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wavesailing, avoiding foot/ankle injury
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tingram



Joined: 05 Jul 2004
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:42 am    Post subject: wavesailing, avoiding foot/ankle injury Reply with quote

In June, I landed badly from a jump while wavesailing off Jacksonville Beach and dislocated all the joints in my mid-foot, known as a lisfrancs dislocation. The fix was to fuse the first three tarsal/metatarsal joints with a bone graft and screws (fun!). Thanks to my surgeons with JOI I'm good to go again and was cleared to wavesail as of a couple of weeks ago.

When I crashed I was on a 104L freeride type board, sailing in sideshore wind around 20mph with a 5.5. The set waves on the outside had about 6 foot faces. I went for a big jump on the outside set - no loops or anything fancy. The board wobbled in the air and I am pretty sure it landed with the lee rail down, and I was hanging onto the booms and my body was far out to windward. I was wearing reef booties, and the straps were pretty snug (across the middle of my foot, at a standard setting for flatwater windsurfing). I couldn't pull my front foot out fast enough when I started to realize what was happening and I should have known better in that the reef booties usually take a conscious effort to pull out. This isn't a huge deal in flat water but I had put off re-decking the board and it was too slick for bare feet. The straps were set in the inboard position (the first time they had been inboard so maybe I shouldn't have been going for a big jump that day!).

So, here's my question. I see that experienced wavesailors wipe out from huge jumps and bad turns on big waves all the time and while pros have had their fair share of foot and ankle injuries, it isn't like they get hurt badly every time they wipe out, even in Hookipa or the Canary Islands, and even when they land wrong. The AWT Makani video showed people doing hard wipeouts when in the straps on the face of the wave and they just waterstart away, no problem. How do you do it and not get hurt? I'm swearing off booties especially in the waves, and have loosened the straps so that hopefully my feet come out without having to think about it in a crash. Is that the key or is there more to it? Do you try to be more over the board rather than more outboard when hitting the water? What about nose first landings? I've also gotten a true wave board, 84L, in that I think the bigger board may have a higher risk of torquing knees, ankles and feet when jumping in stronger wind and in the waves. I weigh about 165 lbs, and have windsurfed for about 25 yrs without serious injury until this one, though about 90% of it was on flatwater. I'm not looking to start doing loops - I just want to ride the waves and not freak about the occasional air on the way out or floater on the way in. Thanks.
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outcast



Joined: 04 May 2004
Posts: 2398

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I think ankle injuries are more common than you think in the pro ranks.

Yah the booties prob didn't help.

Making your straps bigger (as you stated that you might), actually probably worse.....I like getting in deep, but bigger cahnce getting stuck....Not all straps are alike either, and the Dakine Contours pretty slick (good)

But it just sounds like you landed wrong. the softest safest you could do would be over your board with the tail coming in to the water at a 45 degree angle......Nose first is tough to do well. Sounds like the wind might have taken your board from under you a bit.....sorry. Some deck pads are nicer than others too

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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14226

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SEARCH the forum with such keywords as footstrap, injury, ankle, etc. We've posted many scores of informative pages on the issue, with no consensus.
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2396

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Booties are fine. I and dozens of surfsailors wear booties in the waves, and none have any problems.
The problem is your inexperience. You made the mistake of taking a freeride board out in the waves, and jumped. FR boards go waaay faster than wave boards, accelerate quicker, land harder. your mistake.
Set straps screws closer together, make the straps an inch taller than your instep. That way, you can twist your foot a full 180 while in the straps.
Wave sailing, and jumping, is always risky on your ankles and knees, especially if you make tactical mistakes, like you did.
Never attempt landing nose first, at your skill level. The pros can do whatever, they've sailed in waves for dozens of years. Nose first leads to the hardest landings you'll ever try.
Sending it while going fast and not knowing what's gonna happen is just plain not smart. If you haven't landed 15' high jumps before, don't start doing it on a freeride board in the waves.
Wave boards are almost always sinkers. Your 84 is a little big, so be aware you can get hurt doing aerials on such a big board. Too much leverage against YOU.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14226

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zirtaeb wrote:
Booties are fine. I and dozens of surfsailors wear booties in the waves ... Set straps screws closer together, make the straps an inch taller than your instep. That way, you can twist your foot a full 180 while in the straps.

Thus begins the lack of consensus, if not downright disagreement, I mentioned above. Adjusting our straps higher but narrower just alters which direction of twist we're vulnerable to. Footstrap-related Lisfranc injuries can happen in any twisting fall on a constrained forefoot, whether forward, rotating about the axis of the lower leg, or rotating about the axis of the foot. Lisfranc is the severest foot injury our straps can cause, likely to cripple us permanently if not diagnosed and treated by a Lisfranc expert (you were fortunate), but even a "simple" ankle sprain can end a season and have lifelong impact. It behooves us to choose the perfect straps, adjust them perfectly, and never crash with our feet trapped in them.

Good luck wid dat. Specifying what adjustments are best requires knowing how we will fall in our next hard fall and our next few thousand falls.

Good luck wid DAT, too.

