It’s Melbourne Cup day and a public holiday across Victoria (thank goodness we moved south of the border). Did you know that a horse’s alignment is the penultimate deciding factor for what use a horse will have throughout its lifetime? Whether it will be a racer, Grand Prix show jumper, or champion draft horse. This is called” equine conformation”. Basically, it’s an assessment of its alignment. The same as we do when we do a ski boot assessment and alignment! But it must be noted that we won’t put you out to pasture if you don’t have the perfect alignment or “conformation” for slalom racing. Rather, we will adjust your equipment to best accommodate you to get the most out of your skiing.
As a podiatrist, over the years many patients have likened podiatry to farriery. Whilst I’ve never been sure how to take this comparison, today I’m going to run with it. Let’s be completely irreverent and compare the pair.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day (or first Tuesday in November)?
“The horse's conformation must be considered when determining proper balance for the hindfeet. A wide-hipped horse that stands with a narrow base behind is most comfortable standing that way. Care must be taken to keep the leg and hoof in alignment…The usual procedure to address this situation on the base-narrow horse is to slightly lower the inside hoof wall and build some lateral support into the shoe.” 1
People with wide hips will often have a genu valgus angle at the knees (knock knees), which will result in more pressure on the inside cuff of the boot. This causes the ski to always be on the inside edge and looks like A-framing when skiing. It’s uncomfortable because you never feel even and edges catch easily, especially along cat tracks. An alignment correction for your boots will include a supportive custom ski orthotic and cuff alignment of the ski boot. Angling the top of the boot inwards allows the boot to follow the leg angle so you’re no longer fighting the equipment, it’s now working for you.
“Thin walls reduce the weight bearing surface and are associated with flatter more tender soles more readily prone to bruising. Such horses are more prone to corns and tend to grow long toes with low heels which in turn reduces the shock absorption properties of the feet…Corrective shoeing provides a solution for problems located in the hoof.” 2
The correct boots and supportive custom ski orthotics will evenly disperse pressure around the foot. It will hold the foot in a neutral position, allowing for support of the foot’s shape and improve shock absorption and reduce stress on the supportive mechanisms of the foots (ligaments, muscles and bony joints). All of this improves performance and, more importantly for some, momentously improves comfort whilst skiing.
Hope you enjoy race day! And ladies, good luck with the alignment in your heels on the soggy paddock today. Everyone loves a challenge! But if you’re tired of the challenge, you should check out these Emily Braidwood footbeds designed specifically to make high heels comfy. Game changer.