Extremely painful ankles while riding

I had very very severe ankle pain for a year and a half after spraining my ankle. My ankle would be very very painful and then I would have searing/shooting pain up the outside of my calf almost in that groove created on the outside of your leg. Turns out that I had a bone bruise within the joint which was triggered every time I would flex my ankle and out weight on it. I rode in converse with a special high ankle brace initially then transitioned to wrapping my ankle with vetwrap. It gave me enough support to help my ankle but was still thin and flexible. Also riding in tall boots was much better than paddocks and half chaps.

I still get pain occasionally when I’m trying to put my heel too deep or am bracing. Improving my core really helped me to balance better.

Also, I second going to a pt or somebody to help pinpoint what is happening anatomically. I’ve had really bad foot problems snowboarding and part of that was the way my muscles were being used and how tight they were. Working on loosening and training certain muscles can help change the tensions being applied to your joints.

I wonder is those stirrup wedge pads would help that are on one side or the other. I haven’t seen them since back in the day. It could relieve pressure for sure.

Have you riders with ankle pain tried the Bow Balance stirrups?[/QUOTE]

I haven’t because my trainer only likes classic stirrups and they’re way more than I’d like to spend on a pair of stirrups

I think this is often the result of “hunter heels”. Are you gracefully allowing the weight of your leg to flow into your heels as a spring or trying to forcefully jam them down as low as possible for sake of “being down”? Is your inside ankle bone resting softly on the horse with your knee slightly open or are you trying to cling to the horse with your lower leg to emulate a picture? More often than not pain is causes be engaging the wrong muscles for the wrong reasons.

It may just be that you are bracing against your stirrups which is bad anyway. To stop yourself from doing this, get rid of them for a while.[/QUOTE]

Post lesson:

Today when the pain became evident I began to actively try to not brace with my heels and shove them down, when you said “using your heels as a spring” I loosened up and let my ankle-range have motion rather than keeping them constantly shoved down, it helped!!

I think the bracing might be the source of my problem, and that in general I need to get stronger when riding. Now in the future, (I’ll keep experimenting with it) I’ll try not to brace with my ankles and try to become more flowing and loosen up the muscles in my outer calf/ankle instead of clenching and bracing like I normally do.

Almost feel like I had an epiphany while riding today, discovering that when I stopped bracing, the pain minimized!

In the long-run I really hope that this is the actual source of my problem and that I could improve it by being more aware of my body.

Also, as a note: I put my stirrups down a hole since I’m famous (not really) for setting my stirrups a hole or two too short and I think that may have helped also!

I have the same issue… and I agree I think it is from shoving the heels down as far as possible vs using them as a spring.

Have you riders with ankle pain tried the Bow Balance stirrups?[/QUOTE]

Yes, and they were awful, too flexible, not supportive, weirdly balanced. Never again.

I would try the wide foot bed stirrups. They are not flexible, but the wide foot bed really makes a difference. The Equi-wings are about $60.00. They are silver so they are fine in the equitation ring.

What kind of jointed irons did you try? The “cheap” jointed irons don’t do much for my ankles, but when I get into a good jointed iron (the $300+ kind) they are fine.

If you did try the sprengers or another high dollar jointed iron, then I don’t know. I second maybe trying a PRO or Back on Track brace under your boot, if you can.

1.) Longer Stirrups
2.) Level feet, you don’t need to jam your heels down!
3.) Wider footbed stirrups - I find they really do help.
4.) Ankle brace

Just a few suggestions, which have really helped in the past!