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Injuries And Equipment


bumpyride
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Maybe it's time to start thinking about the kinds of leg injuries a lot of guys are suffering and the reasons for it. There's going to be a difference in opinions on this, but maybe we can each gleen a solution out of what's said for a particular riding style and size of the rider.

Me, I'm 5'9" 150 lbs. I prefer a livelier board and bindings with a bit of flex. I ride in Duluth Minnesota on Hardpack, and in Seattle on Cascade Powder(?)

In Duluth, I'm riding primarily an F2 168 GS Board, Raichle 123's in the walk mode, and riding some Burton Step-in plates (Carrier). Was riding stiffer plates and also the Burton Race step-ins, and I decided that everything but carriers were way too chattery on the hardpack. Stiffer bindings bounced me around way more that I was comfortable with. Flexier bindings solved most of this. When riding in the ride mode, and was starting to bury the nose, it just plain hurt my shins, and threatened to throw me over the handlebars. When I went to the walk mode, I lost a bit of control, but could recover waaaaay easier. I also like to take the drops at a bit of speed to get a little air, and found that anything stiff was just too unforgiving. Absorb!!

In Seattle, I normally ride Burton Ultra-primes, Coils or a O'Sin 4807 on Powder days, Raichle 123's in the walk mode and late this year went to F2 Intec Challenge Comps for bindings. Almost always off piste, and in the steeps and bumps. Pretty much the same experiences with flex vs. stiff, but even much more exaggerated. With everything geared towards rigid, nothing ever seemed to be a natural motion, and always seemed forced. When I hit something unexpected, it would really throw me.

My observations for my riding style (or lack thereof), was that anytime something very rigid was introduced, I would lose edge contact on the rebound from chatter or inconsistantcies, and it tended to throw me. I solved that with more flexible bindings and softer boots.

My guess for my riding style is that it is much safer for my legs if the boot/binding system flexes more to relieve the strain right at the cuff of the boot. It seems to me that when I started to go over the falls when the boot had nowhere to flex, it hurt and I could see that a break could very easily occur at the point where the top of the boot hit my shin. It would also seem to me that if my boot and binding was allowed to flex more, the forward lean angle would increase and possibly increase the amount that I could go until enough pressure was generated to make the break. I would think that if a guy went over the nose, and his boot and bindings allowed him more flex that the nose could fold and the board would be more likely to skip out if the angle of the board to the boot was closer to zero (front of the boot closer to parallel to the board). I in fact folded the nose on the last run of last year, and my boots and bindings allowed me to absorb the impact without so much as a bruise. Remember the story about the Oak and the Willow.

Late this season I switched over to the F2 Intec Challenge Comp. Can't say enough nice things about this binding. Front Bails are 6mm and they fit the Raichle toe perfectly. I am able to adjust the stiffness of the bindings with how tight I dog down binding. They have a metal disc, and the machine screws hold tightly. They do not have much of a bling factor, but perform flawlessly. My son is of the same opinion, and he's 5' 8" and 168 and rides hard.

I know that somebody broke their ankle inside their boot this year, and it was pretty ugly. I believe they were blaming it on the walk mode. I can't speak for him, but there's times when I'm sure I could have broke a bone with a stiffer setup, or out of the walk mode.

What do you guys think?

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I agree with you.

My hardbooting is decidedly low-fi - low-cuff, three buckle Scarpa AT's and Burton Freecarves with an assortment of Burton bindings.

In twenty-plus years of carving - mostly on East Coast hardpack, I've never injured a knee, ankle, etc.

As I've grown older and heavier, the soft stuff makes makes even more sense. Want to ride til I'm 80+ and am counting on a forgiving interface to get me there.

cheers

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Injuries and the reasons for them? Its a dangerous sport. We can do lots of things to make it safer, but we're still going to get injured. Fact of life IMO.

Does that mean we should put up with sub-standard gear or dangerous stuff? No. But there is some inherent risk in this sport. If you want to be safe, stay on the couch. Then you'll just die of a massive heart attack.

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Conceptually, I think you are to something...

