This week's column:
Do I Have to Get on My Outside Edges?
Nov. 16, 2011
Hi, Bill: I have been a long distance inline skater for several years. Recently, I moved from 84mm recreational skates to 100mm low-cut speed skates. I have read many articles about the importance of setting down the recovery foot on the outside edge, and I can understand the importance of this for skaters who double push. But I don't double push. And when I try to set down on my outside edges, my foot tends to collapse in the supinated position and the outside of my ankles hurt like crazy after an hour of skating. Please enlighten me. - Ewen in Singapore.
Hi, Ewen: No matter what kind of push you have, you will be a better skater if you learn to get on your outside wheel edges. One of the keys of proper skate technique is the transfer of body weight over the support leg. This weight transfer adds power to your stroke and helps you maintain forward momentum.
To accomplish this weight transfer, your support leg must come under your body after your setdown. And to do this, your wheels must be on their outside edges. If not, your ankle will collapse inward (pronate). This is a weak position, which doesn't provide the support you need to transfer your body weight.
This is true whether you double push or simply push to the side. Many pro women do not double push due to the larger Q-angle (angle between the hips and knees) of the female form. (See discussion of Q angle.)
Nonetheless, all pro women get on their outside edges. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t get enough roll to keep up.
Skaters who pronate and skaters with flat feet often have a hard time getting on their outside edges. This can often be corrected by inserting wedges, or packers, above the frames to tilt the wheels inward. (See Bill’s column on wedges.) If that doesn’t work, a podiatrist or other foot expert should be able to help.
It can be difficult to learn to get on your outside edges. But keep trying. Once you do, you will experience the full rhythm and float of your skates.