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  1. #1
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    Which foot recieves the most pressure/impact on landings?

    I'm rehabing a sprained left ankle and it seems like it's ready for some regular rides. My question is about landing drops/jumps.

    Does the front foot take more of the impact on landings or the rear?. My guess is the rear but it probably depends some on how yor center your weight front to back and whether you land both wheels together or rear wheel first, etc. I imagine they should receive about the same pressure but if I were to favor one... it seems it would be easier to favor the front.

    Any thoughts on this? Just wondering if the fact that my left foot is always forward would help some as far as being able to ride sooner (Going to Moab in a couple of weeks).
    Last edited by KRob; 03-10-2009 at 04:34 PM.

  2. #2
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    If I jam my ankle/foot usually it's my right which also is my foot that is forward on take-offs jumps and drops. Since it is forward I think it is usually the one that rotates down when landing therefore jamming it. Hopefully some of that made sense
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  3. #3
    FM
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    This is a subject I know well

    Still getting my confidence and "air legs" back after fracturing my right upper foot in 7 places last last summer. It's healed up well, but my foot will never be the same and landings don't always feel good.
    Still working the sinovial fluid out of my ankle so sometimes it talks to me as well.
    But hey, I can ride!

    My observation has been that the transition is really all that matters.
    Dropping 3' or more to flat has me limping for the rest of the day/ride. So I really don't like flat landings at all now.
    But I have found 5' to a good tranny feels just fine.
    Another observation from last week is crashing off a large drop can actually feel better than cleaning a small drop to flat. Go figure!

    As far as ankles go, figure the ankle on your "back foot" will be bent more, so thats a consideration. But again, I think having a decent tranny is really all that matters.
    IMHO flat pedals vs. clipless and orthotics are also things to consider, but YMMV with a different injury.
    I have had SPD's "unclip" when landing drops with my heels down, so I definitely prefer flats with 5.10's and orthotics now, unless I am riding strictly XC. With that said I would probably ride clipped in for most Moab rides.

  4. #4
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    I ride left foot forward, and on drops to flat I feel it in my right ankle depending on the size. I'm sure if the situation was right you could hurt either ankle but IME the rear foot/ankle is more likely to be strained when all goes as planned.

    Transitions are nice.

  5. #5
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    I dont want to sound like an idiot if im wrong but doesn't both feet take the same amount of pressure on landings? If they were not equal while landing they would move up or down a stroke... You're body self adjusts without you even thinking about it. right?

  6. #6
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    No, because of the free hub, you're rear foot is always the foot that's holding the front foot in place. It would take the most pressure.

  7. #7
    MattSavage
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelbster15
    I dont want to sound like an idiot if im wrong but doesn't both feet take the same amount of pressure on landings? If they were not equal while landing they would move up or down a stroke... You're body self adjusts without you even thinking about it. right?
    Yes, you're right...

    But, the angle of one ankle compared to the other is different, so one might take more or less strain than the other.

    I think this is a moot point though...
    "I wrote a hit play! What have you ever done?!"

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by FM
    Still getting my confidence and "air legs" back after fracturing my right upper foot in 7 places last last summer. It's healed up well, but my foot will never be the same and landings don't always feel good.
    Still working the sinovial fluid out of my ankle so sometimes it talks to me as well.
    But hey, I can ride!
    Dang. Guess I shouldn't whine about a little sprained ankle. Hope it continues to a full recovery. I hear the popping in my ankle now too when I do toe raises. Is that what that is?

    Quote Originally Posted by FM
    My observation has been that the transition is really all that matters.
    Dropping 3' or more to flat has me limping for the rest of the day/ride. So I really don't like flat landings at all now.
    But I have found 5' to a good tranny feels just fine.
    Another observation from last week is crashing off a large drop can actually feel better than cleaning a small drop to flat. Go figure!
    Well, I'm going to Moab so not really any great transitions. Mostly 3-5' to flattish. (I'll probably avoid the Diving Board on Porc Rim )

    Quote Originally Posted by FM
    IMHO flat pedals vs. clipless and orthotics are also things to consider, but YMMV with a different injury.
    I have had SPD's "unclip" when landing drops with my heels down, so I definitely prefer flats with 5.10's and orthotics now, unless I am riding strictly XC. With that said I would probably ride clipped in for most Moab rides.
    Yeah, I wondered about this as well. Not sure how my ankle will handle the twisting motion required to get out of my Acids. Also I tend to be stuck more on the balls of my feet when dropping clipped in whereas I could center the foot/weight over my arch, and therefore my leg, if I used flats. Unfortunately I have not (re)learned how to drop/jump with flats without my foot flying off the pedal and landing on my nuggets on the seat. Total spaz, I know. So I'm afraid switching to flats at this late date may result in more serious injury than just re-injuring my ankle.

    Good points FM, Thanks.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyN
    I ride left foot forward, and on drops to flat I feel it in my right ankle depending on the size. I'm sure if the situation was right you could hurt either ankle but IME the rear foot/ankle is more likely to be strained when all goes as planned.

    Transitions are nice.
    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing Andy. When I've come up short on a landing or hit awkwardly on a flat landing I'm more likely to feel it in my right (rear) ankle.

    I think it does have something to do with it being more bent when you hit.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelbster15
    I dont want to sound like an idiot if im wrong but doesn't both feet take the same amount of pressure on landings? If they were not equal while landing they would move up or down a stroke... You're body self adjusts without you even thinking about it. right?

