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Why Skiing Causes Foot / Knee Pain

By October 10th, 2019 Theta Orthotics News
biomechanical alignment causes pain

Foot and knee pain: The real reason people quit skiing.

Significant forces applied to the feet then transferred through the ankles and knees as we ski stress the limits of our anatomy.  Anything less than optimal alignment between the foot and knee, results in pain or catching an edge. The mechanics of skiing result in foot / knee pain over time. Ultimately this problem in anatomical alignment causes most to stop skiing.

Over the last 50 years experts have understood the problem with pain in skiers to be an alignment issue.  They tried to improve lower extremity  alignment using equipment and wedges placed between the ski and binding. These wedges are referred to as cants and change the angle of the surface that we ski on. The intent of the cant is to improve the alignment of our foot and leg, with a decrease in foot and knee pain as we ski.

skiing causes foot knee pain

Unfortunately there is much controversy as to the proper placement and angulation of the wedge  within the ski industry.  Many experts use a 5 to 10 degree wedge placed with the thick part on the inside of the ski, and report a decrease in pain with use of this modification. Ironically just as many experts use a 5 to 10 degree wedge placed with the thick part on the outside of the ski. These researchers also report a decrease in foot and leg pain with their wedge placement.

Where many biomechanical experts have completely opposite thoughts on how to improve alignment and stop pain, most skiers can only hope that new equipment / boots, with better design and or support will resolve the performance limiting foot and knee pain.  Unless you can stop this pain, your equipment is soon destined to become a trophy to the days when you used to ski.

Anatomical flaw : Skiing causes foot/knee pain.

measuretibialvarum_copyInteresting new research in human biomechanics, has defined an angular flaw in human anatomy, believed to be responsible for improper alignment, both when we walk and as we ski.  The basic science supporting this research even explains why the “cants” placed  in two opposite directions, can both decrease foot and ankle pain as we ski.

When this angular flaw is not compensated for, stress on our anatomy results in both foot and knee pain. Empirical studies at  Theta Orthotics suggest that proper compensation for this alignment flaw can stop foot and knee pain during all weight bearing activities, including skiing.

When foot and knee pain stops you on the hill…and makes you want to stop  skiing forever…try this simple biomechanical “alignment trick” and enjoy the rest of your day.






  • Martin Arnold says:

    I have been cross country skiing for 21 years and realise that I do not glide on each ski well because each knee collapses as I try and glide , which I am sure is due to there being no support under each arch. I think that the people that do glide are fortunate that they have appropriate arches on each foot that facilities maintaining a strong foot and straight let.

    I have visited two specialists here in the UK and had orthotics made , but what I get is slightly better than what is inside sports foot wear.

    I hope to find someone in a country who understands cross country skiing that makes orthotics that I can travel and get fitted.

    Do you know anybody in Austria ( where I visit this Summer) who specialises in cross country ski orthotics?


    • admin says:

      unfortunately, to my knowledge I am the only one who can help you change you stride and glide as you cross country ski…for the most part the orthotics available do not have an important “propulsive stage” wedge that is imperative during skiing mechanics…drjarrett

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