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Weak/Rolling Ankles as an English Rider

This is a discussion on Weak/Rolling Ankles as an English Rider within the Rider Wellness forums, part of the The Horse Forum Community category

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        03-23-2014, 11:18 PM
      #21
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zeke    
    Has anyone else suffered from an ankle that hurts along the outside, think right above that circle bone projection on the outside of your foot, and makes putting weight on the outside edge of your foot seem impossible? I suffered through the workout as much as I could and when I got off had slight trouble walking. If I didn't concentrate on keeping my weight to the inside as I took a step my ankle would practically collapse and roll to the outside. I'm sure I could conjure up a diagram if need be, sorry lol!
    A similar thing (but without subsequent ankle rolling) happens to me when I spend an extended time riding in short stirrups, posting or sitting. The outside of the ankle starts to hurt and dismounting produces a short interval of sharp pain. I have very strong ankles from extended walking and mountain climbing, and they are very resistant to rolling, so maybe that's why I don't roll, but there is the urge to take weight off the outside of the foot until the pain stops. I wonder if in part it's a muscle cramp (in the muscles of the foot) / blood circulation thing, because it resolves quickly with gentle movement.

    Because this is unpleasant, I don't usually ride with short stirrups. Long gives a deeper seat anyway, and I don't bother shortening up for trails. Another idea: If you find your ankles getting even slightly uncomfortable, drop them out of the stirrups and make circles with your feet; this helps nip it in the bud. On long trails rides, this is one of many good reasons to periodically get off when your horse is walking, and walk with it. Improved circulation for you, and for your horse's back; both of you will be much refreshed after a 2-5 minute break like this, and ride more comfortably. My gelding likes to play games when we do this - like having me pick up a stick that he can take off me and walk around with in his mouth!
         
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        03-23-2014, 11:34 PM
      #22
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by livelovelaughride    
    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.
    Great post by LLLR! One other thing some people may find useful to get more even weight distribution across the ball of the foot, rather than favouring the outside, is to ride in offset stirrup irons. These are designed for close-contact riding, and elevate the outside of your foot relative to the inside, so that your leg physically hugs closer to the horse. The elevation of the outside of the foot actually (for me anyway) means the inside of the ball of the foot naturally gets more contact with the stirrup. This also makes you less likely to lose stirrups.

    Take care not to mount offsets with the slope facing the wrong way - the outside of the foot is supposed to be elevated by them!
         
        03-23-2014, 11:36 PM
      #23
    Trained
    I would actually look at other things too.

    Look at the shoes/boots you're wearing. Could they be pressing on your ankles on the bone causing the problem? Do you have another set of boots you could wear for a ride to test?

    The ballet suggestion was a great one. Releves are your friend.

    These exercises are shown in their advanced form, so I wouldn't go as high or arch your foot as much (you can seriously hurt your foot overdoing it), but here's the basic idea: dance.net - 3 exercises to strengthen arches, ankles and feet...ANIMATED! (2211620) - Read article: Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop, Tap, Irish, Disco, Twirling, Cheer: Photos, Chat, Games, Jobs, Events!
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        03-26-2014, 12:38 AM
      #24
    Yearling
    This may be a long shot, but do you have everyday foot problems, like a flat foot or your ankles falling to the inside when you walk? Take your thumb and push it as far back to your wrist as you can get it to go. If your close to your wrist, it means you have a flexible wrist, which in turn means you have flexible ankles, which would cause the weakness. Proper inserts will help this problem, and I would think would help strengthen the right parts of your ankle. Just make sure the inserts are nice and hard, not soft, when you buy them.

    Best thing would be to visit a podiatrist. I learned a lot.
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        03-27-2014, 10:15 PM
      #25
    Yearling
    Thanks for all the new replies guys! Hope they can help others.

    I discovered that the pain was pretty much eliminated when I switched boots. When I experienced the pain I was wearing an old stiff pair of paddock boots that I bought on consignment. They pushed against my ankle bone on the outside of my foot causing me to not be able to keep the width of the ball of my foot in the stirrup. Switching to my trusty Tony Lama Ropers fixed all issues with weight distribution in my foot because they didn't cause me pain!

    I love longer stirrups, and have been riding primarily western for the last couple of years so long stirrups and these western boots were fine. Since I'm trying to get back into jumping, too much length in the stirrup isn't something I want to have to jump to first.

    So glad this ended up being a boot issue and not actually a skeletal/muscular thing entirely. I've been doing some of the suggestions here as well just for future precaution.
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        03-30-2014, 10:15 PM
      #26
    Yearling
    DA guessed correctly! Wow, just your boots made that much difference! Glad you're sorted!
         

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