot. I do not feet much bias, if any, to my big toe side once I balance. I know that I am pretty well dialed in alignment wise and my boot soles are very flat (I grind my boots rather than cant my skis).

If you can find a shop that does true alignment evaluation (not just loosening hinges and bouncing) get one done that will tell you where you knee is relative to center of boot sole. I'm guessing inside in your case. Are you knockneed, normally ski with knees touching or with lower legs in an A-frame? If your knee is too far to inside center of boot sole you would experience what you are describing. It is worth finding somplace that can get it right. If there is no local shop that does true full alignment work, find one at a resort by asking around the Ski School to find out where the local pros get their boots done.
Good Luck
[img]smile.gif[/img]

[ November 18, 2002, 08:44 PM: Message edited by: Arcmeister ]
post #6 of 23
Melf : Regarding those Salomon Evolution boots, make sure the exterior adjustable flex settings are in the same position on both sides of the boot and on both boots.

Also if you are right handed you are probably right legged.The stronger leg will have better control and dexterity. It is more dificult to be in balance "in" ski boots than "on" flatter and less restrictive street shoes. Notice the use of the words "On" and "In."

Still concerned, then see the guy who fitted your boots, and again check out your fit, alignment,and foot beds. Alignment requirements can easily change from season to season.
post #7 of 23
AH! The march in place thingie! Does your Pilates instructor use this? The reason its done, is for 2 reasons.

1: You are less likely to cheat and try to adjust yourself into what you "think" is correct.

2: It gives a SLIGHTLY more significant hint as to what someone's dynamic balance is like.

This is one of the reasons why the one leg test does not work all that well for skiing. Its static. We use it sometimes just to see if there is any really significant problem in differentiation between the 2 sides, but its not the end all/be all.
post #8 of 23
Yes LisaMarie. Once someone knows their feet are supposed to align straight ahead they try and adjust them by cheating. Some people even try to do this while running. It only lasts a few feet and then the muscles take over and their feet go where they will go.

The dynamic issue is one reason static tests don't tell much about how the leg really performs unless of course one wants to just stand in the bar in a ski suit looking cool (they don't really ski). : This as aside the muscle skeletal geometry has nothing to do with good ski technique. And the vertical alignment of the tibia is not at all the same as in good technique.

For this same reason balancing on one ski on the flats doesn't prove anything that relates to good technique either. It just proves......well that you can balance on one ski on the flats. Boring. I would rather "just go skiing".
post #9 of 23
Melf,

Seems like your symptoms point to being inside or knock kneed as Arcmeister mentioned. I don't recommend using the cuff adjustment to try and fix it, though. Alignment experts just use that adjustment to align the boot cuff to the lower leg angles and then deal with cant once that is done.

To do this;
Take liner out,loosen cuff angle, put footbeds in bottom of boots and settle in to your ski stance with your correct stance width (you may want to measure that, so if you do a pro alignment, your stance width is consistent).

Have another person adjust cuff so that it has even gaps right to left from your lower leg. Then have them tighten cuff.

Once this is set, then check alignment and if it still feels off, see an alignment pro and have them diagnose the correct fix and set you up with either the correct angle in your boot sole or cants under you bindings. (I recommend the boot grind and then using cat tracks to protect it. Then you can ski on a variety of skis and you also know it's consistent. If you do the ski and then don't protect the boot sole, your parking lot wanders can throw of the interface and change your alignment once again.

Anyway, good luck with your journey. Alignment doesn't solve all the balancing problems, it just eliminates one obstacle to give you a better chance at arriving at your desired personal outcome.

Cheers,

Holiday
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Melf:
1. When balancing on one foot in boots (no skis), my right foot balance is noticeably better than my left foot balance. I notice no difference when doing the same in shoes.

2. In boots my weight seems to be centered over the big toe side of my foot, from toe to heel. This is true with both feet, but more so with the left. Is this where the weight should be?

3. When balancing on my left foot the boot seems to be throwing me to the right, as thought the left side of the sole is higher than the right side. This is not true with my right boot. Also, when I am skiing on one foot, I am less sure on the left ski.

I have Salomon Evolution boots with custom footbeds. I would really appreciate any input.
Melf
To begin you should start with bare feet on a hard flat surface to establish a base line feel for your feet.

