Aching stiff ankle when I ride? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 01-15-2011, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Aching stiff ankle when I ride?

Hi guys!

For the past few months whenever I ride, my right ankle starts throbbing and aching, starting at the tendon around my ankle and going all the way up to the side of my calf. It's been getting worse, and it's extremely inconvenient because I have absolutely no use of my right leg once the pain kicks in. I can't even force it down because it almost feels as if its locked/jammed. I have tried stretching it out but it doesn't seem to make any difference...Has anyone else had this problem? If so what was it and how did you fix it?

I really need to get it checked out, but with school and what-not I really don't have time at the moment. It's just so frustrating because after the first 15 minutes of the ride I can't to anything with my right leg, ugh! Oh, and if this makes a difference, a few years back when I was little I noticed it vaguely aching but I didn't think much of it at the time...

Any ideas? Thanks!
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-15-2011, 09:51 PM
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Get stirrup turners (western saddle) and it will go away. It sounds as if you are fighting the leather for position. Your ankle is losing. Stirrup swivels cost around $25/pair and make a huge difference in your ankle/knee/hip flex points. Good Luck!
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post #3 of 14 Old 01-15-2011, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm...but wouldn't it be on both ankles then? And I ride English...but I do have flex-y stirrups, you know those shock absorbing ones.

Thank you!
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post #4 of 14 Old 01-15-2011, 10:14 PM
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Same thing happens to me! Except, it's usually my left but can be the right or both. I'm interested to see what some people say. (I ride english)
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post #5 of 14 Old 01-15-2011, 10:29 PM
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No idea what it could be. I have crappy joints for various reasons and for the past few days my left ankle has been bothering me. After I rode today it was really sore and stiff. I was talking to my trainer about it and she told me I should get some emu oil to put on it. She said it helps her with her joints. I forgot to get some on the way home so I haven't tried it but I thought I'd put that out there.
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post #6 of 14 Old 01-15-2011, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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I'll have to see about that!
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post #7 of 14 Old 01-15-2011, 10:58 PM
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It is honestly just the way you struggle against your leathers. I have had this problem for years. You end up putting a lot of weight on the outside of your foot (think pinky toe) in order to keep your toes forward and your heels down. This process stretches the outside tendon in your ankle joint area. The combination of trying to keep toes forward, heels down and posting from your lower leg instead of thigh/core makes it burn after about 10 minutes. Once your stirrup swivels freely, you have one less thing to fight against and the muscle can develop on its own without forcing it into an uncomfortable position.
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post #8 of 14 Old 01-15-2011, 11:03 PM
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When I ride with a tight-ish stirrup, my left ankle aches horribly ever since I sprained it last January. It was so bad I was out of school for 4 days plus the weekend between day 3 and 4. It left a huge amount of scar tissue in my ankle/heel, which will increase my chances of getting gout when I'm older (yay ). And like you, I had always had discomfort in my ankle.

Its gotten a lot better over the past year, but I found that in the earlier stages, sometimes it helped to let the stirrups down a hole, or just take my feet out of the stirrups altogether. Granted this isn't the cure all, and definately a temporary fix to the ankle pain. Did you have an ankle/leg injury that you could think of in the past few months that may have increased the strain on your right ankle?
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post #9 of 14 Old 01-15-2011, 11:54 PM
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I would advise that you take a closer look at the boots you are riding in.

That is the problem an awful lot of the time, rather than the stirrups.

Many people, not saying this is case here, will try a boot or shoe on with whatever foot they happen to grab from the box, instead of making sure they are trying boot on same side as dominant hand.

If you are right handed? Measure right foot, and try right shoe or boot on. If you are left handed, left foot gets measured or the shoe or boot.

The dominant side foot will almost always be larger. Might not be more than a 1/4 of an inch, but that is more than enough to make your feet, ankles and knees ache. And in some cases, when I sold shoes years ago. There could be a whole size difference. Most generally it is 1/2 size though.

There will be a few exceptions to this rule, but when you sell "good, expensive shoes" you are taught this right at first.

And it could also be the pants you are riding in. I don't know whether you are in jeans, or breeches or jods.

But jeans are mostly made overseas now, and the whole emphasis on overseas good, is to make them as cheap as they can. If that means cutting material off of the grain, or across bias, they will do it many times.

Then when the garment is sewn? The fabric pulls your legs and bones slightly out of whack. To see what I am talking about? Take a pair of your jeans and hold them up, and see how straight, (or not) the legs hang, and if they twist one way or the other. Most will. Same with jods and breeches if made overseas.

And could be your undergarments, or the waistband constricting your blood flow on that side more too.

When you take off your boots, pants, undergarments, run your hand over the lines any of those might have left, and feel for soreness.

If your boots are genuine leather? You can wet newspaper and stuff it tightly into the boot or shoe. Or you can use plain alcohol, and take a washcloth and get it wet, and use it to dampen the inside of the leather, and then wear the boot until it dries, either of these methods will stretch the leather and may give you relief.

Or a shoe shop can do it also for a small price.

And try on boots at end of day, when feet are swollen too, as will be bigger then.

Another thing, if you are an adult and have had children, or you have gained weight, or just aged period, yet are still buying the same size shoe as you wore in HS or college? You need to have your feet measured, as all of those things will cause you to need bigger shoes. And a too small shoe can cause major problems and make you miserable.

It may be the saddle or stirrups, but I would sure take a look at the footwear you ride it too.
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post #10 of 14 Old 01-16-2011, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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Wow thank you for all of the replies! Corino-that definitely makes sense, I'll have to look into that

A Knack-never had any problems/injuries before

Palomine-I'm actually only in my mid teens, and am left handed Oh, and I ride in breeches and ariat field boots. I'm definitely going to look into what you're talking about, I've never heard about that...very informative btw so thank you!

In the mean time my parents are trying to find some time to schedule a trip to the doctor to make sure there is nothing medically wrong with it.

Thanks a bunch guys!
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