Ankle Issues..How to fix without causing more problems? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-09-2012, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Ankle Issues..How to fix without causing more problems?

After three years of a break I am finally getting back to riding at a new barn with a new instructor. Today I had my second lesson and I was rediscovering my posting trot. About fifteen minutes in, my right ankle started spazzing a little bit, wobbling back and forth from sticking my toe out to forcing it forward. I have always had bad ankles but I think the real problem came from my old instructor.
Years ago, my problem was that my feet stuck out almost perpendicular to the horse. I eventually mastered this problem and the opposite extreme was acheived- my toes pointed perfectly straight (as my instuctor wanted them). Now my new instructor is saying that this creates an unnatural position, with my leg becoming bow-legged in the saddle- my knees sticking out somewhat and my toes pointing perfectly forward and giving me the appearance of wrapping my legs around the horse. She suggested that I reposition my foot so that it rested diagonally through the stirrup and I have to admit that this felt much better. But after a few minutes of riding my right ankle still became weak and floppy, probably because of fifteen minutes of riding bowlegged!
Has anyone else had this problem? And are there any exercises that would help strengthen my ankles? Thanks!
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-09-2012, 07:00 PM
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Plant your toes on the bottom step at your house and raise yourself up and down from your toes. It helps strengthen your ankles and calves. The most important things are to not go down too far and to keep your toes facing straight.

I find it's easy to do five reps maybe 3 times a day when I happen to be on the stairs.

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post #3 of 7 Old 06-09-2012, 07:25 PM
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Sad to report that due to it being not only an ankle issue, but a position issue, you just need to keep on riding it out.

It doesn't hurt to do some general exercising though, because that will help you with anything in the long run.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-09-2012, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both! Hope I can get this sorted out soon!
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-09-2012, 09:11 PM
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Actually OP the boots you wear to ride, do they support your ankle?

I have ankle issues too and mine give them stability on and off saddle. That's something to look at too.

You'll figure it out :)

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-09-2012, 10:14 PM
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supportive boots feel so nice at a time like this.

You'll find it gets easier.

Spend a lot of time balancing on one foot or the other to strengthen the small muscles in your lower leg and foot. Every time you come to a standstill,like waiting in a line or washing dishes or? stand on one foot and balance as long as you can, and line up your upper body nicely, as if you were in the saddle.
once you get good at this, stand on one leg and reach down with the opposite hand and touch the floor and come back up, without touching down with the other foot. Do ten reps each side.
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-17-2012, 12:24 PM
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Welcome, Equine!

I have a similar toes stick out too far to the sides, & they never used to do that..I sort of think my trainer is wanting them facing straight forward, as your old trainer conditioned you to do...however, I agree with your new trainer that it DOES seem to create a somewhat unnatural position to point the toes completely parallel to the horses side...

Because my NATURAL leg/hip position is the opposite of bowlegged, I feel all that forcing of my toes perfectly straight, especially around a large barreled horse, and only being 5'1" myself, causes a lot of trouble naturally gripping with my upper inner thighs. Something for me to think about, and talk to my trainer about. So glad you brought it up! :0)

I tend to think YOUR problem WILL BE OVERCOME with increased time in the saddle and strengthening the healed portion of your ankle post-operatively. That can take some time since all of the connections in the ankle that were cut or torn and repaired are new connections, and thus you are creating a whole new set of muscles to work in tandem, just as a never ridden on ankle would be experiencing...I realize I did a crappy job of explaining that, been up all night at work..apologies!

My point is that you should try not to get frustrated or to push that ankle too hard..if it is getting wobbly after 15", that is your body telling you that your ankle has done all it can for that session. Perhaps at that point, you could do no-stirrup work out something else to relax the junction of the ankle? I imagine, with continued riding and if you employ the exercises mentioned by Tiny and others, you will find that each time you ride, you can go a bit longer without wobbling in that ankle! I'm sure your trainer knows you aren't being disagreeable but just need more time to build that ankle slowly! :0)

Best of luck to you!

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