You also need to ascertain the fore/aft alignment of your feet. Is one or both adducted (turned inward) or abducted (turned outward)? You can test this by marching in place for about 10 seconds (no peaking) then stopping. Look down and see where your feet are aligned. The feet should be aligned along the long axis through the center of your heel and the ball of the 2nd toe. If either one or both feet are off the axis by much you have a problem. It can be corrected but usually not with footbeds, cants or other gimmicks.

Also, the one foot balance test that is typically used has nothing to do with effective skiing. There is a much more accurate test I will describe later in epicski. Stay tuned to this station.
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Holiday:
Melf,

Seems like your symptoms point to being inside or knock kneed as Arcmeister mentioned. I don't recommend using the cuff adjustment to try and fix it, though. Alignment experts just use that adjustment to align the boot cuff to the lower leg angles and then deal with cant once that is done.
1) I was confused by Arcmeister's comments as well as I know he is not a proponent of "dirty canting" (using the boot cuff angle to adjust to a lateral alignemnt issue). On the other hand, it's all well and good to say avoid using cuff angle (cuff cant) to handle an alignment problem. But, that is a readily adjustable feature of many boots that can easily be changed on-slope in the middle of a run. So, even thought it is not the BEST way to deal with alignment issues it's going to get used for that purpose sometimes. Therefore, without approving of it, I (and I expect others) would still be very interested to hear someone disucuss the pros and cons. I, for one have never heard what I would consider an adequate explanation of the issues surrounding this approach.

2) I would be interested to know if any of you have worked with canting on or under the boot board with an associated alignment of the cuff angle to accomodate this canting. This can be impossible in some situations due to boot fit considerations, but when you are just adding a 1 degree cant many people can handle that. I have been able to fit in about 3 degrees of canting inside my boot. Still working to really lock my alignment in, though. Tomorrow Ydnar and I are going to get together and may play with this very concept.

[ November 29, 2002, 10:25 PM: Message edited by: Si ]
post #12 of 23
I've read through this thread (what of it I can understand!!), and now I have a question. I did the 10 sec march and looked down to see my feet (toes) pointing outward. What would be the boot/alignment fix for this?

David M: Did I see you on The tube doing a thing on foot pressure with a pro/ex-pro Canuck? I recall a couple of years ago seeing something dealing with pressure points in a ski boot using a pressure sensitive pad in the boots.

Excellent thread!

[ November 30, 2002, 03:27 AM: Message edited by: artimus ]
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by disski:
Si - my instructor plays with solid plastic canting strips - they are cut to be the same size as the heel piece of the boot.

I step into the binding - then just lift out a bit at heel - pop in shim strip under boot heel & click down firmly on heel.

This allows us to play with diff degrees of canting without grinding my boots.
When we are REALLY sure we knwo what I need I will have boots ground.
Disski, It's good that you mention this approach. This is the most common approach and I play with it at times. I temporarily added a 1 degree cant under my daughter's boot heel yesterday and it made a noticeable improvement on her 1 footed balance (we were practicing 1 footed skiing) and by her own report on her regular turns. For those who don't have access to canting materials you can use different numbers of duct tape strip layers.

However, my point wasn't really about how to "correctly" simulate different canting set-ups but rather waht the pros and cons of using cuff ("dirty") canting. This is still the most accessible means for most skiers to play with their alignment on the hill.
post #14 of 23
While I am not an expert I would recommend reading The Athletic Skier. The book is old the thinking is first rate. In this book you find some very simple and practical illustrations and text concerning alignment issues and how to adjust your boots to correct simple problems. Also it should be noted major corrections of a boot should be done by a good boot doctor.

It is my understanding correcting the cuff of a boot to make the cuff symmetrical to the tib/fib is as much to take out the over influence of the boot. This is one of the first adjustments made as you work your way towards cant adjustments.

If you do not have those plastic little cants to put under the heel & toe of your boot as you clip in try using a couple of pennies or dimes, depending on the thickness you think you need, duck taped to the boot. That way you can ski for a day if you so choose and not worry about loosing your cant. Also when canting I like to clip into my skis and have someone recheck to see how close the canting is to at least 1.5 degrees inside (knock kneed). Bindings do make a difference. Of course you can add or subtract “cants” on the slope and do the same thing. Carry a little extra tape and coin or use the tape recommended by Warren in his book and it will do the same thing. It is amazing to me how many times skiers are canted but are never checked in the ski. Fortunately with the boot, foot beds, and skis I have, and for the type of skiing I do, I do not require canting which makes it much easier.

