Physical problems when skiing.
August 1, 2005
This is part of a post I made in the Telemark skiing thread last week. Someone suggested I let this start a new thread on here and epic ski of which I definately am doing. Thoughts? Comments?
I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I've had problems when skiing that may related to this discussion.
Going back to the last time I ever skiied which was in 2002, I noticed something really strange that I think comes from the problem of me not exercising ski muscles during the summer. Feel free to correct me on this. Anyway I was at Timberline with friends who skiied on and off, but they weren't more than moderate beginners themselves although they could tackle greens with no problem, but still fell on things like dew drop and such. Well for me personally I had issues being able to stand in the skis without my legs feeling like they wanted to buckle. I had a really embarassing moment in the thunderdraft lift line where I actually fell because my knee areas became shakey and just gave out.
With snowboarding this has never once been a problem, but when standing in ski's with the knee's slightly bent, that seems to put some sort of weird non painful stress on and around my knees causing them to get jittery. After several minutes of this I simply can't stand because they just give out. This isn't painful, this isn't anything that hurts in the least. It's just like they tire out and give out.
Is this unique to me or is there something I can do to fix that? I wouldn't mind trying to ski again sometime and definately trying telemark. But until I can figure out what is happening I don't want to put myself in danger or danger others.
Have you tried simply leaning forward and not trying to support all your weight upright? When I'm standing in a lift line, I frequently lean forward, placing some weight on my poles, but mostly letting the boot/binding do the work of keeping me from falling forward. It's a pretty relaxing posture...
Try inline skating during the summer months. It exercises EVERY muscle around your knees with no impact. 10 years ago, I had to quit Ski Patrol because I couldn't ski blacks anymore, because my knees would give out on me. A fellow patroller suggested inline skating. I tried it, and after two years of skating during the summer, I no longer have knee problems. I can't guarantee that it will help your particular problem, but it certainly can't hurt!!
Anything that works your legs is good. I know that this is a bit simplistic - but hey you asked.
Also, being as light as possible is a good thing too. Walruses may need blubber for warmth, but we have Gortex.
This sounds like a serious problem. Can you duplicate the problem just standing in your ski boots at home? If so, it's time to get some empert advice. Two options to consider:
1) Find a good bootfitter. Your problem could be caused by a nerve being pressured in the foot/lower leg.
2) Find a good physical therapist. Your problem could also be the result of a medical issue (in which case you may need to see an MD). In any case, the therapist is an expert at identifying physical weaknesses and recommending exercises to address them.
The unusual nature of this complaint requires expert advice.
Working on physical conditioning without knowing the root cause of this is a recipe for bigger trouble down the road.
The good thing is that I've never had any sort of serious injury to this knee during any event in any recent memory. Thats why I'm thinking towards it just might be me doing something wrong while skiing or standing or simply just being weak. Remember the last time I skiied was in 2002 at Timberline using rental ski's and boots. As for my stature, I'm 6'5", 225lbs and I couldn't hurt to loose 5-10 off the ole love handles (women don't use them so might as well drop em), but definately far from being 6'5" and 450.
1) Medical. as rusty says above, you can get this checked now and possibly should. (DC area therapists who understand snowsport- recommendations welcomed)
2) Fighting your gear for balance.
This has NOTHING to do with your own conditioning and everything to do with Big Dude Bootfitting.
Boot angles (e.g. forward lean, footboard ramp) and easy boot fitting tricks like heel lifts that might work and even be beneficial for someone 5'6" and 150lbs are NOT to be regarded the same for someone your size and can easily put strain on the knee. Physical conditioning can only mask the symptoms here, until something fails.
IMO, you should talk to a good, actually make that a top-notch bootfitter, spend at least most of one day with them. One who understands this problem and what he has to work with. IMO, guys your size should never, ever, buy boots at a swap, and I seriously doubt the wisdom of rentals.
3) Physical conditioning. Nothing wrong with physical conditioning so long as (1) is taken care of. You should be aware, however, that some inline skates have considerable ramp between toe and heel.
Recommendations for a good bootfitter?
I had a similar problem and it ended up being the boots were too stiff and leaned too far forward for me. A softer boot with a more upright stance fixed the problem.
First off, the above advice sounds good. I can tell you that I had some similar problems and ultimately ended up with softer and straighter boots. I was using Nordica GPS boots and now have Nordica Beast 10s. What a difference!
As far as stature, I'm 5'6" - 160lbs, so I can't really say that the Beast 10s are right for you.
Brad, i don't no where Otto, physicsman, Roy and the rest of our instructors are when you need them (and you've provided a beautiful opportunity for shameless "?solicitation?"
), but my advise is Take a Lesson!
