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Ankle problems while in two-point

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  • Ankle problems while in two-point

    In an effort to make it to my very first event this year, a friend and I have been hitting the trails and doing trot/canter sets with our horses. About halfway through the rides my ankles start to collapse, for lack of a better term. Basically the inside of my foot turns inward and all of my weight shifts to the outside of my ankle and calf. It's bearable at the trot but when I try to two point for more than a couple minutes I just about fall off, partially with pain but mostly because I just can't support myself.

    At this point I really don't know what the problem is. I walk normal and have no other problems with the ankle off of the horse.

    My position is decent, I know I need to work on keeping my weight more in my heels but the problem is so extreme that I can't imagine my position being that bad.

    Could my stirrups be the problem? I ride in just plain irons. My friends saddle has angled stirrups (not sure what they're really called) which I though would be very helpful for keeping my feet in the right postion but it actually ended up being much worse. I'm thinking about trying a pair like these http://www.doversaddlery.com/product...&ids=133596043, but again I'm not really sure what the problem is and if this would even help.

    I'm so ready to get out there and go but I get so frustrated when I can hardly hold myself at a canter. I know I'm probably not explaining myself really well here but I was hoping someone might have had a similar problem or has any advice about whether this sounds like a physical/conformation problem in my ankle/leg or if it's a tack or position issue. I just want to figure out what's going on so I can move on. Any ideas or suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks.

  • #2
    It's possible to just have very loose ligaments. I've sprained my ankles a total of 7 times (2 and 5), and have similar issues. One of those sprains actually occurred while cantering in two-point - the ankle just started to wobble and then flexed outward. A wrap or brace of some kind helps a huge amount, especially the Ace sock-type supports. They provide just enough support without inhibiting movement and they fit under a boot.


    • Original Poster

      See thats what I'm talking about. I don't know why I didn't think of a brace. What a great idea. I feel like that would help a lot.

      I have never actually sprained an ankle before. Thats why this is all so weird. My ankles always seemed solid before this although I did have some pain on the inside of both ankles when I was running cross country in HS.

      I'll definitely look at getting some kind of brace though. If anyone else has any ideas or insights please keep them coming. I need all the help I can get.


      • #4
        I had ankle surgery a couple years ago after spraining my ankle for the third time in a year (and doing so while jumping, not even falling off, just landing from the jump), and it took a long time for it to stop feeling sore from being in two-point for very long. Besides using support, the biggest help for me was general range-of-motion exercises and strengthening so that the muscles supporting the joint are strong. By doing such exercises on the ground and gradually increasing the amount of strain I expected my ankle to put up with, my tolerance for two-point became greater and greater so that it became the rest of my body, not my ankle, that got tired first. Things that my PT had me doing include standing on one foot, drawing the alphabet with my toe (for flexibility), using an exercise band for resistance exercises, etc.

        Some people like the flexible stirrups for their knees and ankles; I have found that they make my ankles feel worse because they provide a less stable platform (making my ankle work harder to stay still) and encourage overflexing the ankles when you drop your weight down in your heel. That's just my experience, though; it might be worth it to try em before you buy em.

        I think it's important to not overstress your ankles or try to push yourself too much too quickly. I think that's how I ended up needing surgery - I didn't properly strengthen my ankles back to pre-sprain status before going xc schooling, and the left one wasn't able to handle the stress of a somewhat awkward jump and landing. If you have that feeling of instability and inability to maintain position, you are putting yourself at risk of injury and you are not doing yourself any favors - I found myself pinching with my knees and doing other things to take pressure off my ankles, which is counterproductive to building the right muscle memory and strength for proper position. Gradually building up time and terrain spent in two-point will allow your muscles to strengthen so that they can properly stabilize your ankle.

        No expert, just the owner of trick ankles.
        The plural of anecdote is not data.
        Eventing Yahoo In Training


        • #5
          i have EXTREMELY loose ankles and such. like, my feet can literally pop off if i move them wrong, which i find hilarious though painful.
          the biggest thing that has helped me and my ankle-sore friends is wide track stirrups. personally, i prefer the EquiWing brand but that's just because they make chrome ones and i'm a traditionalist lol. i find they give your foot more support, which in turn helps your ankles.
          Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.


          • #6
            Totally forgot about this last night - If you want a great easy way to strengthen your ankles, pick up some Resistabands

            Riders have nothing on ballerinas for needing to keep their legs strong . I've used the exercises from the book plus other ones that my dance teacher showed me.


            • #7
              My ankles do the same thing. I have to drop my stirrups and roll them a couple times after they've just quit on me. I've sprained them a bunch and have always had problems with them.