Many years ago I saw a classic ski video that could have been called "How to tear your ACL" The vieo basically showed the mechanism of having your knee bent about 90 deg. or more, your weight in the backseat, and twisting trying to hang on to the turn. An almost gaurunteed ACL tear.

It's times like this when you need to know enough to bail.

We would probably be to small group for some aspiring medical researcher to get any valuable data from, and I would personally be wary of passing on any medical advice without real sound research to back it up!

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one thing I can say is

don't ride your god damned boots in walk mode, this goes for most models from most brands

I'm serious and adamant about it, for more info check out some of the other threads that cover it.

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Years ago, while skiing, I took a jump and landed hard on the tails of my skis. My brand new rear-entry Salomons just blew up. The upper shell basically ripped through some rivets. I took them in to complain about the "shoddy" construction and a few days later, the Salomon rep called me. He said if my boots had not blown, my knee(s) would have. Made a lot of sense to me.

I think the engineers and mechanical engineers in the house can explain this in product design terms. You design a product so that, in the event of a bust-up, you sacrifice a cheap part so that the more valuable part survives.

If we make our gear super stiff and super strong, the weak point becomes our bodies.

Case in point - I broke a board this winter. First time ever. If the board did not break, I am pretty sure I would have been injured.

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I ride Fires with Bombers or Race Plates. Most of the time, I am on a board 180 or above. Boots are basically cemented to my feet, that is the way I like it. Riding in walk mode feels to sloppy for me. Jan 1st I tore a tendon and two ligaments in my ankle. First time in 20 years of riding that I had a season ending injury. I am blaming the snow, not my equipment. The beginning of the season in Minnesota was crap.......high temps and soft slushy snow. I came hard and fast out of a turn, ollied over a hunk of slop, folded and buried the nose. I can remember my ankle pulling apart as I was starting the first flip. Season over..........yep it was the snow. :barf:

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Walk mode while riding works for me.

Its freakin called walk mode not ride mode for a reason. Although it may work for ya, it puts the boot in a possible failure position.

Perhaps some thing else in you system is to stiff for the boot???? And you need to compensate. Don't you have some BTS i would hate to see you get hurt Rob. Its just out of love...

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one thing I can say is

don't ride your god damned boots in walk mode, this goes for most models from most brands

I'm serious and adamant about it, for more info check out some of the other threads that cover it.

+1

I can't speak about other brands, but the Raichle/Deeluxe boots aren't made to carve in either walk or powder mode. In either of those the only thing keeping the boot from completely collapsing are two little plastic tabs. Please don't ride like that, it's not safe. Count yourself lucky if you've done it thus far without incident. If you don't want to ride with a locked boot then put a BTS with light springs on it.

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Let's make a count on how many injuries have occurred in the ski mode compared to the walk mode. Try to make an actual accounting, and not just an anecdotal accounting.

I know of the one this year with the horrific ankle injury inside the boot that occurred in the walk mode. I can't imagine that if it had been in the ski mode there wouldn't have been a break/albeit maybe one a little less catastrophic. I also know of the this

Bullwings

Anyway, long story short, I broke my tibia and fibula. I was riding the tail of my board and really surfing it when I think i hit something under the snow that I couldn't see. My board immediately stopped moving, which was bad. I snapped the two said bones in three different places above my boot cuff, one of which included a spiral fracture.

So let's make the count of the injuries so we can fairly assess this.

I understand what some are saying about the BTS, and have no doubt that it works in their prescribed situation, and that might be a better idea. I know that I rode a pair of Burton Reactors (I think) with springs in them, and ended up pulling top nut on the springs. I know that I've been in hardboots 10 years (40 days each season) in the walk mode and certainly have never hurt myself. I also wonder if the tabs that are holding the bracket in back should happen to break, would that save the leg or the knee. When the physical force needed to break a leg is applied at a certain point and a break occurs, would the risk lessen if there were additional give in the boot and binding allowed more flex and less stress on the leg at a given point. I swear that I would have snapped my leg a time or two if I had been in the ski mode.

