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Summer Footwear and Smart Ankles

ankle support summer

"Prehabilitation" and Regular Chiropractic Care

Regular chiropractic care is an important component of all biomechanical rehabilitation protocols. We may consider that "prehabilitation" is even more valuable to a person than is effective rehabilitation. After all, preventing an injury from happening in the first place is that much better than being able to recover rapidly from damage that might have been avoided.

Prehabilitation involves improving a person's physical fitness, including flexibility, endurance, and durability. Common to all these enhancements is regular chiropractic care. By detecting, analyzing, and correcting spinal biomechanical dysfunction, regular chiropractic care helps enable your body to perform effectively physical tasks such as exercise. With regular chiropractic care, the various components of your musculoskeletal system, that is, the bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments, all become much smarter and learn how to function at peak levels. Overall, regular chiropractic care helps you avoid injuries and get the most out of the valuable time you spend exercising.

Summer has arrived and, on the weekends at least, many of us have replaced our boots, oxfords, heels, and pumps with sandals and flip-flops. We want to lose all traces of the long winter and revel in warm, fragrant summer breezes. The summer experience is enhanced by freeing our feet from their long confinement and exposing our toes to the sunshine and fresh air. The only downside is the potential, for some of us, to suffer a foot and/or ankle injury owing to the inadequate support offered by summer footwear.

From a biomechanical perspective, during the eight months or so of the year that you're wearing regular shoes and boots, your feet and ankles adapt to the configuration and support provided by your footwear. In fact, your feet and ankles come to depend on your footwear and your built-in physiological support systems "dumb down."  As weight-bearing support is being provided by footwear, your innate neurological mechanisms don't have much to do. These integrated networks receive less information, send reduced numbers of signals, and begin to lose cohesion. The summer switch to flip-flops and sandals withdraws the artificial support, and your deconditioned neurological networks are unprepared to provide the critical services of maintaining integrity of balance and gait. The unwelcome results may include foot muscle strains, depressed foot arches, and ankle sprains. Any of these would seriously impact your summer fun.

Of course, our choice of footwear represents our own personal sense of style and may even be situated in a personal cultural context. We do need to be aware of the impact of these apparel choices on our overall health and welfare, and the availability of actions we can take to restore the optimal functioning of our internal physiological support systems. The primary action is to engage in exercises that enhance the function of proprioceptors, specialized nerve cells found in all joints, especially weight-bearing joints such as the spine, hips, knees, and ankles.

Proprioception is your body's awareness of position in three-dimensional space. Your ability to walk is based on extensive training of the proprioception system when you were a toddler. Ballet dancers and gymnasts take years of daily classes in order to obtain the results of highly efficient and robust proprioception. Even tasks such as writing and typing are based on years of similar training. The good news is that the training we need to make a smooth transition from winter to summer footwear is simple and easy.1-3

The single exercise required is known as the "flamingo" or "stork" exercise, which provides specific training for ankle and foot proprioceptors. You stand near a wall and lightly touch the wall with your fingertips (thus, preventing falls). To begin, stand on the right leg and place the left foot beside the right knee, so that the left knee is bent and facing front. Balance on the right leg and maintain this position for 20 seconds. You'll notice that your right ankle will wobble back and forth as it readjusts to stabilize your weight. Then switch sides, and repeat. This simple method, done two or three times each day during the winter, will maintain the intelligence and awareness of your proprioception system even though you're wearing enclosed footwear. When you break out your sandals and flip-flops in June, right around the summer solstice, you'll be prepared to enjoy the long, sun-filled days of summer.

  1. Hall EA, et al: Strength-training protocols to improve deficits in participants with chronic ankle instability: a randomized controlled trial. J Athl Train 50(1):36-44, 2015
  2. Hale SA, et al: Bilateral improvements in lower extremity function after unilateral balance training in individuals with chronic ankle instability. J Athl Train 49(2):181-191, 2014
  3. Wright CJ, et al: Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing Rehabilitation Efficacy in Chronic Ankle Instability. J Sport Rehabil  2016 Feb 26. [Epub ahead of print]

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Testimonial

I slipped on ice in December, landing hard on my behind. I was in excruciating pain and could barely move. It was a Saturday night but I called the office and left a message (new patient, too, found them on Google.) I received a call back first thing Monday morning, they got me right in that day, and I just completed my 3- month treatment plan. I feel so much better and am happy to have found Dr. Ide and his staff.

  ~Amy Hawker

Dr. Ide and his staff are awesome. I had all but given up and I saw his ad. I am s happy to be out of partial pain and I have only gone twice, I cannot wait for the end results. Just to be pain free. Dr. Ide, I thank you so much.

   ~ Patsy Dimond-Spencer

Dr. Ide and his staff have given me my life back. The day I called to make my first appointment I had been suffering from a migraine and severe neck pain for 6 days. This was also after receiving multiple pain injections from my primary physician with no relief. His staff not only verified my insurance was accepted at this location before even offering me an appointment time (which multiple offices will not do this) over the phone but I was able to make an appointment for the same day. Dr. Ide took the time to obtain pertinent patient history and not only explain but he also showed me on my x-rays why I was experiencing pain. He addressed the root of the problem instead of pushing prescriptions to subside your symptoms. HE discussed my POA in detail and reiterated why finishing therapy and continuing home therapy was important. I was hesitant and nervous about my first adjustment but again, he took the time to walk me through each step. Paired with my weekly adjustments I also receive massage therapy. Monica, the massage therapist is incredible. She takes the time to ask specific questions before the massage to ensure she provides the best care possible. Kasey, Dr. Ide's assistant is extremely personable and continues to make sure you feel comfortable throughout your visit. The front staff also provides a warm and welcoming environment. Within my first month of treatment, I'm able to go das without a headache now and I have reduced the frequency of my pain medication. I highly recommend Dr. Ide and his staff!

    ~Leah Craig

Very friendly staff and knowledgeable doctor! After doing a 3 month program, I no longer have daily headaches, back pain or neck pain. Most doctor's adjust your back and send you on your way - Dr. Ide makes sure to turn it into a lifestyle change by improving your posture and fixing any issues you may have. I would definitely recommend him over any chiropractor.

    ~Lauren Dunigan

I always have good service and leave feeling good! The people are nice and all know my name. I really like how they do business for senior citizens... that's a big plus!
~Nancy Matson

Very extensive in the examination. Not like other chiropractors I'd seen who just do a quick adjustment. They diagnosed the problem and are working to correct it with me. They have even went so far as to work out payment arguments for the things my insurance wouldn't cover.

    ~Brandon Ogle

I had neck and shoulder pain since 2010. Ever since I started going to him I have felt better and better!

    ~Andrel Jacobs 

I had ankle problems all my life in my left foot. Dr. Ide adjusted my ankle for me and within one adjustment my ankle felt the best ever. Thanks Dr. Ide!

              A.H.
              Fenton, MI

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