Should you deliberately pronate/supinate in edgework?

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
Just wondering if it's correct technique to purposefully roll your ankle to the inside/outside in order to deepen an edge?
I remember some of my coaches (some of whom are ice dancers, but also coach freestyle) telling me to do so in specific instances (e.g. crossrolls, choctaws, sometimes even just 3-turns).

Personally I have hypermobile feet so if I let them go, they really go far over... I've gotten used to trying to hold my ankles in a neutral position in ballet/sports, do ankle strengthening exercises and wear orthotics (in skates and sneakers). From my layperson's knowledge of physiology, isn't pronation/supination biomechanically inefficient/unhealthy since it alters the alignment of other joints (e.g. knee, back, hips) in the kinetic chain?

I'm slightly worried about getting chronic foot injuries since my medial foot ligaments are already very lax (congenital, but skating seems to have made them even worse) :(
 

Snorlax

Rinkside
Joined
Jan 19, 2020
Country
United-Kingdom
Thank you very much for asking that question. I have a similar problem with the lateral ligaments, and I would really like to know more about this. I think this question being unanswered keeps me from going onto my outside edge properly, because I'm not sure how far to lean over...don't want to overstretch my loose ligaments. I suspect the answer lies somewhere in the middle, in combination with doing more ankle strenghtening exercises.
 

jf12

Final Flight
Joined
Dec 8, 2016
It’s correct, especially in ice dance it’s what they mean when they say ‘put down an edge’. You’re supposed to use your muscles to isolate the ankle roll from the alignment of the rest of your body, ie, don’t pop your hip out. I have no knowledge of what’s biomechanically healthy, but I’m sure there are many things in skating that aren’t great, hence lots of 30 year olds getting hip replacements.
 

1111bm

Final Flight
Joined
Dec 31, 2016
That is such a good question, nice coincidence that someone made such a thread, because I've been wondering about this a lot lately.

My skating has always been very "curvy" i.e. on big circles (actually it's too curvy, but that's a whole other topic) and I always assumed that if I'm on a nice, pronounced curve, my edges will be automatically deep and all is good. :p
But then I started observing other skaters and the angle between their blades and the ice and also tried to observe my own blades while I was skating, which obviously doesn't really work :laugh: and realised that skating on a curve doesn't suffice.

So after watching some ice dance videos, I figured I need to consciously tilt the blades more to the sides, the way the OP describes? :shrug:
Maybe that's wrong or maybe it's totally obvious to everyone else with more experience, but it wasn't to me and I had never considered that before (and certainly no one ever told me to do so).

So either way, I tried doing that for the past 2 weeks, and it feels nicer, more 'athletic' I guess, and gives me a nicer feeling glide. And it has actually helped me with the FO 3turn on my right leg, which was my weaker side, so that was interesting. But I need to adjust my balance anew now and relearn how to position myself over the blade, so some of my footwork can get a bit wonky whenever I focus on angling my blades more.

And it feels like my blades dulled a bit faster than usual, plus I think I might've killed my boots doing that, because they've already been too loose/wide for the past year or so, but now it's become intolerable these last couple days (could be coincidence though or just me being overly sensitive about the fit of my boots when in reality it's all in my head)

And don't come at me, because yeah, I have asked my coach numerous times over the past year how to achieve deeper edges, and he either ignored my question or told me to just "practice until they get better". Last week was the first time he finally, after some more 'whining' on my part, gave me some actual, sensible advice, when he told me to push over my pinky toe in order to achieve more depth on outside edges (or sth. along those lines, don't know how to translate exactly what he meant)
 

Ic3Rabbit

Patineuse élite et professionnelle
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
Not unless you want to break your ankles or mess up the tendons/ligaments for life.
 

cl2

Final Flight
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
That is such a good question, nice coincidence that someone made such a thread, because I've been wondering about this a lot lately.

My skating has always been very "curvy" i.e. on big circles (actually it's too curvy, but that's a whole other topic) and I always assumed that if I'm on a nice, pronounced curve, my edges will be automatically deep and all is good. :p
But then I started observing other skaters and the angle between their blades and the ice and also tried to observe my own blades while I was skating, which obviously doesn't really work :laugh: and realised that skating on a curve doesn't suffice.

So after watching some ice dance videos, I figured I need to consciously tilt the blades more to the sides, the way the OP describes? :shrug:
Maybe that's wrong or maybe it's totally obvious to everyone else with more experience, but it wasn't to me and I had never considered that before (and certainly no one ever told me to do so).

So either way, I tried doing that for the past 2 weeks, and it feels nicer, more 'athletic' I guess, and gives me a nicer feeling glide. And it has actually helped me with the FO 3turn on my right leg, which was my weaker side, so that was interesting. But I need to adjust my balance anew now and relearn how to position myself over the blade, so some of my footwork can get a bit wonky whenever I focus on angling my blades more.