There seems to be a differing opinion on the merits/disadvantages of riding in the walk mode, but the guys that have been riding in the walk mode that have entered the thread seem to like it and have not suffered any injury. Count my son as one more that rides in the walk mode, and that makes it a pretty even split of opinions.

Now to the main point of the thread. Is equipment that is too rigid contributing to the chance of injury? Are some running just too stiff? This isn't just relegated to ski/walk but also bindings that are too stiff and boards that are too stiff. Hopefully this will be a discussion that addresses something other than just boots.

Seems to me that the ski industry has addressed this problem with floating bindings that allow the skis to flex more naturally and hence a little "softer under the foot". Doesn't this decrease the chance that the ski will crack under the binding, and also absorb vibration of the ski? Isn't that what some of the snowboard manufacturers are doing with the new plate systems? Would some of this problem be taken care of with snowboard plate bindings that just flex more naturally?

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Having give in a boot will reduce the overall shock to the system and should help prevent injuries. The problem comes when you have an uncontrolled collapse or opening of the boot, which you can have if you break the plastic retaining tabs on the lean adjuster. Think about it, if your boot is sized properly your ankle and foot are locked down and aren't going to move, at that point, with most of your mass over a yard above your feet, you can apply huge amounts of leverage in bending your legs beyond their range if you boot is flexing completely freely at the ankle pivot.

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Having give in a boot will reduce the overall shock to the system and should help prevent injuries. The problem comes when you have an uncontrolled collapse or opening of the boot, which you can have if you break the plastic retaining tabs on the lean adjuster. Think about it, if your boot is sized properly your ankle and foot are locked down and aren't going to move, at that point, with most of your mass over a yard above your feet, you can apply huge amounts of leverage in bending your legs beyond their range if you boot is flexing completely freely at the ankle pivot.

I can see that point. When I'm standing and flexing forward while in the walk mode on 1 foot, the boot is stopping way before I've maxed out the forward lean my ankles are capable of. I realize, of course, there's much more force generated while riding, but the tension that is generated in the boot is not insignificant, while riding in the walk mode. It is not flexing freely. I would almost consider it like a shock absorber.

The question then becomes whether or not the leg would have broke in the ride mode given that the force generated on the walk mode was enough to break the tabs. I would like to know what force would be needed to break the tabs. Remember 10 years of riding an no tab failure, coupled with the fact that there isn't a day that I'm not hitting the bumps hard when I'm out West.

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It may feel like it's not flexing freely, but once any significant pressure is applied, the boot will readily flex at it's ankle joint, and a crash can generate a lot of force.

I've seen pictures from the tabs breaking from simply going into a carve really hard. Just because you haven't seen it personally in 10 years doesn't mean it doesn't happen. If you search on here you'll find pictures. Heck, I weigh maybe 160 pounds will all my gear and I exploded my lean adjuster from folding the nose on a green trail.

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I'm back in this to say I am not convinced about the walk mode being so bad.Sometimes I ride with it and sometimes I don't based on conditions.I have been riding that way for alot of years and until this year averaged over 100 days a season since 93/94 in Raichles (before that UPS and Flexons)in walk mode most of the time.I am more convinced by well over 1200 days spent mostly in walk mode doing all kinds of terrain and manuevers. I do however,choose a stiffer setting when the terrain ,board,and tasks call for it (ie racing; but not always for freecarving)and I intend to get BTS for next season mainly for the purpose of taking my boot performance and riding to the next level.

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It may feel like it's not flexing freely, but once any significant pressure is applied, the boot will readily flex at it's ankle joint, and a crash can generate a lot of force.

I've seen pictures from the tabs breaking from simply going into a carve really hard. Just because you haven't seen it personally in 10 years doesn't mean it doesn't happen. If you search on here you'll find pictures. Heck, I weigh maybe 160 pounds will all my gear and I exploded my lean adjuster from folding the nose on a green trail.

Were your boots in the walk mode or ride mode?

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A few years back I used to ride with my front foot Locked mode, and my back foot in Powder mode. I didn't carve hard enough to generate enough force to break any tabs or legs without there being some sort of rapid deceleration involved.

