Weak/Rolling Ankles as an English Rider - Page 2

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Weak/Rolling Ankles as an English Rider

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    01-23-2014, 05:43 PM
Livelovelaughride beat me to most of them lol. I will disagree and bout the calf raises though. That was one of my PT exercises for my ankle. I did them 3 different ways. Toes pointed out, toes pointed in, and toes pointing forward. Another one (that I hated) is you stand on a step, put one foot out in front of you and then bend the knee of the foot that's on the step until the heel of the other foot touches the ground. So it's almost as if you are going to step down but you just touch your heel to the floor and then come back up. When you do this one you want to make sure to keep your hips level. The last one is you stand on one foot (as if you were going to be hopping) and rotate back and forth. You want the twisting motion to be coming from your ankle. You may want to use a table or chair back to balance while doing this one. Good luck!
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    01-23-2014, 06:44 PM
Green Broke
As a free gift for purchasing a thinline saddle pad, I also got a pair of thinline "stirrup wraps" than have wedges. You put the wedge-shaped piece of plastic above the rubber pads where your feet go, wrap the thinline material around them, and lace it up on the bottom. I have yet to use them and the wedge is only about 1/4" thick I would guess, but I wonder if something like that would help or be more of a crutch...
    01-23-2014, 07:00 PM
Originally Posted by DuckDodgers    
As a free gift for purchasing a thinline saddle pad, I also got a pair of thinline "stirrup wraps" than have wedges. You put the wedge-shaped piece of plastic above the rubber pads where your feet go, wrap the thinline material around them, and lace it up on the bottom. I have yet to use them and the wedge is only about 1/4" thick I would guess, but I wonder if something like that would help or be more of a crutch...

Hmm....I don't know enough about them to call it a crutch, and I'm sure someone with real skeletal issues may benefit from them? I'm intrigued now and may just have to go do some research! Anyone else seen/worked with these?

Don't think I would opt to use them as I would like to work through this issue first if possible. Little frustrated with myself because it's not like I'm new to riding, I've been in this sport 16 years, and while it's been maybe four years since I did serious work in an English saddle I didn't expect this.
    01-23-2014, 11:30 PM
Hi Zeke, I should have clarified my words a little. I was taught not to jam the heels down, but let my weight sink naturally in the heel. As for the majority of the ball of the foot - the weight should be mostly balanced, with a little more on the ball or "evenly" across the foot. You describe what I was doing some time ago--placing your weight on the outside of the foot.

The stabilizers of the ankle are small intrinsic muscles of the foot. The calf muscles are larger and aren't involved in such small adjustments. The calf (gastrocnemius) is responsible for pushing off on the foot as in rising up on your toes when your knee is straight. The gastroc attaches to the heel bone through the achilles tendon, and with your heels down, this muscle is being elongated as we ride, not contracted. The soleus muscle run alongside the gastroc and because it inserts below the knee joint, is probably more in use as we ride because our knees are bent --it would be in a static or isometric contraction.

I am just saying that using the bigger lower leg muscles may add to your overall lower leg gross strength, but for stability purposes, it is a re-learning your foot muscles need to do with the proprioceptors, in order for your ankle joint to become more stable.

Even towell crunches would be useful....place a towell on the floor in front of you, and sitting on a chair, pull and bunch the towell towards you until the towell is all under your feet. You'll be surprised how tiring this can be. Be well.
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    01-24-2014, 05:57 PM
Thank you for the clarification and words of advice livelovelaughride, I truly appreciate them!

I don't jam my heels down and completely understand what you mean about calf raises helping the large muscles but not defining the smaller ones for balance. That makes sense too. I must've tired these smaller muscles in my efforts to balance in the stirrups, something I'll definitely watch out for in the future!
    02-07-2014, 09:03 PM
Just an update in case anyone was wondering or can use this info in the future!

It's been a couple weeks and I haven't experienced as much pain as I was in during the lesson before I made this post. I have started routinely balancing on one leg while drawing the alphabet with the other foot and well as some calf raises. I also added walks on the beach barefoot to my fitness routine, talk about working out your lower legs. I walk on the hard pack as to not over stress my feet too much. Have to say I've been happy whether these changes to my day to day have helped.

Today I also decided to ride during my jump lesson in a pair of western boots that I've always loved riding in. I wore my half chaps on top to avoid problems with the saddles flaps and felt great! This means I will soon be on the hunt for a roomier, softer paddock boot to replace what I used in the other lessons I've taken recently.
    03-04-2014, 10:56 AM
I have weak ankles too and I get ankle pain so I take my feet out of the stirrups if it starts to hurt. But if the pain it going from the side of your foot, up your ankle, and possibly into your leg, its this long tendon that stretches there that you arent used to working. I had the same problem when my trainer had me do the same thing you're doing and I asked her about it and she said its pretty common. Just take a little break if you need to but after a few rides, one it gets strengthened, the pain should go away. That's what happened with me anyways.
    03-04-2014, 12:13 PM
Thanks Sparkoflife. I did some exercises to strengthen that muscle and definitely took breaks to roll my ankles during my lesson. I figured out that on top of an out of shape lower leg, since I took a couple years off doing any riding that required half seat/jump position, that my stiff and tight old paddock boots were partially to blame. When I switched to a roomier boot I was able to change my lower leg position into a more correct spot that didn't strain my muslces.
    03-12-2014, 09:51 PM
They have stirrups now that help with shock absorption and that can flex slightly to take away joint stress. I use them to help with the arthritis in my knees and they have made a difference. I'm not sure if they'd help in your case, but they might be worth a try.
    03-12-2014, 11:14 PM
Here's an easy one to do while watching tv. Get a piece of 2 x 6 or 2x8 a couple of feet long. Put on your riding boots and place the ball of your feet on the board and let the heels rest on the floor. I'll bet your bum is sticking out as you try to balance like this. Now comes the fun part, straighten your legs and pull your hips forward until you can stand nice and tall. You may need a wall to help you balance. Once upright you will feel the pull all the way up the back of your legs. If you can't straighten up do it in a rocking motion to stretch the muscles until you can but hold for only a few seconds. The goal is to be able to stand there as long as you wish. You will always feel the stretch but it won't be painful. When you can do this well, try it when mounted. This will test your balance. If your bum is tucked forward and back is straight you can do this even as the horse walks. Unless you fall off from laughing.

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