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Parallel skiing help for injured hip!

Sophie Knighton

Diva in Training
Hi all, I’m after some advise. I have been skiing for over 10 years (including one season) however 4 years ago I had a skiing accident which injured my right hip. After endless chiropractic & physio therapy work my hips still not the same.

However, my main issue is skiing… as you can see from the attached photo when skiing to the right my skis stay parallel however when asking left my right leg (bad hip) will not stay inline with my left leg no matter how hard I try. Does anyone have any advise on how to rectify this or exercises that will help me as it’s driving me crazy!!
 

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ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
Have you been to a boot fitter? It could be a stance issue. They could do an evaluation and perhaps make some adjustments that could help. Good skiing starts with your boots, so you'd be amazed at the difference it could make!

BTW, welcome to the forum!
 
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Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
Welcome to our world. Static pictures really don't tell much. But Ski Diva has a point. I'm also wondering if you weight is on the inside/uphill ski, instead of the downhill ski.

Try traversing across a shallow slope and pick up your uphill ski. You can leave the tip on the snow, but make sure the foot is off the snow. Not 6", just enough that will put the weight on the downhill ski, then place the uphill ski along side of it. See if the tips are more parallel to each other.
 

canski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Agree with @Jilly . With the weight on the right ski, it is the left ski that should match the right ski....you might be subconsciously be keeping your weight off the injured leg.
 

newboots

Angel Diva
It looks to me from those photos that you have your skis on edge and they are running parallel. If you turn the other way, are you putting them up on edge as well? (Not in this photo.) I don't disagree with the points the others made; I just noticed this in the photos.)

And @Sophie Knighton - glad to have you here, bum hip and all!

:welcome:
 

shadoj

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
And @Sophie Knighton - glad to have you here, bum hip and all!

:welcome:
Hi Sophie! Welcome! Lots of patched-up, persistent skier ladies here to help out. It's a wonderful place :smile: I'm really glad you're getting back out onto the snow; hip/pelvic issues took me out for ~6 years, and I still have to think quite a bit about how I move them. Trying to maintain symmetrical strength and flexibility has been very important to me. If you don't mind, what sort of limitations on movement/strength did your hip injury cause? I might have some ideas for dryland balance/strength (I get bored when off skis and am not supposed to sit too long anyway!)

Agree with @Jilly . With the weight on the right ski, it is the left ski that should match the right ski....you might be subconsciously be keeping your weight off the injured leg.

I would love to see video, as stills can be deceptive. I wonder if you are dropping your shoulder / tipping your upper body to initiate/complete your left hand turns, rather than getting a smooth weight transfer to pressure the new downhill ski (the injured/weak leg). The uphill ski has to simultaneously "unlock" by bending the knee & ankle, opening the hip uphill, and unweighting. This movement can be a bit counterintuitive/scary when your muscle memory due to injury is telling you "stay stable on that good leg, don't step to the other one". This can leave your muscles and center of mass in a place where it's physically, mechanically harder to turn!
 

Little Lightning

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Hi Sophie! Welcome! Lots of patched-up, persistent skier ladies here to help out. It's a wonderful place :smile: I'm really glad you're getting back out onto the snow; hip/pelvic issues took me out for ~6 years, and I still have to think quite a bit about how I move them. Trying to maintain symmetrical strength and flexibility has been very important to me. If you don't mind, what sort of limitations on movement/strength did your hip injury cause? I might have some ideas for dryland balance/strength (I get bored when off skis and am not supposed to sit too long anyway!)



I would love to see video, as stills can be deceptive. I wonder if you are dropping your shoulder / tipping your upper body to initiate/complete your left hand turns, rather than getting a smooth weight transfer to pressure the new downhill ski (the injured/weak leg). The uphill ski has to simultaneously "unlock" by bending the knee & ankle, opening the hip uphill, and unweighting. This movement can be a bit counterintuitive/scary when your muscle memory due to injury is telling you "stay stable on that good leg, don't step to the other one". This can leave your muscles and center of mass in a place where it's physically, mechanically harder to turn!
You're explaining exactly what happened to me after 2 injuries to my left hip and leg (SI joint issues and peroneal tendonitis). I simply did not want weight on my left side even after pain went away. In spite of PT for both injuries I still wanted to get off my left side as quickly as possible. I noticed this bicycling also. I use clipless pedals so it was easy for me to let the left leg spin without doing any work. I ended up working with an FMS (Functional Movement System) trainer. The 1st time I tried to use my left side to hop on an agility ladder I just stood there. I told the trainer I didn't know what to do, I couldn't get my body to move. Right side was easy. He said my Central Nervous System had shut down on that side and as I regained strength it would come back. Eventually, as I skied, I started thinking about shifting my weight onto my left side. The movement was starting to come together in the spring of 2020 but the ski areas shut down. Last season I continued to work with my trainer but didn't ski. I skied last week and felt so balanced, stable and strong. I skied mostly blues with 1 bump run. All my training and hard work the last 2 years really paid off.
 

