Effect of ski mountaineering track on foot sole loading pattern

Objective: Ski mountaineering is becoming a popular sport. The ascending techniques (tracks) can be divided into 3 different groups: flat field, direct ascent, and traversing. This study examines the relationship between different mechanical loads on the foot and the 4 different mountaineering ascending techniques.

Methods: All subjects used the same pair of ski boots and the same skis while performing the 4 different ascending techniques. An in-shoe dynamic pressure measuring system was used to measure the mechanical load on the foot soles of each ski mountaineer. The foot sole was divided into 6 anatomic sections to measure the different loads in each section.

Results: Thirteen men with an average age of 29 years were enrolled in the study. The results showed small, not significant differences in the mechanical foot load in the flat field or in the direct ascent. The average mechanical foot load was highest on the valley side foot while traversing (179 kPa to 117 kPa). The higher load forces were in the medial ball of the foot and the longitudinal aspect of the foot side closer to the hill.

Conclusions: The higher impact placed on the valley side foot and the concentration of force placed on the medial ball of the valley side foot suggested the influence of the track on the load pattern of the foot sole. This higher impact may result in upward forces that affect the force distribution in the ankle and knee joints.

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