And when the rapid deceleration did happen, it took the following form: dropping off an unseen 10 or so foot wind lip that was running roughly parallel to a groomer, straight down, to a dead stop. My upper body fell to the toeside of the board, and the results were:

Front boot (locked in position 3) - cracked

Front ankle severely sprained (2 years to get it mostly recovered)

Back boot (powder mode) - no damage

Back leg - no damage

This was a freak accident and I was on a big, stiff, borrowed Donek 210 at the time so the board was NOT going to give.

Nowadays I'm riding with a lot more power and I am convinced that I *could* blow out a boot in walk or powder mode without an unplanned stop. I use a BTS, blue spings all around, with the boot cuff pretty snug - it feels much closer to "locked" than "powder", but the flex is there when I need it and I am thinking it's taken the edge off a few other crashes. Plus I love the way it feels esp. on heelside.

I do believe that powder mode (and maybe walk mode) is good for begintermediate hardbooters who are still getting to know their gear and finding their groove. I guess that means I was a begintermediate for several years - in fact I know I was because part of the appeal of the unlocked boot was that I could apply body English to get myself out of (and probably into) some sticky situations. Now that I've improved an unlocked boot or even a Suzuka with yellow BTS springs feels too squishy for my liking while with the Suzuka/blue combination I can apply a lot of power but still use my ankles.

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Were your boots in the walk mode or ride mode?

They were in powder mode and the plastic tabs never had a chance...

In ride mode a metal pin in the top half of the adjuster engages a hole in the metal plate of the bottom of the adjuster. The boot will break before that gives.

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Years ago, while skiing, I took a jump and landed hard on the tails of my skis. My brand new rear-entry Salomons just blew up. The upper shell basically ripped through some rivets. I took them in to complain about the "shoddy" construction and a few days later, the Salomon rep called me. He said if my boots had not blown, my knee(s) would have. Made a lot of sense to me.

I think the engineers and mechanical engineers in the house can explain this in product design terms. You design a product so that, in the event of a bust-up, you sacrifice a cheap part so that the more valuable part survives.

If we make our gear super stiff and super strong, the weak point becomes our bodies.

Case in point - I broke a board this winter. First time ever. If the board did not break, I am pretty sure I would have been injured.

I think the idea are "nice" But I also think its BS from the Salomon rep!! When you land "in the back seat" you eather have the muscle force to stand up. Or you end up sitting down, and let your buttsaver and spineprotector take the inpact.

I know there is a boot modle on the market that have some kind of mecanic backwards "overload relees" But i think they are spcialy designed for week and old knees...

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I thought I'd post these pictures here. This is the damage done to the lean adjuster on my boot. You can see how the plastic tabs were sheered off. Once they sheer or break the adjuster can just slide apart. In the second picture you can see how the buckle just above the ankle was pushed upward because the boot collapsed so far.

adjuster.jpg

buckle.jpg

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I tore my ACL in my shoulder in soft boot gear 2 hours later than when I had a huge binding failure on my race plates and suffered no injury.It really all just comes down to luck of the draw, riding cautiously, and chance.

No way to "insure an unjury free life"...... just live with the risk, and enjoy all that it entails :)

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  • 1 year later...

I'm riding a Sims Carve 167 with Burton Race plates and Burton reactors... angles are right at 60/60, second time in hardboots, third time on a snowboard. I keep the boots locked down when I'm riding, I can't seem to find my balance right while I'm carving in walk mode.

late in the afternoon the other week I took a really mild fall, hopped right back up- but I'd somehow managed to twist my ankle inside the boot- I couldn't hold on through any turns the rest of the way down the mountain, my ankle would just let go of the turn and I'd skid out and bust my a$$- had to practically skid the rest of the way down.

2 weeks later and it's still pretty sore- what confuses me is that the twist was rotational, but I keep my boots ratcheted pretty darn tight. Anyone else had a problem with this? Are my angles too extreme? I feel a lot of pressure in my knees when I'm sitting down to strap in, I'm wondering if this isn't related... thoughts anyone?

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