Static exercises are VERY good to start learning balance and then couple them with a balance board or walking heel toe on a sidewalk crack, balance beam, and or running through a set or markers like a race course. On skis you can do some dynamic practice on flat terrain by lifting a ski, walking down hill with no skis, then sliding in straight run with skis moving from ski to ski by LIFTING the opposite ski straight up. Make a few up fun things that will help you to learn to dynamically balance, balance on the move. It is a good practice. If you find to stay flat on a ski and in balance as you are doing a straight run down a very gentle slope you need to lean inside or outside with you upper body to stay in balance see an alignment specialist. Leaning either direction is an indication your body is compensating and you are out of alignment.

Back to the static balance exercises while they MAY not help you with dynamic balance –I do not agree they won’t- these exercise will improve your feel by enhancing you’re nerve fibers in your feet/ankles that send you your foot awareness back to the brain. To prove my point put your hand on a table very lightly so you are not supporting yourself but could catch yourself if you go off balance, stand on one foot, close your eyes, and feel the tiny adjustments the ankle is making to stay in balance. Now learn to do this standing on one or the other foot with eyes closed and no hand on the table. Your sense of foot WILL improve. Now take it to the slope and with a partner on gentle terrain so some gliding and stopping wedges building up to wedge turns. Anything you do to improve your “feel” whether static or dynamic will enhance your skiing.
post #15 of 23
I have a question: when you put those plastic wedges under the heel of the boot to cant them, doesn't the toe piece prevent the boot from tilting since it holds down the sole flat on both sides?

Or do you carry a srewdriver to lift it?

....Ott
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Ott Gangl:
I have a question: when you put those plastic wedges under the heel of the boot to cant them, doesn't the toe piece prevent the boot from tilting since it holds down the sole flat on both sides?

Or do you carry a srewdriver to lift it?

....Ott
A lot of the newer bindings have an up release on the toe which allows the toe piece to compensate for a little out of squareness due to the shim. Actually Ott it does work even though it is mechanically a little unsound for the release of the binding but not a lot.
post #17 of 23
Si,
I've only got a moment, and this idea isn't black and white anyway (what is in this alignment topic), but here's the quick shot.

Movements of the cuff adjustment may not make it down to the point of contact (the ski). With the ankle ajusting, the soft tissue of the calf compressing, the padding of the boot packing more on one side, all this adjustment at the cuff can just be absorbed. Alot of the same issues are true with under the boot board canting. Most alignment experts only work the cant outside of the boot because of this.

Ott is also right about an issue with the strips under the binding. It is also not black and white. The binding can end up changing the interface a bit, but for diagnosis, it's about as close as we can get in a low tech assesment. There seems so much grey area in this topic, the best advice is to find a pro with great references and trust them. In Tahoe, I use Jim Shaffner and recommend him to all my clients. He worked with boots and alignment on the world cup for years and knows his stuff. He also works with alot of the top junior racers in the area and a few psia demo team members among others. For contact info, pm me. In Colorado, I'm sure there are a few good ones, but harald harb seems to have a good system going. See his website for alignment centers (www.harbskisystems.com) Maybe someone can insert names in this thread for the pacific northwest, the east, etc..

I know the easier ways are nice to mess with and the human body has an amazing ability to adapt, but if you have the opportunity and you think you have issues, see a pro and you can have one less obstacle to reaching your goals and one less thing bouncing around in the back or your head.

cheers, Wade
post #18 of 23
Si - my instructor plays with solid plastic canting strips - they are cut to be the same size as the heel piece of the boot.

I step into the binding - then just lift out a bit at heel - pop in shim strip under boot heel & click down firmly on heel.

This allows us to play with diff degrees of canting without grinding my boots.
When we are REALLY sure we knwo what I need I will have boots ground.

I don't think you'd want to ski agressively in bumps with them in place - or RACE - & you'd never find them in powder if you came out. They are good for seeing what happens when you add x degrees of cant though. I believe they come in 1/2degree increments. He cuts them from big strips & then cuts 'notches' into them to mark the degree of cant. Always seems to have a collection in his pockets.

