Heels Hurt Horribly When They're Properly Down? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 09-24-2019, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Heels Hurt Horribly When They're Properly Down?

For the past 5ish lessons (last two weeks) I've had proper heels during riding. But when I do this, my entire foot and lower calf start to burn. They ache. It feels like someone is squeezing my ankles while cutting into them with a hot, dull knife. It hurt so much once that my left foot became dead weight and fell out of the stirrup. When I dismount, my ankles hurt like my thighs after a no stirrup lesson. But worse. I've started to have a limp after I dismount. I've tried stretching it out before riding and after. It just makes it hurt more. Should I go see a doctor about this, to make sure nothing's wrong or is this like a speedbump? Is it common?

I'm aware that my body is getting used to doing something unnatural for it, but my body is fairly resilient. I wouldn't be worried if it was just an ache. This is full-blown pain.

This whole horse girl phase wasn't supposed to last this long... oh well.

Last edited by Pelhams-and-Snaffles; 09-24-2019 at 10:20 PM.
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post #2 of 14 Old 09-24-2019, 10:53 PM
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It isnít very common to have your calves and feet in so much pain from putting your heels down. I would say it is probably from a lack of flexibility in your calves and probably will get lighter the more often you stretch your heels down until it isnít there anymore. I canít be sure of this though and it probably wouldnít hurt to see a doctor just to make sure nothing is wrong. Hopefully that helps.
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post #3 of 14 Old 09-24-2019, 11:21 PM
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Do you often where high heels when not riding?
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post #4 of 14 Old 09-24-2019, 11:27 PM
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Are your boots or half chaps pinching you at the ankles? Because it sounds suspiciously like an equipment problem, not a body problem.

I ask this because I remember what it was like when I was breaking in new paddock boots two years ago. It was like that. I remedied it by absolutely lathering them in Oakwood conditioner and letting it all soak in, then also making sure I didn't lace them anywhere near as tight for future rides.
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post #5 of 14 Old 09-25-2019, 01:29 AM
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Never heard anyone complain about this before. Perhaps as tee zee questioned, your muscles are over tight from how you normally are - high heels or such. Perhaps lack of magnesium in your diet has caused you to be overly 'stiff'. Perhaps you're putting too much weight on your feet &/or exaggerating heels down way much - heels only need be just lower than toes, not at a huge angle.
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post #6 of 14 Old 09-25-2019, 02:17 AM
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I would say that you are being told to keep your heels down way to low. This causes tension through the ankle, knee and hip.

Watch this video for a good explanation,

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post #7 of 14 Old 09-25-2019, 06:58 AM
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^sstupppid glitch fone can't see vid but ttthatt. Still pc above - ouch! Imagine anything like that ridiculous flex wud cue pain! Ssoory bout. Speeelllinhg
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post #8 of 14 Old 09-25-2019, 08:24 AM Thread Starter
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I am breaking in paddock boots, technically, but they're mostly stretched out. The area around my toes and the joint between the foot and ankle are pretty well broken in. But I'll try riding in my other boots on Friday, just so see if that is what it is.

My instructor used to do Hunter/Jumper, so she has some pretty...intense expectations of heels down. It could be because during half-seat she has me put my heels all the way down, otherwise, they tend to be pretty neutral.

This whole horse girl phase wasn't supposed to last this long... oh well.
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post #9 of 14 Old 09-25-2019, 11:05 AM
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I was thinking the same on the exaggerated, forced angle, but also coupled with the lack of flexibility. I ride western, used to force my heels down hard, and kept my stirrups too short (Probably at English length) and it killed my legs, my knees, my feet, and caused sudden, crippling cramps which started in the ball of my foot and ran right up to my bootius maximus. Talk about hard to handle a go-y horse when your butt-tocks are seizing up with a softball sized charlie horse!


When I let my stirrups out to the proper length and let my heels rest at a more natural heels-down angle, I eliminated a LOT of the pain and cramping. I'd say about 95%... the rest is from being fat... and having low potassium.
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post #10 of 14 Old 09-25-2019, 12:08 PM
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Heels down has very little to do with good riding. To the extent it helps, it ONLY helps if the degree of down is natural for your leg. If it hurts, it is wrong. If an instructor is obsessed with it, she is a bad instructor.

Get the rest of your position and balance right and the heels will follow - to the degree your body allows. They are a symptom, not a cause. Get the causes fixed and the symptom will go away. Otherwise it is like gluing your nose shut when you have a cold...

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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