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Are my boots the problem?
Posted: 29 December 2009 10:55 PM  
Total Posts:  15
Joined  2009-12-27

I have experienced VERY SORE/TIGHT Soleus muscle after skiing.
(the muscle BELOW the calf).

Is this because my boots are flexing too much - they are ATOMIC 9 Beta

I have skied over 5 seasons and have a good technique (instructor)

If I have a stiffer boot then the ankle wont be able to flex as much and the soleus will not be able to stretch? 

I do strech before and after also have massage - but it is generally TOO sore for this.

So the question is:  If I get a stiffer boot will this soreness problem go away?

Posted: 29 December 2009 11:35 PM   [ # 1 ]  
Total Posts:  60
Joined  2008-11-16

It’s hard to know exactly which muscle is giving you trouble, I’m not entirely sure how you can tell it’s Soleus (which is deep to Gastrocnemius if that’s what you mean by below)

How much do you ski each year? How old are you? and do you condition yourself coming up to the first ski of each season?

Skiing causes a much more acute dorsiflexion angle at the ankle than you will be used to in your everyday activities, putting strain on the Achilles tendon and therefore on the Gastrocnemius/Soleus complex it originates from. Unless you perform stretch exercises on it, you can expect to have these symptoms when you suddenly demand extra dorsiflexion under such forces that skiing exerts (6 x your body weight exerted in a turn remember).

A heel raise orthosis under your insole liner may help, by placing you in a mildly flexed position already and therefore creating less of a travel angle in each forward acceleration. However, I have to admit that some people find these uncomfortable at the end of the day since to some extent it is placing you in “skiing position” permanently.

Ultimately the best thing you can do however is to condition yourself ready for skiing.

[ Edited: 30 December 2009 12:05 AM by Dan Fascia]
Posted: 30 December 2009 12:06 AM   [ # 2 ]  
Total Posts:  15
Joined  2009-12-27

I dont ski as much as i used to - but I did 5 seasons in a row (northern - southern hemisphere) I am 37, I have started to condition myself this year via stretching daily and playing squash twice a week.  We are off for the first time this season next week, so was wondering if I should try a different boot?

I am not 100% its the soleus but that area is VERY sore to touch after skiing. I also get pain in my feet whist skiing, I like my boots very tight and I am continually adjusting them - I think this is a contributing factor - blood circulation? 

I just thought about the boot flex today and thought I would post it up on here and see what happens?

Do you think a stiffer boot would help?

Posted: 30 December 2009 12:20 PM   [ # 3 ]  
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2009-12-30

I think I may have experienced the same problem and I have pretty stiff boots.  At times it has been so bad that I have had to take my boots off to let the lower calf muscles relax, my issue appears to be very tight tendons.  The cure for me has been in two areas - not be tempted to tighten boots up too much to start the day, tighten them as the day goes on and the muscles are used to being in that stretched position.  The second was to get some heel raisers - they are cork, pretty basic and were given to me by Footworks in Chamonix when I last had my liners replaced.  They have really helped and do not appear to have affected my skiing in any way.  I ski for about 2-3 months each season and now only have a slight problem in the first couple of days as my calf muscles get used to being stretched.

Posted: 31 December 2009 12:15 AM   [ # 4 ]  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24
ALJ1 - 30 December 2009 12:20 PM

The second was to get some heel raisers - they are cork, pretty basic and were given to me by Footworks in Chamonix when I last had my liners replaced.

Did Footworks talk about getting a moulded footbed too? I wonder if this would help by giving the foot a better seat and maybe reducing all the microadjustments leg muscles have to make when skiing?

It has been a long time since I tried footbeds so I’m not a good advocat for them.

Posted: 31 December 2009 02:16 PM   [ # 5 ]  
Total Posts:  60
Joined  2008-11-16

Custom orthoses can help if you have an abnormal foot shape, commonly for example flat footed but if your foot is normally shaped then I don’t see any advantage. If you go to see an orthotist YOU WILL walk out with an orthosis for your sole, whether you have something wrong or not.... it’s their business, and I work with them so I know this all too well.

I have had people come to see me as NHS patients about ski boot problems believe it or not!

I really think that a heel raise is a simple first thing you can try in this instance, you can actually buy them in ski shops in the boot sections to try yourself. However, If it does seem to be of benefit it is imperative that you have a professional fit it properly and measure how much inclination angle each heel merits otherwise you could risk injury.

Also, you will not notice an instant difference and on the first day or two your calves may ache more for the reasons I already mentioned which is that you will not be accustomed to permanently being in “ski forward” position.

I do not believe that stiffer boots would make a difference since even the softest boots should not permit sufficient dorsiflexion at the ankle, most only allow a very small amount with the exception of touring boots which obviously can flex much more.