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Ankle Brace For Hiking/Running

Posted: Nov 27 2017 6:55 am
by SpiderLegs
Had a podiatrist look at my ankle last week because I seem to sprain my ankle quite a bit. What I found out is that there are three ligaments that hold your ankle and foot in place and I'm down to two. The third ligament is stretched so thin that it is doing little to no good holding my ankle in place. So placing my foot down on the tiniest of rocks the wrong way causes it to roll over and cause a mini-sprain. This has been going on for decades, but with age is happening more often the past few years.

Already doing exercises to strengthen the two ligaments I have left and was highly advised to start wearing an ankle brace when I'm running and hiking. Was told between exercise and a brace I can probably avoid surgery, especially since I am not in pain.

Any recommendation for an ankle brace that can be worn with running shoes and low cut hiking shoes? I've looked online and there seem to be 100+ choices.

Re: Ankle Brace For Hiking/Running

Posted: Nov 27 2017 5:38 pm
by outdoor_lover
First, for something like that, before you do anything else, I would see an Orthopedic, not a Podiatrist...(Trust me on that one, lol) I can recommend an Excellent one, who specializes in Feet and Ankles... Podiatrists are more useful for Foot Problems, like Bunions and Toenails and such... I would NOT start using an Ankle Brace until you get an Opinion from an Orthopedic and a PT... Studies and Personal Experiences have shown that wearing a Brace actually inhibits your Ankle from getting stronger, because you're not using it and working it... I was actually chewed out by a Hand Surgeon when I started wearing a Wrist Brace for a Hand Problem...

The first thing I did once I got out of PT, was started wearing Low Cut Shoes and No Brace unless I'm Canyoneering. Even my Therapist told me to not wear a Brace except in that Instance... And I Ruptured 3 LIgaments... They are just gone.... I had minor, Arthroscopic Surgery to remove a Loose Piece of Cartilage, but I have Arthritis in both Ankles... It's kind of funny, I had the small Rollovers for Years (just very occasionally) with that Ankle and now, haven't rolled it once, but the other one started rolling, right out of Therapy... But that has also resolved with my increased Activity and Low Cut Shoes.... I associate the New Rollovers with the Good Ankle as, well, we didn't work on that one in Therapy, it was all about the Injured one, lol But I think the Low Cut Shoes have helped strengthen it as well now....

As far as your Recommendation Request for a Brace? The Best One I have that I really like, was actually one from Walgreens. It's not a Lace-Up, only 3 Straps with Velcro, but it's got Metal on both sides, so it's very supportive....

Re: Ankle Brace For Hiking/Running

Posted: Nov 28 2017 5:30 am
by SpiderLegs
@outdoor_lover - What you say makes sense. I've been using KT tape on my last few trail runs and think it provides just enough support without inhibiting my ankle. May just keep doing that and pack along an ankle brace on my long hikes on the off chance I need it.

Re: Ankle Brace For Hiking/Running

Posted: Nov 28 2017 6:32 am
by CannondaleKid
When I first moved to AZ I had 'weak' ankles and came up with the same 'ankle brace' thought... until clued in it would be counter-productive long-term. So I went the opposite route, hiking with Teva sandals and sure enough it worked.

IF I still hiked regularly ON trails I would still be wearing sandals. However for my off-trail thrashes, they definitely are NOT the foot gear of choice.

Re: Ankle Brace For Hiking/Running

Posted: Nov 28 2017 9:22 am
With regard to the "rollover" problem...

Several years ago, I began wearing minimalist trail running shoes for hiking. These shoes have thin, flexible soles with a heel that's about the same height as the toe. The better ones will also have no "toe spring" in which the shoe unnaturally forces your toes upward (as is the case with most athletic shoes). Some of these shoes also feature a wide toe box which allows the toes to splay.

Anyway, due to the thinness of the soles, there's very little platform for your foot to roll over / off of. Think about it - do your feet ever rollover when going barefoot? I can't think of a single instance since wearing this type of shoe where I've had a problem with rollover.

It does take some time to become adjusted to such shoes, especially for hiking use. But, overall, I view it as a good thing because it does force your feet to become stronger.

Re: Ankle Brace For Hiking/Running

Posted: Nov 28 2017 10:13 am
by SpiderLegs
@KBKB - I've already switched over to running shoes for the majority of hiking and trail running. Plus the hiking shoes I have are low cut and not that much beefier than running shoes, think of a shoe that is in-between a running and hiking shoe.

