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Thread: Floppy ankles?

  1. #1

    Thumbs down Floppy ankles?

    Hey whiteblaze!

    less than one month until my departure to maine for my southbound thru hike

    i went hiking along the foothills trail in northwestern SC for about 3 days and noticed, my ankles flopped to the sides... ALOT. it didnt hurt too bad, i just jumped back on my feet, but it just kept happening over and over.. i have the brooks cascadia 9 trail runners. i normally wear a size 10 in my vans for regular wear, but i got a size 11 and 1/2 for the brooks considering the swelling that will occur aswell as my heavy smartwool socks. i thought the flopping could be because theyre too big so i exchanged them for an 11 at my local store. the store said i could test out the 11's, and if they are too small i could come back and get my old 11 and 1/2's. is this issue prevalent in anyone else's hikes? i don't really want to get boots because i already spent 140 on these shoes, and i need something that will dry fast, you guys know how new england is... and the rest of the AT

    and do you think it could be the sizing issue? i haven't been able to go hiking in the new set of shoes yet.

    thanks a bunch,

    Johan the barbarian.

  2. #2
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    See about foot beds. I use Superfeet green.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  3. #3

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    Update: Danced in my room in the size 11's, they do feel a bit tight. Not sure if that would go away with them breaking in, but theres not much room for my foot to feel comfy in.

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    When you say flopping ankles do you mean rolling your ankles? Can't imagine another meaning.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malto View Post
    When you say flopping ankles do you mean rolling your ankles? Can't imagine another meaning.
    yep, that is indeed what was happening.

  6. #6
    Ricky and his Husky Jack
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    11.5 too big?
    11.0 too tight?

    Can you get a 11.0wide? That way they shouldn't feel tight, but won't be lose.
    Me: Ricky
    Husky: Jack
    Skeeter-Beeter Pro Hammock.
    From Dalton, Georgia (65 mi above Altanta, 15mi south of Chattanooga)

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    For what it's worth, I used to roll my ankles all the time, especially the right one. I work behind a desk and with the exception of fishing & hunting trips, I really wasn't getting a whole lot of exercise. I think my ankles were simply weak. Once I started hiking on a fairly regular basis and started getting some more exercise, I think my ankles got stronger and the problem has basically gone away. I still use boots vice trail runners, but I notice my ankles are much better now than they were a year or two ago. I'm at a point now where I might try a trail runner to see if I can get away with less support.

  8. #8
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    My brother has this - ended up with such a nasty sprain - had to get surgery after a PA ROCKS incident - watch your step.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

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    Start strengthening your ankles. One simple way is to stand on one leg, go for a minute on each foot. You'll feel all the little muscles working to keep you balanced. When it gets easy, increase the time and start moving your other leg around to change your balance point. Google for other ankle strengthening exercises.

  10. #10
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    You're a heel striker, aren't you? Nasty habit and it would behoove you to get up on the balls of your feet where you belong.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groundsound1 View Post
    yep, that is indeed what was happening.
    I think you are barking up the wrong tree on shoe size. The muscles in you ankle need to be strengthened.

  12. #12
    Garlic
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    This happened a few times when I switched from boots to trail runners over a decade ago. I was committed to a long hike with trail runners, so I trained for many months and many miles on easy terrain with the trail runners, and I haven't rolled an ankle since.

  13. #13

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    Yeap, sounds like an issue of ankle muscles that are not use to the unsteady surfaces of the AT. I don't think even running will help much with rolling ankles, because most people simply run on flat surfaces. And the idea that boots provide ankle support is a myth, at least in my experience, because I remember going thru a period of rolling my ankle and it happened a lot.

    There is probably an exercise you could come up with to stengthen them, like running/walking in the very soft sand of a beach and I'm sure someone will mention some other exercises. However, walking the trail is the best way.

    Sprained ankles are just a part of hiking. I walked 160 AT miles on a sprained ankle back in '99. Never had a sprain since.

  14. #14

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    Another Option -- I had the same issue - they'd even roll on flat secions. I switched my running shoe to a barefoot style and notice the difference when running. I then switched to Merrils barefoot hiking boot. No roll, no plantar facitis, no $300 orthotics. Just a suggestion
    The older I get, the faster I hiked.