Jenny

Angel Diva
The 1st time I tried to use my left side to hop on an agility ladder I just stood there. I told the trainer I didn't know what to do, I couldn't get my body to move.
Bet that felt mentally weird! I had something similar after I got out of the brace when I dislocated my thumb. OT told me to move it in a particular way and I couldn’t figure out how. Spooky.
 

SarahXC

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Our minds are constantly remodeling — if we don’t use a neural pathway for a time it will be pruned. Luckily we are also growing new pathways through use. Not as fast in adults as children though.
 

brooksnow

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I'll agree with the others who say it looks like you are not putting weight on your right leg. In the turn to the left picture you are stacked over your left leg and your right one seems to be nearly completely unweighted. It is very difficult to turn primarily with the inside ski.

After two hip replacements I spent the next couple seasons focusing on being symmetrical. The season after the first replacement I struggled to properly use my left leg. The following season I had to relearn movements with the right leg. Now, after 3 years on the pair of wonders of technology, I still sometimes feel like I'm favoring one side or the other, but I am told that I look very even when I ski.
 

Little Lightning

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Bet that felt mentally weird! I had something similar after I got out of the brace when I dislocated my thumb. OT told me to move it in a particular way and I couldn’t figure out how. Spooky.
Not only mentally weird but embarrassing and surprising. I was new to my trainer, he was standing right there, as was the owner of the gym. I had hopped on both feet and right side so the left side not moving was totally unexpected. After several tries I finally did it, very awkwardly. It was at that moment that I realized how much injury can affect physical movement.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I'll add to what others are saying about why the skis don't match in that photo on the right.
Screen Shot 2022-01-20 at 9.01.34 AM.png
1. You have too much weight on the inside (left) ski & too little weight on the outside (right) ski as people have pointed out upthread. As a result, the tail of your right ski has swished outward, leaving your skis in a wedge. This is because there is not enough weight on it; that tail is light. You are standing pretty solidly on your left ski, leaving the whole right ski light. The solution is to keep your torso more upright, rather than allowing it to lean with the legs. That will load the outside (right) ski with more weight. Your range of motion from the injury may be affecting your whole body lean, or it may be habit, or both.

2. So why doesn't the whole right ski slide outward while remaining parallel to the left ski, since the whole right ski is light? Look at your knees - you are going knock-kneed. You have rotated your outside (right) thigh to point in the direction of the turn, but you haven't rotated the inside (left) thigh. Your thigh rotation is not symmetrical. Try to keep both thighs pointing in the same direction on your turns. This unequal rotation contributes to the tail washing out on that right ski, instead of the whole ski washing out.

Because of the camera's position, we can't tell from the photo of your right turn whether you rotate both thighs to keep them (and the skis) parallel or not. And we don't know why you are going "knock-kneed" on the left turns. The photo also doesn't show whether or not you keep your torso more upright in those right turns.

What we do know is you can fix the lack of weight on the outside ski by keeping your torso more upright in all turns, both directions, rather than leaning the whole body as a unit. That's an important skill advancing skiers learn. It should help reduce the outside ski washing away, and give you more grip on the snow. It's possible that with more weight on the right ski, the right thigh won't rotate, and the ski will remain parallel, but this is something you will have to figure out. It's also possible that you can keep the skis parallel by rotating the left thigh (and thus the ski) to match the outside ski.

Best of luck on figuring this out. Skiing can be complicated, especially when the body does things without our permission.
 
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Sophie Knighton

Diva in Training
Wow ladies, what can I say… I never thought I’d receive such an amazing set of responses, so just wanted to say the BIGGEST THANK YOU!


Essentially what happened is i was coming of a chair lift and as I went to ski off the chair clipped my and threw my forward, as I fell my ski got caught in the chair and my ski didn’t unclip resulting in my chair pulling my hip out of place until someone eventually pressed the emergency stop button! What I later found out is that I have extremely flexible hips which meant my hip popped straight back in. However, after this there has been severe muscle wastage which has resulted in me trying to build the muscles back up over quite a few years.

@Little Lightning this sounds so so similar to what happened with me. I was with my physio sat on the floor with my legs straight infront of me. He asked me to lift my left leg off the floor which I did with ease, then asked me to life my right leg and there was nothing, it felt paralysed - not a nice feeling at all.

I had some new boots fitted a few years ago and they made the world of difference from hiring basic ones out. I tried to make an appointment with a local foot fitter to see if they could analyse my stance but unfortunately couldn’t fit me in before I go away.


I am off skiing on Sunday for a week so am most certainly going to put all of your amazing tips to good use and really focus on putting weight on my right leg. I think it’s going to be a bit of a mind over matter and just take it slow. I am tempted to book myself into a private 121 lesson just to really focus on my technique.

I have also found a way to attach the video that I had screenshot the above pictures from so if anyone has any other tips please see the link below.


Again, I just wanted to say thank you for all taking the time to respond. What an amazing group this is
 

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