I've felt your pain, but not for quite a while. You've gotten some good suggestions but a lack of technique can cause more physical discomfort than any amount of training can prevent. Just my .02, grain of salt, i'm usually wrong and all that.
Well I haven't responded because I'm at a loss of what to do. What confuses me is there is no pain but the knees give out. I can't see how a lesson would help (but we can give it a try to find out if you pay for a lesson
I actually concur with Bill. Inline skating is the best way to build up those muscles. Skiing (and Inline Skating) build up the muscles on the insides of the thighs. Snowboarding uses a lot of the same muscles as we use everyday in walking (or jogging, running, etc.). Therefore, the knees may not tire our as quickly when snowboarding.
That's my best non medical advice guess.
(Ok now the really shameless plug as I'm starting to teach Inline Skating so if you'd like some lessons, let me know. If you can skate and want advanced lessons, contact Bill)
I teach at Whitetail. If an instructor plugged a lesson as a response to this thread, it would be a shameful plug.
I've got a few, but I usually recommend someone close because it often takes several visits to get things the way you want them. Where do you live/work/hang out?
.....I've never had any sort of serious injury to this knee during any event in any recent memory. Thats why I'm thinking towards it just might be me doing something wrong while skiing or standing or simply just being weak.........
Rusty, Roy, you're being too humble, i think. Brad bikes and runs iirc, he's no slug(and i'm not insinuating that you think he is). I'm not much more than 150 days past my first day 11 years ago; you guys probably ski that many in two or three years. I'm not an "expert student", taken two lessons. Both instructors asked what i wanted to get out of the lesson, "casually" checked out the gear i was on, asked what terrain and how many days a year i skied, listened to me babble about what i thought the problem was, watched me ski one run and gave me a solution.
Brad's concern could be a bad fit on rental gear or a physical problem or a technique that doesn't work on the terrain he's trying to ski. I think an instructor would recognize and be able correct two of the three.
btw, rusty, ur the front runner for ssd at moonshine mountain based on the lesson you gave that guy in UT.
Jimmy - Thanks for the comments.
Although I feel like a slacker this year for not being on my bike hardly at all and not hardly running. Thats what I get for running a business. Although starting this weekend I am making a more disciplined approach to preparing for Thanksgiving weekend.
Just food for thought in general, I'm 6'5", and currently 228. When I ran cross country track in high school I was at my lowest of 193, but people said I was a bean pole. Personally I think I can shed down to say 218 and be very comfortable and fit for any slope activity.
Going back to the whole ski situation, I do specifically remember when using that rental equipment at Timberline that time, my friend Bryan told me to 'lean forward and let the equipment support your weight'. Needless to say that wasn't none to pleasant. Basically after going a trip or two down the Salamander with those ski's and boots, I parked myself in line that time and tried letting myself lean forward and thats when my right knee area felt like it was so weak that it couldn't support myself anymore. It got jittery and then I went down.
My goal would be to get back on ski's at least once this coming year with a lesson. I've watched enough expert skiier's to really pickup on small things that I think could help me. I have a feeling this year if I was to try it again I would just rent. Maybe spend the money for a custom pair of boots but rent ski's for now so I don't drop all the money on it till I get better.
BAWalker, you need to give yourself a break. Understand that a long run like Salamander can be very strenuous, especially for beginners or people unaccustomed to skiing or otherwise unable to relax on the long run-outs. I've been doing this for 35 years, and generally get myself into decent shape, but I found myself "weakening" on the bottom of Salamander last year, and had to remind myself to relax.
I read a study some years back where they put US Ski Team Racers and weekend warriors on aerobic energy measurement machines. They measured oxygen consumption on a given run. The trained athletes used far less oxygen than the hackers, so not only were they in better shape ... they used their muscles far more efficiently.
So, once again, don't be too hard on yourself. This stuff ain't easy.
'lean forward and let the equipment support your weight'.
This actually puts more stress on your knees. You can try it now. Stand up straight, push your knees forward to simulate being in ski boots, and relax your body. You should feel some stress in your knees. When you do that in ski boots, your knees are your base for your upper body.
So after skiing a long run which made your legs and knees tired, you continued to work your knees which caused them to stress out and give out.
To help solve that, you need to build up the ligaments in the knee. Inline skating helps as it is using the same motions as skiing. Or you can get one of those big rubber bands they advertise at 2am and pull your legs sideways, turning the foot inside and exercised turning the foot outside.
I see from your profile you are in West (BG) Virginia. I don't know of anyone close (come to think of it, I don't know any THING close). So if you're going to travel locally I recommend Bryan Eartle out of DC's Ski Center.
Bickles, in Hagerstown may have someone.