Read some of the previous threads, choose your poison, and keep your fingers crossed. I'm keeping my straps adjusted about the way they always have been, simply because they've never cost me any lost time ... yet. HOW mine are adjusted isn't important, because I've probably just been lucky, and Lisfranc is still pretty rare. I crash very often and often hard, but I never have and never will try Stupid Spinning Tricks, for the same reason I never (deliberately) looped my desert racing motorcycles. My ankles are screwed badly enough just from childhood sprains, so there's no way I'm going to deliberately add to my risk of destroying my feet just for giggles I can get some other way.

Make sure your surgeon follows your progress properly. Because soft tissue injuries are involved, X-rays alone are seldom sufficient to evaluate a new or a healing Lisfranc injury.

Mike \m/
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 5830

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a lot of risk sticking your feet deep in the straps. Nothing makes me feel more nervous than that. While many won't agree, particularly diehard wavesailors, it's my position that you should only insert your feet into the straps to the ball of your foot. That way you've got the power and snugness of the strap right at the balls of your feet, and you can almost always get your feet out quickly. The downside to my position is that your feet are a bit farther from the board's centerline, but I think that you can overcome much of the problem through your technique.
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2396

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Should we target on one specific advice, or should we read the entire thread, and every part of each posts?
Coupled wth narrower spread, so your foot can stay out and still retain control in the air, is the part of the SMALLER board. The notion of SMALLER board is not one you should ignore. Like snowboards without releaseable bindings, a smaller windsurfing board for wave riding can alieviate the problem of twisting in the straps. I will assume you know why.
And modern wave boards account for a wider than old style spread of stance.
And I can't spell worth beans.
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2396

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, in review....
Strap adjustment which keeps your foot out a bit (narrower screw settings).
Smaller board for less leverage against YOU.
Wider spread of stance to give you MORE leverage over the board.
Keep wave fins as small as possible. Most 150 lbs'ers use 8" long.
In the event of a crash, hold onto booms, bend your knees, either get BOTH feet out, or leave both feet IN.
A man's got's to know his limitations.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14226

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zirtaeb wrote:
1. Should we target on one specific advice, or should we read the entire thread, and every part of each posts?

2. your foot can stay out and still retain control in the air

3. Strap adjustment which keeps your foot out a bit (narrower screw settings).
4. A man's got's to know his limitations.

1. If I'd already had one Lisfranc, I might do just that.

2. One foot out concentrates the board's entire torque into the other foot's small, exquisite, weak, one- or two-pound, complex assembly of tiny bones and ligaments, rather than the big, powerful, triangle of 75-100 pounds of huge muscles and bones provided by both feet in. ANY time -- especially in the air -- my back foot comes out when I'm not totally in control of the entire board, I focus every shred of my consciousness into one task: getting and maintaining 100% control of the board, getting it back on the water with 100% certainty of its path for the next two seconds, and dropping my entire carcass into the water before anything can go wrong. I can think of no other common scenario in my whole life that would increase the likelihood of a Lisfranc injury more than giving my board free access to a strapped-in front foot when I'm not in full control. Given the rarity of surgeons who know to diagnose and treat them, their high risk of very significant permanent impairment even in expert hands, and my love of sports, there's no way in hell I'm going to knowingly discard that magic, powerful, triangle just to show off; I like windsurfing too much. That's almost as ignorant AND stupid as looping motorcycles.

3. My feet have a "waist"; they're narrower at midpoint than at the ball of my foot. A couple of jumps with narrow screw spacing and my front foot is jammed forward and locked in there by side pressure. I shiver just thinking about it.

4. And his priorities. Mine include staying healthy enough to keep on sailing until something I CAN'T control ends it. These "No Fear" dudes (most women have more sense) who willingly tear up soft tissues to show off don't realize how much that will bite them in the ass by middle age. I quit sailing winds gusting towards the 60s after almost destroying a knee directly because a back foot came out in uncontrollable conditions ... twice, once on each knee years apart. The extra fun's not worth the extra risk to me. In the Spanish-to-English Fictionary, "macho" means "stupid".
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mchaco1



Joined: 08 Sep 2010
Posts: 643

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im my short quest for jumps that included a variety of boards and crashes, I think Ive found a few things that seem relevant...
1. Big boards control you, small boards are controlled by you.. My 140L board with outboard straps feels like it has the leverage to get mt in trouble if I land a bit wrong, the small center strap boards feel like I will tumble and crash if I land wrong, but that ill probably come out ok.

2. Secure tight straps feel safer than loose slippery ones... your feet might comeout easier in loose slippery ones, but with the control you loose and the possibility of slipping out when you need that control crashes are more likely and will be worse for the foot that didnt slip out. They shouldnt be jammed in tight, but you should feel snug and secure.

3. test them.. before I go out on a new setup I always wedge my feet in good and tight and make sure that they can pivot out both ways and over the top, painfully is ok, as long as they do come out and there is no point where they lock up. If there is a point where they lock in, something will have to give. I adjust them to get as much of my foot in right before they start locking up. In all my high speed crashes so far (many many of them) I have yet to so much as twist an ankle.
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