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Foot-body alignment, orthotics, and exercises

Mon, Jan  24, 2011 - By Brian Gregg

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Q: During the push-off phase of skate technique, I have a tendency to roll my knee right knee down and toward the centerline, creating an angle that strains the inside of the knee. Would a custom footbed with a reinforced arch help with knee tracking? Any drills to help cure the habit? On a side note, I've noticed that some of the best World Cup skiers have the same tendency (Northug, to mention one), so wondering whether this is more a function of build, musculature, etc, rather than technique. Finally, curious if orthotics/custom footbeds are commonly worn by elite skiers? 

One of the great things about cross country skiing is that is so gentle on your body parts, even if it can be a lot of hard work.  Technique and bio mechanics can make a big difference in speed and effort.  Similar to runners, many elite skiers use orthotics to improve their mechanics. Knees and ankles are very complicated and I would recommend seeing a specialist about what type of orthotic to use.  

Personally I have found that an orthotic with full foot length posting has helped me improve my balance and keep my knee from falling in while running or skiing. 

Another way to correct this issue is to strengthen potential muscle imbalances. Do you notice that your knee falls inward when you walk? Focus on walking, running and skiing with everything in alignment, making sure that your feet are pointed straight forward and your knee lines up directly over them.  Lunges or squats in front of a mirror can help keep you honest about staying aligned and strengthen the stabilizing muscles. 

Start with small changes and if does not feel right it is likely not right.

Brian Gregg
CXC Elite Team