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Ankle pain when heel is down--will flex stirrups help?

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  • Ankle pain when heel is down--will flex stirrups help?

    Recently I've noticed that when I have been riding for about 20 minutes, especially if I've ridden in two-point or half-seat, my ankles start to really hurt about one finger width behind the bottom of the tibia. I thought it might be something with the angle of my foot, but I've changed my foot position and stirrup length to no avail. Has anyone had the same problem? What did you do to help it? Will riding in flex stirrups instead of a regular steel fillis iron help at all?
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

    Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
    Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

  • #2
    I found that my jointed stirrup irons helped a lot with my extreme ankle pain. So did do exercises to strengthen my ankles.
    Proud owner of a member of the Formerly Limping And Still Majestic Equine Society

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    • #3
      Is there pain anytime you stretch that part of your leg? Could be some stiffness or a sore muscle is causing tightness that is resulting in the pain.
      Equestrian Photography

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      • #4
        I might be apt to try the flexi-Royal Riders. The wider footbed takes a lot of pressure off the joints because it spreads out the weight through a wider area of distribution. I have the regular ones that aren't flexi and I've seen a huge improvement in my knees, even when I ride multiple ones a day.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by IBWmassage View Post
          Is there pain anytime you stretch that part of your leg? Could be some stiffness or a sore muscle is causing tightness that is resulting in the pain.
          No, the only time that it hurts is when my weight has been down in my heel for about 20 minutes (which is why I first tried adjusting my foot position, weight distribution, and stirrup length.) This only started occurring about 2 months ago--no injury.
          "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

          Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
          Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 2LeftHooves View Post
            I found that my jointed stirrup irons helped a lot with my extreme ankle pain. So did do exercises to strengthen my ankles.
            I have ankle pain. What kind of exercises do you do? I'm trying the jointed ones tomorrow!!

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            • #7
              I had the SAME problem. It was excruciating! Sometimes it would be where you described, other times it would be in my aceles (sp?) tendon. I would wake up in the morning and couldn't walk down the stairs my ankles would be so stiff! I figured it MUST be my ankles.

              I finally went to see my chiropractor for other issues, and she pointed out various things wrong with me knees and hips. I have tibular torsion (I THINK that's what it's called?) so basically my knees point inward. But she also pointed out my hips were slightly off!

              So I have those specially made insoles for my daily shoes and my boots, and after a month or so I haven't had pain since! My knee's are still not correct, and in the end there was nothing wrong with my ankles, but just that correction made me pain-free for good .

              And I did try jointed stirrups, but mine were cheap and I dont think they worked very well. After a few falls off my last horse, I switched back to safety stirrups...and the pain didn't get worse.

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              • #8
                I have a friend who had the same pain you describe and ended up having small tears in her achilles' tendon.
                I know now, the place that I was trying to reach, was you, right here in front of me

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by anchorsaway View Post
                  I have a friend who had the same pain you describe and ended up having small tears in her achilles' tendon.
                  Great. Um. Want to tell me a little more about that? (She says, with an ice pack polo-wrapped to her ankle.) Specifically, how did that get diagnosed, how long of a recovery, and most importantly, how long did she have to ride without stirrups?
                  "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                  Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                  Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

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                  • #10
                    She'd been having pain in that area for sometime and went to have it looked at. However, as a kid her ankles had been taped in the irons to teach heels down along with other things that made my head spin.

                    However, she's also had numerous knee, back and hip(I believe) surgeries. I'm not sure how long she had to take off as after quite a few concussions, she very rarely rides anything more than short schooling rides.

                    Sorry I couldn't be of more help!
                    I know now, the place that I was trying to reach, was you, right here in front of me

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      I think you might have scared me into actually going to a doctor to get this checked out. That, and that for the first time it hurts outside of the saddle. Thanks for the update!
                      "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                      Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                      Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

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                      • #12
                        I'm one who haaates going to the doctor, so I can totally understand other people's reluctance to do so. However, I think this is a case where I think I would recommend it, because it came on suddenly, and didn't pass relatively quickly (I usually tell myself stuff like "if it's not better by Thursday, I'll make an appointment").