And it feels like my blades dulled a bit faster than usual, plus I think I might've killed my boots doing that, because they've already been too loose/wide for the past year or so, but now it's become intolerable these last couple days (could be coincidence though or just me being overly sensitive about the fit of my boots when in reality it's all in my head)

And don't come at me, because yeah, I have asked my coach numerous times over the past year how to achieve deeper edges, and he either ignored my question or told me to just "practice until they get better". Last week was the first time he finally, after some more 'whining' on my part, gave me some actual, sensible advice, when he told me to push over my pinky toe in order to achieve more depth on outside edges (or sth. along those lines, don't know how to translate exactly what he meant)

I'm not an ice dancer. But I've also found that I "roll my ankle" on turns in order to get clean entry and exit edges without skidding. (Except that I don't think of it as rolling the ankle, but rather, deepening the edge into the turn.) But apart from those momentary instances of pronation/supination, I prefer to rely on body alignment, correct lean, and strong posture as the primary means to creating my edge. I won't become an elite ice dancer any time in my life time, and don't see the need to mess up my tendons/ligaments for life. (Especially not after Ic3Rabbit's warning. :biggrin:)
 

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
Interesting, thanks for the input!

I wonder if the directive to roll over on one side of the foot is just a mental cue to achieve a desired result, rather than reflecting what actually happens... a bit like how some coach might tell a student to think of taking off backwards on a salchow, to fix the fact that the student is doing a BI3 on the ice, although in reality some pre-rotation is necessary :think: Perhaps in those instances where I'm being asked to 'roll over', I could be unintentionally supinating while on an inside edge and am actually being cued to revert to neutral...

If just forward/backward ankle motion is needed for good edges, then I'm a bit puzzled as to why dance boots are low-cut all over (not just front and back), and why certain freestyle boots are designed with a wide/round collar that leaves gaps at the sides of the ankle (e.g. Edeas or the Risport Royal line) to supposedly allow for easier knee bend/footwork (versus a boot with a V-shaped collar like the Risport RF series which is meant to offer more support for jumping).

I have noticed slight but visible pronation by some skaters in international competition during slow-motion replays of step sequences, especially ice dancers.
 

Ic3Rabbit

Patineuse élite et professionnelle
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
Interesting, thanks for the input!

I wonder if the directive to roll over on one side of the foot is just a mental cue to achieve a desired result, rather than reflecting what actually happens... a bit like how some coach might tell a student to think of taking off backwards on a salchow, to fix the fact that the student is doing a BI3 on the ice, although in reality some pre-rotation is necessary :think: Perhaps in those instances where I'm being asked to 'roll over', I could be unintentionally supinating while on an inside edge and am actually being cued to revert to neutral...

If just forward/backward ankle motion is needed for good edges, then I'm a bit puzzled as to why dance boots are low-cut all over (not just front and back), and why certain freestyle boots are designed with a wide/round collar that leaves gaps at the sides of the ankle (e.g. Edeas or the Risport Royal line) to supposedly allow for easier knee bend/footwork (versus a boot with a V-shaped collar like the Risport RF series which is meant to offer more support for jumping).

I have noticed slight but visible pronation by some skaters in international competition during slow-motion replays of step sequences, especially ice dancers.

Many of us supinate/pronate naturally, by the time you get to the elite level, you just do many times. Some of us were born with it (me).
Yes, dance boots are designed for the allowance of the bend, but it's not from forcing your foot to roll like you asked, that will get you injured for life like I said before.
 

1111bm

Final Flight
Joined
Dec 31, 2016
I'm not an ice dancer. But I've also found that I "roll my ankle" on turns in order to get clean entry and exit edges without skidding. (Except that I don't think of it as rolling the ankle, but rather, deepening the edge into the turn.) But apart from those momentary instances of pronation/supination, I prefer to rely on body alignment, correct lean, and strong posture as the primary means to creating my edge. I won't become an elite ice dancer any time in my life time, and don't see the need to mess up my tendons/ligaments for life. (Especially not after Ic3Rabbit's warning. :biggrin:)

No it's fine. Just wanna make clear, when I said that I've recently been trying to be more conscious of angling my blades to the sides on edges, I didn't mean that I was overstretching my ankles past a healthy or normal degree. Pretty sure my ankle ligaments would've 'complained' if I had done so over several sessions, but I only felt some additional heaviness afterwards in my thigh and calve muscles from doing a little more work than usual with my legs, I guess.

And actually, not sure my boots would even allow for that much side flexion in the ankle area, they're currently too 'roomy' around my feet and heels, but the sides are still super stiff (also, if I knew how to do that, maybe I would be able to achieve a proper pidgeon-toed Lutz take-off, but alas... :sad21: no idea how that works with tightly laced up boots or without having to relace your boots immediately afterwards, and I wear mine already pretty loose at the top).

Although I would agree that there's a tendency to pronate when deepening/pushing into inside edges, but I don't think it's damaging. Because if I'm not mistaken, a certain pronation is natural/necessary when we walk, so our ligaments are built to do that, as long as it doesn't go past a certain degree of course.
 

Vicki7

Rinkside
Joined
Aug 27, 2018
My coach explained it to me like this: deep edges come from knee bend and pressure on the right part of the foot. So for an outside edge, he tells me to press down through my little toe, for an inside edge, press down through my big toe.
 
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