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Foot Pronation and the Figure Skater

There are many factors that will affect a figure skater’s ability to perform jumps, spins, and various moves with correct technique. One would consider lack of muscle strength or flexibility, poor coordination, lack of sound technique, or poor concentration. Those with a biomechanically oriented mind will automatically think of a skater’s alignment and body mechanics, looking at the skater from the bottom up. This may start by looking at the skater’s feet and ankles.

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There are two different types of foot dysfunction: over-pronation (pes planus) and over-supination (pes cavus). A person who overpronates presents with an arch that is flatter, more flexible, and closer to the ground than normal. One who oversupinates presents with an arch that is higher and more rigid than normal. For this article, only pronation will be discussed.

Pronation occurs from the joint between the tibia bone (lower leg) and the talus (ankle bone), and the joint between the talus and the calcaneous (heel bone). As the foot flattens, the ankle will cause the tibia to rotate inward. As the tibia rotates inward, this will affect angle of the knee joint. When the knee joint turns in more the normal, this is called an increase in the valgus angle of the knee. When a skater bends the knee, this phenomena increases, and the valgus angle gets larger.