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Thoughts on binding setup for ankle preservation


pgmoore
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This past weekend my friends and I were at a lake in Northern Alberta. Frustrated with the rough conditions, I decided to drive 250km home to the private ski lake to get a couple of sets in. The plan was to ski and then head back that evening.

 

Alas, it was not to be... as I was rounding 4 ball on my opening pass something went wrong and I crashed. My back foot came out of my boot but the front foot stayed in. Not a great scenario.

 

The result was a mess of torn ligaments and a fractured ankle on my left foot (front). At this point there is no estimation as to whether or not I will ski again this summer, but the season in Alberta is short so things are not looking promising.

 

Which brings me to the question as to the best binding systems to avoid injuries like this. Currently I run 2012 Strada boots, front and back.

 

What are your thoughts? If a different setup might have prevented this unfortunate situation, it's worth it to me to change what I'm using!

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Sucks man and I've been there. My ankles are really weak these days. I've ended up with softball ankles from soccer, raquetball, skiing, rock climbing, etc etc. On the plus side, the swelling goes down in about a week or two and I don't remember it really taking much more than about 3-6 weeks to fully heal to 100% again depending on how bad it was. The 6 week heal was pretty substantial with all sorts of clicking and popping when it happened.

 

In answer to your question, I originally thought double boots would be best so this kind of thing wouldn't happen but I just injured other things instead so I scrapped that idea. I absolutely love my Reflex binding now. I've had a few falls where my back foot comes out and as I start to tumble, the binding releases cleanly. No rubber boot that I've used has ever released cleanly in that kind of fall. You ankle can't bend side to side very much in a hard shell so my feeling is that the ski will inevitably blow the tail and you'll release or you'll hit the water and catch an edge during your tumble and you'll release.

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Make sure you look at OB4 systems. I can't YET speak from any experience, but that system allows release in every possible direction. One of the reasons I bought it is that it can release under various twists, which I believe is a key defense against ankle injury. I've had minor ankle injuries and I'm not waiting around for The Big One before I do something about it! Sadly I can't ski them yet because of back issues. But be sure to find MattP's review and read it!
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I feel your pain. Last September I fractured a bone in my foot, Talus, and sprained my ankle badly. Three months in a cast and still going to PT. I was also in a double Strada setup. I am able to ski this year but I do not have the strength in my foot to ski as well as I was.

 

I switched to the Reflex front and rear. I like the concept of being able to tighten the boot to give my ankle the support needed and knowing that it will release when necessary. It feels like there is plenty of support for my ankle as the binding will release before any damage is done to me ankle. I think I will have to wait until next season, when hopefully I will be 100%, to really know if I like the setup.

 

Heal well

 

 

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sorry to hear, i know about the short season, im in sask, i have stratas on my nano right now but i have the reflex sitting on the bench, i think i will swich over, no crashes on the ankles but a broken rib, out for a little bit, i think i will look at the reflex on my bench, good luck
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I love my Reflex after coming off of strada. I never was really comfortable with them because you don't have a dependable release point. I can test my Reflex and if I am skiing with a bad ankle or something adjust it down to release early before the pain starts. Can test the release on the dock too. OB4 looks good as well. Fluid motion Quattro is a good system as are powershells. Only bad thing about powershells is cost of dual local if you release a lot and figuring out how much is enough but not too much. Just really like the Reflex for repeatable release points.
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It's been 8 weeks since I broke my tibia and I'm hobbling around a bit. My hopes of getting back on the ski in August are fading. I'm looking at the Reflex with R style rear but I'm in no rush and would like to hear more feedback on the OB4 system. I was on Stradas and the injury was from compression. Tail blew out and I skipped across the water 3 times on the front of ski going into ball 4. The surgeon says the X-rays look great but only partial weight bearing for another couple weeks. Ankle injuries seem far too common.
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Reflex won't release in compressive twist. OB4 won't release in crushing otf. You really want to flail around with one foot in and one foot out? Not me

 

Don't stick your foot in a binding that can not handle every significant type of crash. Or, accept that the crash the binding you choose won't handle will be the crash that can hurt you. Then, hope you don't have that kind of crash. Play the odds! It's like Vegas.

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Totally agree with @gregy. The two systems to consider for safety are an OB4 or a single plate release with a Gatormod.

 

In my opinion, the OB4 system can save you in any situation where a release can save you. Not only do I see no reason that one foot in would hurt you (since it is fully capable of releasing in every direction whenever something bad happens), but creator Mike Mosley tells me his family have been using the system for both slalom and trick for many years without ever having a one-in-one-out occur.

