The importance of proper boots

A good fitting ski boot is a very difficult find. In today's market, ski boot manufacturers use only a few lasts that must mold to a person's foot type.

After evaluating a large majority of the skiers, it has been found that as many as 70 overpronate. This overpronation causes inward rotation and excessive flattening of the arch, placing strain on the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the back, hip, thigh, leg, knee and feet.

As the condition continues, it leads to arch fatigue and strain. A telltale sign of pronation is the ankle bulging inward against the ski boot.

When skiing with this problem, there is a tremendous loss of edge control for turns and efficiency. The pronation or forward rolling of the foot in the boot can lead to a neuroma (nerve impingement between the metatarsals that become compressed by the metatarsals) causing painful burning-cramping pain. The skier with a wide foot will complain of bony enlargement which causes pressure and irritation against the ski boot.

The most common areas affected are the inside of the ankle bone, the top of the foot, the metatarsal bone on the side of the foot below the small toe, and the back of the heel. Skiers with narrow feet have increased motion and a large degree of pronation.

The good news is there is a solution to the ski boot foot imbalance problem with a ski orthotic. A custom made orthotic insert will give perfect bio-mechanical control between your foot and ski boot. This will increase efficiency and reduce complaints of foot, ankle, knee, and lower back problems; and the skier will regain his maximum edge control for turns and parallel skiing.

Dr. Robert F. Weiss, a sports podiatrist, was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials.

Weiss is a veteran of 35 Marathon & has a practice in Darien; affiliated with Stamford Hospital and member of Stamford Health Medical Group-Foot & Ankle. For info visit his Web site at www.stamford, and find a Physician-Dr. Robert F. Weiss.