              I got my tall boots a bit big in the ankle to hide a wrap or support underneath. Helps a lot for those long days in the saddle, especially at shows or going cross country. I usually know if I'm having a bad ankle day and make sure to put it on. I also use the flexi stirrups, but mostly in equitation because I could fake the lower heel without really torquing my ankle. I still use them on my jumping saddle.
              http://thoughtfulequestrian.blogspot.com - My Ventures Into Eventing


              • #8
                There is actually another position for cross country that is a little safer and will keep your ankles from hurting. It's a little bit hard to get the hang of, but once it clicks it makes your ride much more enjoyable, safer, and extends your energy for the duration of the course.

                First you shorten your sturrips a few holes (this also depends on your level.. I know you said it will be your first event and it is usually more comfortable at first to do just a hole or two, but I wasn't really able to get the position to work until I shortened my sturips up a bit!). I usually do mine about 4 because that is what is comfortable for me. Then you slide your foot into the "home" position. In the home position your foot is all the way in the sturip up to the heel of your boot. This is safer because it gives you more stability even though it feels completely wrong and weird at first!! This also helps keep you out of the horses mouth when you get tired. The body position for this is like a more upright jumping position. Your legs will be almost straight putting your seat several inches above the saddle (depending on the length of your sturips of course!) Your shoulders will be more upright as well, maintaining a good center of balance. I was tought, at first, to hold on to the breast plate until you establish good balance so if you fall back you do not try to catch yourself and end up jerking on your horse.

                I hope this is helpful!!

                Here is a link that may help you out some too.

                No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.
                - Winston Churchill


                • #9
                  I'm in the same boat ... I also do the exercises off the horse and it seems to help, plus I take some supplements to counteract any cramping or anything that comes along with it
                  My blog
                  Follow me along my eventing journey! Complete with mishaps

                  Vegas! 'Nuff said.


                  • #10
                    I have torn the ligaments in my right ankle several times and I have screws and a plate in the left one. The best thing that I have found is to hike my stirrups up to jockey length (or basically as short as I can stand them) and do my trot sets and gallops in that position. This serves to strengthen my weak one and work on the flexibility in the one with the hardware.


                    • #11
                      My ankles do exactly the same thing and it is so incredibly painful! I've done a ton of work trying to gradually strengthen them, etc, but it seems like it's really more of a locking that happens when they roll out like that and there is NOTHING you can do!

                      I absolutely found relief with the flexi-stirrups...there is a really basic model for about $50 that works great for me. I also shortened my stirrups a few more holes than I had been and that gives me a more stable platform. With the flexi stirrups, I can go for about 45 minutes with shorter stirrups doing flatwork or jumping compared to 10 or less with the normal stirrups...give them a try!
                      Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Inc


                      • Original Poster

                        Thank, ya'll so much for all the responses. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has problems with it. I'll have to start playing with my stirrup length and position and see what works best.

                        Echo that is exactly how it is for me. If it does get to that point the ride is basically over. And it does hurts really bad. Hopefully I can find something that really works for me. It's taken me long enough to work up the nerve to actually go out xc and now I can hardly canter for 5 minutes. Sigh.


                        • #13
                          This question actually gets asked a fair amount - probably about every 3-6 months or so. So you are definitely not alone.

                          When I first started jumping, it literally felt like my calf bones were rolling off the top of my ankle. The pain was incredible. I talked to a friend of mine who is a personal trainer and she told me to tighten the ligaments that support the joint. Basically while sitting push against a fixed object so while sitting at my desk I would push the outside of my foot against the desk leg.

                          I also rode with angled stirrup pads.

                          It took about 2-3 months but everything is fine now and my ankles can outlast the other aches in my body during extended time in two point.


                          • #14
                            Has anyone ever tried orthotics in their boots?

                            I don't ride enough to have a problem, but every couple years I face plant on the sidewalk because my ankle just drops out from under me. I'm sitting here with a brand new shiny aircast on my foot due to ankle tendonitis. The doc recommended orthotics to keep me sound. Expensive, but better than randomly falling while crossing a street.

                            The PT exercises with the bands help too.
                            Visit my Spoonflower shop


                            • #15
                              the right stirrups make a big difference

                              After I broke my ankle, I found that certain stirrups made all the difference these are what worked for me


                              • #16
                                how are you positioning your foot on the stirrup?
                                if you can draw a line on this foot
                                chaque pas est fait ensemble


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by midkniggit View Post
                                  It's possible to just have very loose ligaments. I've sprained my ankles a total of 7 times (2 and 5), and have similar issues. One of those sprains actually occurred while cantering in two-point - the ankle just started to wobble and then flexed outward. A wrap or brace of some kind helps a huge amount, especially the Ace sock-type supports. They provide just enough support without inhibiting movement and they fit under a boot.
                                  ditto. I like the Futuro splint available at CVS. Going brace-less: I do better in tall zip up boots than in paddock boots. With my bum ankles I no longer try to wrestle out of pull on boots. I have also done better since switching to the Sprenger irons with the offset eye.
                                  Providence Farm


                                  • #18
                                    I recently took on a student who had this problem with one ankle. I noticed that even off the horse her ankle was weak. She got orthotics. HUGE improvement.
                                    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!