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Ankle support - best boots and braces?
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Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: barefoot runners give full rangle of motion on 05/01/2013 10:48:30 MDT Print View

When we work on proprioception and balance in PT we do have people actually barefoot. But we also work very diligently to gradually improve the difficulty of the challenge so as not to go too far. Being barefoot allows them to train proprioception as well as the intrinsic muscles of the foot to help with overall foot and ankle stability.

But again, not to beat a dead horse, there are times when a foot is just too darned floppy and all the barefoot training and minimalist shoes in the world aren't going to fix that. I absolutely think people should try it in safe, controlled environments (the gym is home, a few hours at work, maybe try walking the dog a few times a week...) then when that becomes easy and effortless, move up to something more challenging. GRADUALLY. It really can help a lot of people, just be smart about it.

I cannot tell you how many people end up in my waiting room (Chicago is a big running town) because they heard running barefoot was going to fix all their foot and ankle problems...and now they have new ones.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: barefoot runners give full rangle of motion on 05/01/2013 11:07:31 MDT Print View

Boots with high ankles do provide a small bit of actual structural support IF tied appropriately, but the reason those with "weak" ankles tend to like them so much is that the greater contact area of the ankle increases the proprioceptive input to the brain during stepping activies.

This describes my experience with mid-height trail runners exactly and sounds a lot more sciencey than, "They feel more connected to my foot (than the low-cut shoes.)"

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 05/01/2013 15:20:44 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/08/2013 19:20:27 MDT.

William Segraves
(sbill9000) - F - M
Re: Proprioception, not strength on 05/01/2013 18:00:41 MDT Print View

"The main reason people repeatedly "roll" their ankles is not so much a question of weakness, although that does play a bit of a role. More importantly is proprioception - your body's ability to know where it is in space. This means when you are about to put your foot down on the ground your body actually knows what position the foot is in before it touches the ground."

For backpacking, I might have thought that the ability to make corrections smoothly after touch-down would be as important or maybe even more. Other than when I'm on talus, I'm not normally looking closely at where my feet will go, and even if I am, I don't necessarily know what's going to happen when I put my foot down (rocks and holes hidden by grass, who knows what under leaves or snow, etc). Might this be the case?

In keeping with the theme of one of Jen's pearls from another thread, for me, the best training for walking on uneven ground seems to be .... walking on uneven ground.


Bill S.

Sean Smith
lower back pain on 05/02/2013 11:32:18 MDT Print View

Interesting reading! I've been trying to get into minimalist and low drop shoes but seem to have issues. I tried running in them last year and my achilles seriously rebelled but I know I overdid it and also hadn't run for a few years being a road racing cyclist...

That said, anyone experience lower back pain when switching to 4mm drop shoes? I mostly notice it when I bend over for prolonged periods of time and then straighten up. or after sitting for awhile. after walking or standing awhile I don't notice any pain.

I bought a pair of Nike Free as well as some Brooks pure flow and pure grit II. they all felt fantastic and I couldn't decide. I was hoping to backpack in the pure grit II but am worried about the serious lack of support in the uppers.

i wear the Free at work and walk quite a bit.

I noticed lower back pain started up a few weeks ago roughly a week after starting to wear the Nike Free at work all day, and I'm trying to pinpoint the cause. It may be totally unrelated and I tweaked it doing something else, but I don't recall doing so.