    Yeah, I think technically you are right. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In other words the pressure going into your feet from the force of a drop needs to be met and resisted. Some is absorbed by your shocks, some by your tires, and some by you thighs as you compress into the landing. How much of that force torques or tweaks my sore front ankle is the question.... and can I do anything to moderate it?

    I suppose if the crank arms are exactly parallel to the ground on impact the force generated into the feet would have to be roughly equal assuming your body is centered over the BB. But I guess what I'm thinking is that I can take more of the impact with my back (good) foot and absorb some of that upward force on the front pedal more gradually with my leg, thus spreading out the pressure over a longer time and without bending the toe upward as abruptly on the weak ankle. Does this make sense?

  11. #11
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    I've been through this one with a sprained ankle in the past. I sprained it skateboarding, and then favored it subconsciously when riding for a couple of years. It was actually the favoring that gave me continued problems.
    The nature of the sprain may have some bearing on the continuing issues. I flat-landed a pretty big jump (actually a super-gnarly front-side boneless for those who know what that is) with my rear (right) foot up on the kick-tail instead of over the bolts. It twisted inwards and stretched the inside ligaments which is contrary to the normal rolling over on the outside of the foot.
    For the next couple of years I would favor that right (rear) foot on the bike. It was all subconscious, but I would rotate the front foot down to take the weight of any landing. Sounds good but I would actually twist the non weight-bearing ankle on any decent sized landing. I think trying to take that much impact on one leg twists your whole body, and tries to violently pull your other foot out of the clip. (This was on a 6" travel bike.)

    My recommendation is to avoid favoring your bad ankle and take any impacts on both feet equally. If you are worried I suppose you could shift your cleat a bit further back on your shoe to lessen the leverage on your ankle. Might cause some other issue though.

    Good luck.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hitek79
    No, because of the free hub, you're rear foot is always the foot that's holding the front foot in place. It would take the most pressure.
    I don't think the freehub has anything to do with it. The only way the freehub resists your front foot moving down is if it is doing so fast enough to engage the freehub. Otherwise, it is offering no resistance. Yes, the back is keeping the front in place, but the front is keeping the back in place as well. Try taking your front foot off the pedal and see what the rear does.

    Assuming you maintain the cranks in a steady position as you absorb the impact, the force on each foot is the same. It is the difference in the position and mechanics of the front and back foot/ankle/leg/whatever that makes the difference in terms of how it feels and/or hurts.

    Of course, there is one exception to this: Me. I have cranks of different lengths, so the shorter one (left side, rear when I land) gets a little more force at the pedal.

  13. #13
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    i sometimes ride bmx with my friend cause he is too weak for mtn biking. haha. so on my bike if i come off a ledge i really feel it on my lead foot. sometimes i have fallen off my bike from sheer pain. cause bmx bikes have no suspension and i ride my tires at high psi. so your lead foot will most likely feel the strain. if your injured foot is your lead foot you are gunna feel pain or feel really awkward when you switch your lead foot to reduce pain.

  14. #14
    I'd rather be biking...
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    I've been through this one with a sprained ankle in the past. I sprained it skateboarding, and then favored it subconsciously when riding for a couple of years. It was actually the favoring that gave me continued problems.
    The nature of the sprain may have some bearing on the continuing issues. I flat-landed a pretty big jump (actually a super-gnarly front-side boneless for those who know what that is) with my rear (right) foot up on the kick-tail instead of over the bolts. It twisted inwards and stretched the inside ligaments which is contrary to the normal rolling over on the outside of the foot.
    For the next couple of years I would favor that right (rear) foot on the bike. It was all subconscious, but I would rotate the front foot down to take the weight of any landing. Sounds good but I would actually twist the non weight-bearing ankle on any decent sized landing. I think trying to take that much impact on one leg twists your whole body, and tries to violently pull your other foot out of the clip. (This was on a 6" travel bike.)

    My recommendation is to avoid favoring your bad ankle and take any impacts on both feet equally. If you are worried I suppose you could shift your cleat a bit further back on your shoe to lessen the leverage on your ankle. Might cause some other issue though.
    Good point, if you dont even out your pedals you will look like this guy, look at his feet before take off.....oops!

    Noob Eats It

  15. #15
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    For me on anything over a couple foot drop its my rear foot/leg that takes the brunt of it.... I figure the reason is I dont land in the middle of the bike all that often, I am usually just behind the seat so I can absorb more with my legs and to keep the front wheel up. The rear leg is in the best/strongest position to spring me down and up.

  16. #16
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    Went on my first trail ride since the injury this morning.

    It went well. Much like on the trainer, normal pedalling and even standing and hammering (moderately) didn't bother it.

    I didn't do any drops but a couple of things I noticed:

    1) Pulling up on that foot while clipped in caused some mild discomfort. That's not a huge concern because I'm more of a masher than a perfect circles guy. I was a bit surprised by this though because I thought evening out the pressure in my pedal stroke would help.

    2) Fast, choppy downhills and little g-outs while standing with weight forward caused some discomfort and seemed to put more pressure on that front (injured) left foot. In fact, I never really noticed how much of my weight is over the front pedal when I'm in the head-over-the-bars attack position. That pressure gets jolted upward into the ball on rough bumps. I could see where a long rough/fast downhill like Porc Rim could really tax the injured ankle.

    I'm going to ride tomorrow again and hopefully Saturday try some small drops. I'll let you know how it goes.

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