Monday, February 18, 2013

Ski or Snowboarding? How to improve your Comfort and Performance

By Graham Archer, V.P. of Pedorthics, C. Ped (C) at Kintec

Nothing ruins a day of skiing or snowboarding like sore feet and it is a common misconception that ski boots will cause foot pain.  Discomfort in ski or snowboard boots generally comes from areas of pressure or too much foot motion within the boot

Here's how you can stay on the slopes longer to make the best out of your day, and improve your runs!

First, let's look at how too much foot motion can contribute to foot pain and a decreased skiing experience.  The mechanics of skiing are unlike that of most other weight bearing activities.  In typical day to day activities the foot is very mobile as it shock absorbs and adapts to the surface that it is on, while in skiing the foot functions best when it is immobile.  Power while skiing is generated in the large muscle groups of the upper leg and hips and then passed through the feet to the edges of the skis.  Excessive motion of the feet decreases the efficiency of skiing, reduces the power transfer to the skis and places excess strain through the feet.

The second major cause of foot pain while alpine skiing is from too much pressure on specific areas of the feet.  Ski boots are stiff plastic shells with a foam insert that the foot sits in.  There is very little give to the bottom of the insert, the surface that your foot is sitting on.

In a typical shoe your feet will depress into the insole and midsole to distribute pressure fairly evenly throughout the feet, this does not happen in ski boots.  In a ski boot there will be empty space under the medial longitudinal arch and other cavities of the feet and high pressure under the main weight bearing areas of the feet such as the heel and ball of the foot.
Kintec's Custom Ski & Snowboard Orthotics with a high energy rebound top cover

Custom molded insoles or custom made orthotics act to fill in all the space underneath the feet and distribute weight evenly throughout the feet while in the ski boots.  By filling in this extra space an orthotic is also providing support to the foot structure and reducing extra motion within the feet themselves.

With a reduction in foot motion and an even pressure distribution your feet will be more comfortable through a long day of skiing, you will ski with more power transferring to the skis and your legs will fatigue less quickly.

Kintec provides both custom-molded and custom made inserts made specifically for ski and snowboard boots.  Contact or visit one of our stores for more details, and make the best out of the days left in this season!

Graham Archer is Vice President of Pedorthic Services at Kintec and the former President of the Pedorthic Association of Canada for 2010/2011. Graham joined Kintec in 2000 with a passion for helping people stay active on their feet. Graham holds a Bachelors of Kinesiology from Simon Fraser University and is a Canadian Certified Pedorthist with the College of Pedorthics of Canada. Outside of pedorthics, Graham spends his time riding and racing mountain bikes, fishing, trail-running, hitting the slopes at Whistler/Blackcomb, and hanging with his wife and two daughters.

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