I KNOW that with a 2 degree shim under my week right foot my hip movement back & in at end of right turn pretty much doesn't exist.... INSTANTLY.
Now if we could just find someone to do something with the whole footbed/boot issue then I could try again with a stable foot/ankle & then get boots ground. (I dream of this day)
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Once someone knows their feet are supposed to align straight ahead they try and adjust them by cheating. Some people even try to do this while running. It only lasts a few feet and then the muscles take over and their feet go where they will go.-Dvid M
When I worked with someone in Pilates last year she was always talking about using the "inside lanes" of the foot. I tended walk (and do excercises on that reformer machine) with pressure on along the outside of the foot. I thought it was possible to retrain yourself- both in getting rid of the 'duck walk' and things like were the pressure goes in your foot. Am I wrong?
post #20 of 23
Ah, Tog! I'm glad too see that Leslie has done well by you!
No, you are not wrong, and since David is also a Pilates devotee, I think he would agree.

It takes over 1,000 reptitions of a movement pattern DONE CORRECTLY to neurologically reinforce the change, so that it becomes habitual.
Simply trying to change the alignment while running is not going to be sufficicent enough time to promote permanent change. Relating this to the grand scheme of things, simply trying to use the ski boot to correct faulty movement won't really be effective, either.
Remember how much pain I was in last year at Okemo, after I got my new footbeds and boots? I realized afterwards that I still have much more work to do on my messed up right foot. Probably the best thing my instructor did was NOT allow me to go downstairs and get a rental boot. Instead, she put me on snowblades, where I had to carve or die!
post #21 of 23
lisamarie,
Maybe you were still trying to muscle your feet around? With the blades it's tip and edge or suffer for sure. Also....perhaps you shouldn't be in footbeds...Sounds like heresy I know but supposedly we're going to find out from David M in the heel lift thread.
Oy vey...

[ December 03, 2002, 03:36 PM: Message edited by: Tog ]
post #22 of 23
Tog - I got sopme new boots this year (same as last year, bt 27.5 instead of 28.5) and I have been skiing them without footbeds. I finally got good footbeds last year, but they won't fit in the new boots. I think the start of all my problems with boots stems from bad footbeds. I've decided to break these in as best I can without footbeds. Maybe I don't really need them. Heresy as you say...

How's the snow down at Okemo? I don't care what anyone says about that mountain, World Cup is one of my alltime favorites. Defiance too.
post #23 of 23
Foot beds can help but as DaveM believes you still need room for your foot to work inside the boot when the foot bed is in there. If you can not move at all then the foot bed is really not helping at all.

Cuff adjustments, Look at this as a way for the boot to accommodate or adjust to your individual leg shape. This can affect how the ski feels but it should be used to match your leg shape. if you think about how much pressure you feel around your leg when standing on a flat surface you may notice more pressure on one side of your leg. the cuff should be adjusted so that pressure is equal around the top of the boot when you are standing relaxed on the flat. Think about where your leg wants to be, not where the boot wants you to be.

A better test is place the foot beds inside the shells with out the liners. Stand in them buckled like normal. with the feet well placed in shells simply check the distance between your legs and the shells they should be as equidistant as possible. Many times people with large tibial curvatures will not be able to adjust the cuffs enough to meet their needs. Find a good boot guy they can get a lot done where you quit.

Someone mentioned the internal canting thing. This is what I have been working on for some time. The idea here is to find "Sub Taylor Neutral". But not by feeling the bones. I try to watch the muscles and the medial maleolus movements. If you have foot beds they don't always accomplish this. Often times you need to add a bit to help out. You can play around with just adding tape directly below the ball or your foot to find the sweet spot. When you feel it easy to balance on both feet and you have the cuffs dialed then ski and see if you can do the one footed straight run, on something painfully flat directly down the fall line. When both feet work about the same give it a ski and see if you like it you will certainly want to tweak the tape job a bit. Maybe try a little underneath the inside of the heal as well. Once you like where your foot is working from Then you can also explore the external canting. But remember only change one thing at a time then ski on it. Take your time There is plenty of skiing to do.

This is a very simplistic overview of the whole picture anyone that wants more specific info please ask
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