Fitness & Flexibility
Skiing is a holiday to many but it is a fairly physical sport. It requires a level of fitness and flexibility in key areas of the body. Without this pain is an unpleasant side effect.
Our jobs, lifestyles and even some other sports that we participate in can affect our fitness and more importantly our flexibility. Muscle groups and the fascia which surrounds them begin to tighten and without proper care and preparation these areas can cause us problems when we ski.
Most people use their boots 1-2 weeks per year, but what are you doing during the rest of the year? Unless properly prepared your first ski days of the year are akin to taking up running and immediately doing a 10 km race without any training. Whilst some people can do it because they have underlying fitness, many more simply can't. Try to boost your cardio fitness before you go and exercise those muscles that usually hurt after your first day on the slopes to avoid the pain.
A problem with flexibility is one of the most common problems we see and is one of the hardest for us to work with. For some people the only way they will enjoy pain free skiing is to take responsibility for improving their own range of motion through stretching. Adequate available range of motion might sound like a mouthful, but it is one of the keys to pain free skiing. In order to stand in a ski boot your ankle has to be able to bend more than the net forward lean angle of the boot. If the forward lean of the boot is 14 degrees and the ramp angle is 4 degrees, just to stand in the ski boot (with equal weight distribution) the ankle must be able to flex at least 10 degrees. In truth we need more than this so that when you drive forward to flex the boot you do not run out of range of motion. If you haven't got that range of motion then the load is transferred from being evenly spread across the foot onto the forefoot. The body then wants to put some weight back onto the heel so the foot can rotate externally and cause a crippling pain on the outside edge of the foot after a fairly short time in ski boots.
Whilst there are a few things that a boot fitter can do to mitigate some of these issues it really does rely on the individual working on flexibility to get the required range of motion needed. We recommend foam rolling and to get you started have included a couple of videos on how to use them and how to work on your calves which are usually the biggest problem.
Foam rolling? Whats it all about
At Solutions 4 feet we strongly believe in foam rolling to increase range of motion and flexibility (especially in the calf muscles). Ultimately, without adequate range of motion skiing is difficult and often painful.
Foam Rolling the calf
Here is the easiest way to start foam rolling for the calf muscles, remember to roll both legs and repeat this two- three times each leg, and daily until you have increased the range of motion to a sufficient level, and then go to 3-5 times per week.