Very annoying problem, had a family member that was an athletic trainer for a NBA team where foot and ankle problems are common. So I've been faithfully doing strength and balance exercises that he prescribed for NBA players for the past 15 years. Helps some, but not completely. Just naturally tall & klutzy I guess.

Re: Ankle Brace For Hiking/Running

Posted: Nov 28 2017 1:09 pm
by outdoor_lover
I use a Trail Runner for most of my Hiking now... But if there will be a lot of heavy duty scrambling or Rock Hopping, I go to my Low Cut Hiking Shoes simply for a tad more Foot Support and more Traction and Grip.... But I still don't wear a Brace...

A really good Ankle Strengthener is a Wobble Board... Helps with your Range of Motion too... I don't have one, but my Gym does and I use it every Time I'm there....

Re: Ankle Brace For Hiking/Running

Posted: Nov 28 2017 1:27 pm
by big_load
outdoor_lover wrote:Wobble Board
It's good for the knees, too.

Re: Ankle Brace For Hiking/Running

Posted: Nov 28 2017 2:04 pm
SpiderLegs wrote:the hiking shoes I have are low cut and not that much beefier than running shoes
When you say "low cut", I gather that you mean that the shoe offers little or no ankle support.

The shoes I mentioned earlier are like that too, but also have a very low "stack height". I.e. there's little to no cushioning or other material between your foot and the ground. Some of the shoes that I'm wearing have a 5mm Vibram sole with only a couple of thin layers of leather above the rubber sole. So, total stack height is probably about 7mm.

By way of contrast, the Altra Lone Peak 3.5, which Altra considers to be a medium cushioned shoe, has a 25mm stack height. This means that the soles of your feet are close to an inch off the ground. Altra also makes the Olympus which has 36mm stack height! Since your feet are higher off the ground, the potential for rolling your ankle is much higher in this type of shoe.

The down side with wearing a minimalist, low stack height shoe is that there's not much support for your feet. You'll also feel many of the irregularities of the terrain including roots and stones. Many of the minimalist shoes don't have very tough soles allowing for easy thorn penetration - most of them are very bad in this respect, but there are a few good ones.

Anyway, assuming you're not already wearing a shoe with a low stack height, that may be something to consider too, especially for shorter hikes and/or training hikes.

Re: Ankle Brace For Hiking/Running

Posted: Nov 28 2017 2:18 pm
by Tough_Boots
KBKB wrote:When you say "low cut", I gather that you mean that the shoe offers little or no ankle support.
She's talking about toe cleavage. Flaunt it if you got it!

Re: Ankle Brace For Hiking/Running

Posted: Nov 28 2017 2:22 pm
by outdoor_lover
Yep... I've known about the Board for about 25 Years now...First started using one after my Knee Reconstruction back in '94....

Re: Ankle Brace For Hiking/Running

Posted: Nov 28 2017 2:40 pm
This topic of an ankle brace got me to thinking about some post-hike therapy that I frequently use...

Within the past few years, I learned of a technique called "Voodoo Flossing". To the best of my knowledge, this therapy along with the colorful name originated with Dr. Kelly Starrett and is discussed in his "Supple Leopard" book. The only equipment necessary is a Voodoo Floss band. This is an elastic band that's about two inches wide and six or seven feet in length. Kelly Starrett says that you can cut an old bicycle inner tube if you want to make one yourself. Bands custom made for this purpose are available from Amazon and other vendors.

For the ankle, I start wrapping the band around my foot and up the ankle starting at the metatarsals. I make the wraps quite tight overlapping perhaps half the width of the band. When I get to the top - which is usually only a short ways up my ankle - I tuck the end of the band into one of the previous wraps to hold it in place.

I then attempt to mobilize the joint (ankle in this case) as much as possible. I'll walk back and forth across the room a few times, do a few air squats, and attempt side to side movements too.

After two to three minutes of this - you don't want this very tight compression to be left in place for very long - the wrap is removed.

Due to past injuries (broken ankle and shattered heel), my ankles are frequently achy after a hike. Sometimes, I'll even have a very noticeable limp. Many times, after employing the technique described above, ankles feel significantly better and my limp goes away.

Dr. Starrett also says that the voodoo floss therapy is also good for relieving swelling. He says that he likes it better than ice.

The technique can also be used for other joints; I've used it on my knees and elbows.

Re: Ankle Brace For Hiking/Running

Posted: Nov 28 2017 3:12 pm
by _-_
I wear a Don Joy Pod ankle brace. Dicks Sporting goods sells them you ought to a least try it.