Strong ankles are all about supportive shoes and isolated strength exercises, right? No, actually they have nothing to do with either. Those philosophies can even increase your chance of an injury as they don’t allow your foot and ankle to move naturally as they’re intended to.
Proper ankle mobility and stability will decrease your risk of injury and dictate, if you do fall, whether you get back up hobbling or not.
Great article! I sprained my ankle just by doing a lot of walking in NYC wearing Dr. Scholl’s “july flat” shoes last year. After healing with a boot, my doctor insisted on custom orthotics for life due to my flat feet. He said it would prevent knee and back issues in the future. I’ve always worked standing jobs and complained about foot pain daily until I began working at a desk job, where the orthotics were not necessary. Fast forward, I couldn’t take sitting anymore and converted my desk for standing. I followed everything I’ve been told- use an anti-fatigue mat, wear supportive shoes with the orthotics and take a few sitting breaks. The orthotics hurt terribly so I removed them and am now standing barefoot (still on the mat) after finding your website. I always thought foot pain was normal after standing for long periods of time (and being 70lbs overweight) but I’m determined to end it. Sorry for the novel. I’m just wondering- Is there anything I should be doing besides being barefoot/in minimalist shoes, balancing exercises to strengthen feet/ankles and eating healthy? I just want to make sure I’m understanding your articles properly.
Sock Doc says
That’s where to start! 🙂
Love all your articles! And wish I would have found your site before I reinjured my foot. It makes perfect sense to strengthen your feet walking barefoot and using your muscles barefoot.
I injured my Posterior Tibial tendon 16 yrs ago raking out topsoil with a landscape rake everyday for a week putting the same right foot foward in shoes with no arch support and limped around on it for 8 mo. Then went to podiatrist only had an xray not an MRI. I did not have flat foot then nor do I now, just the injured tendon. The podiatrist did not name the tendon or tell me much that a clerk at a shoe store may have been able to. Just said get antipronation tennis shoes and over the counter orthotics (super feet). He also gave me viox which I took for a month and never again. I continued to wear the shoes (I bought Asics)and super feet but was barefoot around the house and tried to wear my sandles on ocassion and went back and fourth with healing for about 3 to 4 yrs. I never went back to him and he did not suggest any exersizes for strength. The last 6 or 7 yrs I was not using the super feet at all and was able to walk around without pain (still wearing Asics). And go around barefoot at the beach wear flip flops etc.
I’m 54 yrs old now and have been working out jogging on tread mill and trying tone up. Last May 2014 I felt that twinge of pain while working. (I do in home caregiving for one person) I had been on my feet too long with flop flops. So I went to get some new super feet since the others looked pretty old. Got a different over the counter insole and kept the same shoes that needed to be replaced because know now they were a bit to narrow. I did get new shoes later but they werent supporting the injured tendon right either. Continued to to be on feet. Pain got worse, never was that bad when injured 16 yrs before. Went to a foot and ankle specialist in Sept 2014 who scared me off by telling me I should have an $800 Ricthie brace (AFO) or I could try $400 digitally mapped orhtotics and then said,”then there’s surgery which I like to do” !!! I was floored did he just say that? I did not go back to him. Got some custom orthotics called “foot balance” made at a sport shoe store and felt support. They were not right up against the arch on the right foot for the first mo and half and went back and had a different person redo them. I had massage and saw some improvements. But kept working and being on my feet. I feel if I would have taken a week of down time or more to be off my feet completely and massage and soak I would have made some improvements. I have had cool laser treatments weekly that began Dec and thought I was healing when I felt no pain for two weeks in March of 2015. Then I had a MRI (the first) March 23rd and to my surprise there is a longitudinal split in the PTT near the inner ankle. On the 27th it began to hurt again. I had a trip to WA. to see family for 4 weeks planned and saw a podiatrist while there. He said surgery is not a good option for this and people have been having good results with prolo. I had prolo once while there. Swelling and pain and knew that I would need months of injections and did not like that idea. I thought stem cell and prp would be better to heal the split ( know that may be even more painful). Back home in AK April 24th and searched for someone to give me hope. We have one Doc doing PRP and stem cell here but needed a referral. So I went to a Ortho doc that uses PRP/stem cell but only during surgery. He told me that only surgery would close the split then he would put stem cell in it. He wants me to get a orthotic T-brace with a strap (not sure what that is maybe a Ritchie brace) If I need to I would rather get a Blaze Brace if I have to (looked it up on you tube and suppose to be an improvement over the Ritchie brace). I have never had custom orthos from a doc and have been using the foot balance insoles ($90).
I really don’t want to have surgery but will have to if that is the only fix for the split. I am also afraid that wearing a brace and or super rigid orthos for a long period will make my foot weaker. But don’t want to further the damage. I take natural anti-inflammatory like Turmeric etc. and have been trying to modify my diet for sometime. Its been a long difficult year with pain and insomnia at times and trying to do what I can. What is your opinion about stem cell and other regenerative medicines being used to repair a split without surgical repair.
Thanks for reading this LONG saga about my foot
Meg Lund says
I didn’t know that slow, clumsy, and dampened movements could be a result of fatigued ankles. I definitely agree that making sure that your ankle is being used for proper mobility and stability will help to decrease your risk of injury. When you’re using it properly, you will decrease the fatigue that ankles can develop, and then be able to move faster and more effectively. Thanks for this article. It was really informative and insightful!