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    Mine do that unless I wear high cut leather boots. If I wear low cut (below the ankle) shoes or sandals, over they go. I was a dancer in my younger years and did countless rises onto to my toes, plus at 4' 10" I have to go rise up on tip toe constantly to reach things, so my ankles really are quite strong...they just roll over. They don't get sprained or anything. I also have nearly flat feet so I do wear arch supports. I've been hiking and backpacking for 13 years now, on all sorts of terrain and up to 15 miles in a day. Doesn't seem to make any difference. They'll still roll over.
    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groundsound1 View Post
    Hey whiteblaze!

    less than one month until my departure to maine for my southbound thru hike

    i went hiking along the foothills trail in northwestern SC for about 3 days and noticed, my ankles flopped to the sides... ALOT. it didnt hurt too bad, i just jumped back on my feet, but it just kept happening over and over.. i have the brooks cascadia 9 trail runners. i normally wear a size 10 in my vans for regular wear, but i got a size 11 and 1/2 for the brooks considering the swelling that will occur aswell as my heavy smartwool socks. i thought the flopping could be because theyre too big so i exchanged them for an 11 at my local store. the store said i could test out the 11's, and if they are too small i could come back and get my old 11 and 1/2's. is this issue prevalent in anyone else's hikes? i don't really want to get boots because i already spent 140 on these shoes, and i need something that will dry fast, you guys know how new england is... and the rest of the AT

    and do you think it could be the sizing issue? i haven't been able to go hiking in the new set of shoes yet.

    thanks a bunch,

    Johan the barbarian.


    For what it's worth - I've had the same problem with more so than any other trail runner. Don't get me wrong - it hasn't stopped me from wearing them - I'm on my 3rd pair. I believe it has to do with the style of the shoe and the fact that the heel sits pretty high relative to the top of the sneaker. I've found that adding insoles actually makes it worse because it tends to raise the height of the foot even more. Cascadias also tend to have a bit of a narrower heel than traditional running shoes, which makes it easier to roll your ankle.

    For me, the pros out weighed the cons with these shoes and I still wear them. I've learned to run in them and i don't roll my ankle very often. When I do, it's a quick pop to the side and then i dance for a step.

    Strengthening your feet will help. This can be done by walking barefoot or with very minimalist shoes on like merrells or five fingers or minumus (I run in these for any distance up to 13 miles, after that it's the Brooks)

  17. #17
    Registered User Ktaadn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foresight View Post
    You're a heel striker, aren't you? Nasty habit and it would behoove you to get up on the balls of your feet where you belong.
    I think this is part of the problem. Another issue might be that you are walking with your feet at an angle(like a duck). Your toes should always be pointing straight ahead when you walk or squat or anything else. If they aren't, you will have a flat arch, weak ankles, and put your knees at risk of injury.

  18. #18
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    Well said by all-
    Go back to the 11 1/2.

    Weak ankles and lack of walking on uneven terrain is the guilty party-
    People talk about trail legs all the time, but just as important are trail toes, especially in tennis shoes.
    You wear Vans- a much wider shoe overall, a bit dramatic, but you are like a lady walking in heels for the first time in the brooks, it takes some practice.

    Fastest way to learn as you are leaving soon. Assuming you have some paved streets or sidewalks (safer for your feet)- start walking barefoot. Do it for 10-30 minutes, whatever is comfortable, per day, 3-7 days a week. Keep adding time and frequency- you can even do a few short walks a day rather than trying one big one. This will strengthen all your foot muscles, increase ground feel and awareness, and strengthen ankles to a degree. You don't have time to really strengthen your ankles- but you'll get them while you build your trail legs.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    Well said by all-
    Go back to the 11 1/2.

    Weak ankles and lack of walking on uneven terrain is the guilty party-
    People talk about trail legs all the time, but just as important are trail toes, especially in tennis shoes.
    You wear Vans- a much wider shoe overall, a bit dramatic, but you are like a lady walking in heels for the first time in the brooks, it takes some practice.

    Fastest way to learn as you are leaving soon. Assuming you have some paved streets or sidewalks (safer for your feet)- start walking barefoot. Do it for 10-30 minutes, whatever is comfortable, per day, 3-7 days a week. Keep adding time and frequency- you can even do a few short walks a day rather than trying one big one. This will strengthen all your foot muscles, increase ground feel and awareness, and strengthen ankles to a degree. You don't have time to really strengthen your ankles- but you'll get them while you build your trail legs.
    Walking barefoot, hmmm. I agree.
    The older I get, the faster I hiked.

  20. #20
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    You're used to Vans which are board shoes where the idea is to keep as much of your sole on the skateboard as possible. Vans have a low center of gravity, little arch, among other characteristics. The Brooks Cascadia 9's are a differently designed shoe having a higher center of gravity, more arch, different purpose, etc . You are now on trail. Different shoes. Different terrain. It's a different feel. No surprise you are rolling your ankles more based on these factors alone. Yeah, it's going to take some getting used to the new shoes and different type of walking on uneven terrain. Try walking on uneven rocky trail with your pack on in your Vans. You'll notice what I'm talking about. Get out of the Vans for the next month and into those Brooks Cascadias particularly since you're going SOBO. ME can be rocky with ups/downs.

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