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                        • #13
                          When my ankles and lower leg began hurting.....I tried Glucosamine for myself and have been taking it for years. Purchased at Sam's. There was a "loading dose" but am now on maintenance of 2 tablets per day. Ankles don't hurt!
                          www.cricklewooddressage.com

                          Fiber Luxe Horse Blanket Cleaning and Repair

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                          • #14
                            typically when a rider complains of this I have them think about not the angle of the foot in the stirrup but if they are putting EQUAL weight across the ball of your foot. if it's the outside you "roll" your ankle out or putting extra weight on you little toe. If it's the inside you "roll" your ankle in or put more weight on your big toe.

                            The other thing I would look into is a possible sprain. there are tiny ligaments in your ankle area that cause similar pain that a little tape and physical therapy can fix


                            That said I love my flex stirrups. They helped my knee pain tons!

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                            • #15
                              I deal with this too and I found the best thing I could do outside of riding was STRETCHING. It seems simple and it is. I pay special attention to my hamstrings, calves and ankles. Check out this youtube page for good stretches: http://www.youtube.com/user/yogapol

                              I have found that stretching post ride, my HS stirrups, correct stirrup length and more time in the saddle greatly helps.

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by nlk View Post
                                if it's the outside you "roll" your ankle out or putting extra weight on you little toe. If it's the inside you "roll" your ankle in or put more weight on your big toe.
                                I'm 99% sure this is what causes my ankle pain when I ride. I have pretty weak ankles--sprained them each several times playing soccer in middle and high school. I also have a tendency to roll out when I walk--I think it's because I have fairly high arches, so my weight is distributed on the outside of my foot? But who knows...I'm pretty clueless about human foot anatomy!

                                I have the Dover knock-off Herm Springer flex stirrups and haven't really noticed a difference. But, my pain pretty much ceases when I get off--when I first jump off, I feel it in my ankles and knees but after I walk a few steps, it subsides. If your pain continues afterward, I'd be worried it might be something more serious (like others have mentioned).

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  NLK, thanks for mentioning the weight distribution thing. I paid special attention to it today when I was riding. My ankle still hurt afterward, though, even between that, a lot of no-stirrups work, and an ace wrap. Is there anything in the USEF rulebook saying I have to horse-show in the hunters with stirrups? Because if I can show without my irons, I'll go to the doctor.
                                  "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                                  Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                                  Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Ben and Me View Post
                                    I'm 99% sure this is what causes my ankle pain when I ride. I have pretty weak ankles--sprained them each several times playing soccer in middle and high school. I also have a tendency to roll out when I walk--I think it's because I have fairly high arches, so my weight is distributed on the outside of my foot? But who knows...I'm pretty clueless about human foot anatomy!

                                    I have the Dover knock-off Herm Springer flex stirrups and haven't really noticed a difference. But, my pain pretty much ceases when I get off--when I first jump off, I feel it in my ankles and knees but after I walk a few steps, it subsides. If your pain continues afterward, I'd be worried it might be something more serious (like others have mentioned).
                                    I have the same problem. I tried the Springers yesterday and OMG I thought I was going to die!! I'm going to make an appt with the sport med dr this week. I have a very high arches and do walk on the outside of my feet.

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                                    • #19
                                      I used to have ankle pain when riding and I got the flex stirrups and they helped- no more pain!
                                      *We tolerate behaviors in human beings that would horrify us if we saw them in a horse.*
                                      R.I.P El Salvador*
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                                      • #20
                                        I love my flex stirrups. I have had a partial tear in my Achilles tendon, and have very tight hamstrings. I find that a lot of stretching whenever I feel tight helps. There are a few that I learned from athletic trainers that really help. I also have to take my feet out (especially the one that was hurt) and let them relax from time to time while I'm riding.

                                        Sounds like you've got a more acute injury, though. RICE is the usual treatment for ankles - Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. Anti-inflammatories are also good.
                                        A proud friend of bar.ka.

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