/ Skiing with a fused ankle

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pec on 14 Feb 2013
As a result of worsening arthritis from an old climbing injury I had to have my right ankle fused nearly 2 years ago, its been a long slow recovery but I'm nearly there and thinking about skiing again.
The normal skiing postion is to have your knees pushed forward over your toes but my foot and lower leg are now permanently fixed at 90 degrees.

There's a tiny bit of movement in the lower ankle joint (subtalar, it was the tibiotalar that was fused) but nowhere near enough to ski normally.

Given that people ski with allsorts of disabilities I imagine it must be possible to ski but I think I'm going to need some boot or binding modification to lift the heel and tip my knee forwards.

Does anybody have any experience of this, know of anyone who skiis with a fused ankle or know who might do such a modification?

I'm not thinking of booking a ski holiday this season But I'd like to go next year and a "trial run" for a weekend in Scotland late this season would be nice.
Michael Griffith - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to pec: My ski mountaineering boots have a "walk" setting that allows the heel to hinge a little. Might be worth a try.
kevin stephens - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to pec: My ankle isn't fused but has limited forward flex following nasty break. I use custom footbeds with a heel lift to get enough forward lean. I would go to a specialist ski boot fitter like Rivington Alpine to see if they can help you in the same way.
pec on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to kevin stephens: I'd also been using raised heel footbeds to help until the fusion but I reckon I'll need 10 or 15 degrees of heel lift now so some sort of modification is in order I think. I'll give Rivington a try then, thanks.
By the way, what's happened to the Broughton Wall now? I've not been for 2 years because of my ankle.
kevin stephens - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to pec:

Open Tuesday evening only, and a healthy resurgence in the Tuesday evening scene
Rigid Raider - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to pec:

Try Mountain Feet in Standedge, they are pretty clued up on skiing footwear.
G. Tiger, Esq. - on 15 Feb 2013

As someone, while not with a fully rigid ankle, but with pretty limited movement in my left - an X-ray of it would look like a small child had made a model foot skeleton in plasticene, and lost attention to detail at the ankle stage - I hope I'm qualified to comment.

I got a pair with custom moulded inners - more because of the awkward shape rather than the movement, but have the heel lifted to assist the forward leaning angle. probably only about 10° forward, but enough to make life more comfortable. I probably have 10 - 15° of movement forward/back with it, so get a boost to 20 - 25°.

I'm not sure how it affects my walking, but I never walk properly anyway, and walking in ski boots probably improves my gait rather than hinders it.
I still manage to get myself down a few black runs whenever I go - so it is definitely possible.

Dave Stelmach on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to pec: yes a heel lift or specialist orthotic insole would allow you to fit into the boot, but you would find that a soft ski boot would cause you to experience metatarsalgia, pain under the bases of the toes and diastasis (widening) of the sub-talar joints on forward lean in a soft boot , or loose top clips, a specialist boot fitter will ensure that the relationship between the angle of the tibia and the sole of the boot is correct and comfortable, otherwise damage to the mid foot will occur.
Good luck.

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