Understanding your skiing 'A' frame
Whether you just want to understand your own posture or whether you are an instructor observing others it is very important to understand your A frame. With this knowledge you can improve your skiing posture and limit your risk of injury. Bonne Sante Physiotherapists in Val d'Isere explain why the 'A'-frame position may occur.
An 'A'-frame skier is 'knock kneed'. They typically have their ankles further apart than their knees, as shown in the first picture above, rather than 'well-stacked' in parallel lines as the second picture shows. In medical terms, we call this a valgus knee position (or more specifically Genu Valgum). A person may be affected on one or both sides. In skiing, this position can make it very difficult to stand on the outside edge of the ski, it may cause the skis to diverge and the turn may feel jerkier and less controlled as a result. It can also make turns in powder a challenge.
From a medical point of view, an 'A'-frame position can increase the strain through the inside of the knee joint, compressing the medial meniscus (inner knee cartilage) and increasing the strain and forces through the soft tissue. Although there is no scientific evidence for it, some suggest that this position can increase the risk of early onset knee arthritis.
Firstly, simply being aware of this position and aware of how you train off the hill may be a key element in correcting an 'A'-frame posture. Many people are not aware of having a valgus knee position and why should you be unless you have had a knee problem, a personal trainer or are being treated by a physiotherapist?
If you have been told that you are an 'A-frame skier or if you would like to work out if you may suffer from valgus knees, the first thing to do is perform a double or single leg squat in front of a mirror. Repeat this a few times. Are your knee caps well aligned over your 2nd and 3rd toes as you repeat this movement? Do you knees drop inwards? If so, can you correct this simply through awareness and the feedback of watching yourself in the mirror?
In addition to postural and position awareness there are other reasons that could cause an A frame position that Bonne Sante discuss in their blog such as weak hip abductors and external rotators (muscles which turn your hip out and away from the body), or Tight Adductor muscles, or Tight ITB (iliotibial band), or Foot over-pronation. For more information to understand your 'A' frame, the Physiotherapy specialists Bonne Sante in Val d'Isere have provided more detail on these other causes at www.bonnesantephysio.com