 

However, as discussed in a recent and very interesting thread, there are falls in which a release cannot save you. The single-plate Gatormod can save you in one such fall. However, I believe that for "typical" ankle injury situations, which happen to me personally much more often than crushing situations, independent release is slightly safer.

 

The bottom line is obvious but worth restating: There is no safe system. However, some are safer than others and if you understand which can save in which situations, you can at least make an informed decision!

 

The last 5ish years have seen tremendous improvements in what's available, and that's one reason it's time for Luddites like me to move ahead to a new generation of bindings. Crossing my fingers isn't good enough any more.

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I fully understand the concept of not wanting one foot in and one foot out. In fact, I believed it so much that I bought the HO EXO binding system. May not have been the most popular binding setup but your feet were locked in together. Problem is...if you blow the tail, it doesn't release. If you go OTF, it doesn't release until after you've hit the water and torn everything. After tearing my IT band in an OTF which I'm still dealing with 3 years later, I'll happily take the highly unlikely ankle injury. I thought the ankle injury sucked but at least I recovered 100% from that.

 

I think the OB4 system is interesting but I'm too in love with my Reflex to try anything else at this time.

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@pgmoore i feel for you. I broke my fibula 4 weeks ago in my reflex @ 38. it was an odd twisting fall and i'm not sure any system is more than 80% safe. i'd looked at OB4 system a few weeks before my accident when we had a pro skier at the lake. the bindings looked dicey. the set-up looked cool ..( ie. the release.) i'd like to see how it holds up under years of real world usage. but the more alternatives the better. best wishes on your speedy recovery
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@Waternut‌ the reflex bindings could be used OB4 system. The OB4 really looks like it has a big advantage over the reflex because of the ability to release in different directions.

 

I like the stealth/fogman over the exo due to the front and rear release on the fogman design. Add the gatormod and its maybe the safest system available.

 

@pgmoore either of the system probably would have saved your ankle from twisting.

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I think that I will be for sure making a switch to either the Reflex or OB4 system. I need to learn a bit more about the advantages and disadvantages of each system. Due to where I live, there won't really be an opportunity to demo either system or even try the boots on in advance. So any thoughts sure would be appreciated!

 

That might be a topic for another thread...

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Definitely sucks, I broke my tibia (medial malleous fracture) on April 27 on the first turn of the year in Calgary. I was wearing 2011 Stradas. My lower laces were snug and the top were tensioned up a little bit. I ended up with a partial front foot release (broke my front ankle). I did zero weight bearing for almost 6 weeks and I have been walking on it since about June 11. Finally starting to walk normal and hope to ski mid to late July. Still lacking the nimbleness and flexibility in my ankle which would put me at greater risk if I tried skiing already.

 

I am in the same boat when it comes to bindings, I am really contemplating what system is right for me. I was pretty comfortable in the Stradas, even though I had ~3 partial front foot releases in about 200 sets. These partial releases really intimidate me. I have accepted that there is some inherent risk that comes with water skiing and the break was a bit of a freak incident but I am looking at alternatives.

 

Currently I am thinking about the Reflex with an R style rear as well. Tried on the Reflex boot today and thought it fit surprisingly comfortable. I do think that there are some limitations with the release which makes me intimidated to try double reflex's.

 

OB4 systems does have me very interested as well. My first thoughts are mounting strada's or reflex boots on them. I would really like to see this system in person...

 

@pgmoore Good luck on your recovery. They stock Reflex @ Shuswap SNB in Calgary if that helps.

 

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@maximus Thanks for the tip re Shuswap SNB. Calgary is definitely doable from where I am and knowing that there is a Reflex dealer there helps a ton. Once the ankle is mobile enough to stick it in a boot, I'll for sure be making a trip down there to try them on!
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@pgmoore‌ If it's any consolation, I really don't think that demoing a binding is something you'll get anything useful from. Just going to a hardshell alone is such a dramatic change that a lot of people end up going straight at the first buoy. It takes a while to learn the new system and it took me roughly 3-4 months before I got my Reflex set to where I was really happy. Granted a lot of the adjustments that I was tweaking were things that a normal rubber binding can't do anyway so part of the learning curve was understanding what each adjustment does. It also doesn't help that I'm very reluctant to make changes to anything too.
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@waternut That for sure makes sense. It does seem like a pretty drastic change... hopefully for the better!

 

The biggest score is the information from @maximus about the Reflex dealer in Calgary. Just being able to try on the boots for size and comfort is a huge bonus. It's a 300km drive each way, but for sure worth it.

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I think you have to match up the binding with the ski. I have the D3 leverage on a D3 Nomad RCX which is a very forgiving ski. I like the bindings a lot. The traditional bindings should be snug, not too tight otherwise they will not release you in a fall. I have sprained ankles in bindings that were very pliable but did not release your foot in fall(1993 O'Brien Advantage). On my last ski which was a 2000 O'Brien Mapple I had the contact bindings which were traditional bindings like Wiley's but the heal and toe pieces were made of EVA rubber. They were stiff, but would still release me in a fall. I would not put the D3 Leverage on that ski since it was not forgiving as the RCX since they do not release you as easy.
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I've been using FM quattro double hardshells since... 2005ish.

 

This is not for everyone but I feel as if it is the most logical system, particularly for those who have had injuries. Worth a look/comparison to other systems.

 

I moved onto them after a 1 foot in 1 foot out spiral fractured femur. And have not found a system since that I would be willing to trade for.

 

But for the system configured how I run it you're in 1250$

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So, after quite a lot of research and follow-up reading here on BOS, I think I'm going to pursue the OB4 system.

 

The fact that OB4 will release both left and right, and up from the front of the boot, as well as up from the back in an OTF crash is very appealing.

 

I haven't decided what I'm going to do for boots yet. That is the next consideration!

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@BraceMaker‌ Thanks for checking up on me! Still haven't made a final decision on what boots to go with OB4 yet. The main reason is that I need my feet to get back to normal so that I can try a few things on!

 

But, as a great development, last night I was able to walk a bit in my boot without crutches. That felt like a pretty big change to me, so I made this video :)

 

 

In two more weeks I should be done with the air cast, which will be REALLY nice.

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@BraceMaker‌ - Good catch! But no, for sure do not rep them.

 

In my "real life" I'm a CPA... partner at a national accounting firm in Canada.

 

But in the winter, I work part time with the US Ski Team as a ski tech on the World Cup. I also do quite a lot of racing for myself. This means that I've got a lot of skis :)

 

 

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You don't have a winter busy season? My significant other @ a Big 4 firm (CPA not a partner) is a no show from about the time our trails have snow till it melts. That's super cool, I've always wanted to give a shot at a biathlon, mostly because I am so rubbish at skating but am a decent shot. But I've given up on bothering with that.
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Sorry for wording and spelling....

 

My ski buddy just broke his ankle badly.

Bone broken 2 times and a crake (?) in the bone all way down and trough to the foot joint.

Just going into the turn prior to boie, ski slow down faster than him and back foot released and body keep on turning.

He heared the sound of the crack prior to falling.

 

The setup was Reflex + reflex rtp

Running a third warm up 32@15 off that he can do 25 times a day.

 

Next season we plan to switch to booth feets in.

Maybe welcro plate with his reflex and my Vectors with no bungy cord (change to rope)

 

Now I hope he will recover fully.

Surgery plan for Monday.

 

Try to ski without being affraid and that is not easy.

 

Take care all skiers!

Peter

 

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I remember getting my reflex in the mail, opening the box, looking at it and thinking "wtf, how the hell will this thing release in a twister?" Theoretically, it won't. And as @gsm_peter‌ buddy has unfortunately proved for us, practically, it won't.
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@gator1‌

 

I've posted this before - but you would appreciate the actual meaning.

 

You see this -

 

http://www.jagersport.com/images/Silv404.jpg

 

 

But the part that is missing is here:

 

http://www.wildsnow.com/backcountry-ski-museum/silvretta-sl/IMG_6628-heel-release.jpg

 

silvretta%20heel1.jpg

 

 

 

In waterski form they have eliminated/removed the mechanism that permits rotational release in a reflex style binding unit and kept only the clamping/holding feature.

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It seems that here in the uk, most people use reflex + a back of their choice, ((except me- on PS5's). In the US, what's the most common boot and are people moving away from PS / dual lock? And are the die hard Goode skiers just using them out of brand loyalty or are they safe?
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@pgmoore sorry to hear that. I had a similar problem 2 years ago in which my back foot came out and my front foot stayed in. I never tore any ligaments but stretched them to the point of nearly tearing. I recently changed to reflex front and R style on the back and had a similar crash the other day to when I injured my foot, my reflex released and although my foot is a touch tender (due to the previous crash) I can still ski and my foot is fine.

 

I strongly feel that if I had been in and rubber boot I would have torn my ligaments again. I would agree with either going Wiley or Reflex, one extreme to the other. Reflex all the way for me, wish I had done it years ago!

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