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Anne Elk
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Anne Elk
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PostSun Sep 05, 2021 6:04 pm 
I've had flat feet since childhood and my ankles pronate. All the years I lived in the Canadian Rockies I wore traditional, heavy Raichle hi-top mountaineering boots that had steel shanks in the sole. Even used them on cable-binding X-C skis a few times. Never turned an ankle until I returned to the states and made a mis-step on some uneven stairs.  The Raichles didn't prevent tearing off my achilles' tendon when my leg went thru some snow and the tip of my boot (I'm surmising) hit rocks below and hyper-flexed my foot.

I did some day hiking this summer in low-top Merrell Continuum hiking shoes which I really liked, but I was on good trails and was carrying a day pack.  If I were going backpacking and going over rooty, rocky trails (or no trail), I'd still wear the stiff high tops.

The other thing to consider is the condition of all the leg joints, particularly the knee.  We lose muscle mass with age, even if you're generally fit, and I don't think you can totally get away from a certain degree of knee instability and relative decline in balance, so all that will contribute to a potential knee roll.  You might test different shoes under different pack load conditions in the city and see what feels right before trying them in the backwoods.  Someone above mentioned trekking poles - essential equipment!

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"There are yahoos out there.  Itís why we canít have nice things."  - Tom Mahood
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unsunken
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PostMon Sep 06, 2021 9:14 am 
Iíve had a weak ankle for much of my life after spraining it badly and not letting it heal. Iíve tried quite a few things including many many PT sessions and surgeries. The single most helpful thing has been wearing lower profile hiking shoes like trail runners to hike in. Combined with PT, the increased proprioception from thinner, more flexible shoes has made it much more difficult to roll my ankle.

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Pyrites
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PostMon Sep 06, 2021 10:22 am 
Iíll only speak for myself. Shoes with rounded edges result in my ankle over rotating distally. Buying shoes or boots with a distinct edge on the sides helps significantly. On the rear of the heel it doesnít seem to matter.

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rossb
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PostMon Sep 06, 2021 10:53 am 
I don't think there have been any studies to support higher boots for hiking. Even for basketball, there is little evidence that it prevents ankle problems. It is quite possible that a very secure ankle will simply shift the problem elsewhere (to the knees, like an ACL injury). Then there is the problem that heavier boots are more fatiguing, and injuries are more common when you're tired.

All that being said, I can see why heavier boots are more popular with folks that have had a lot of ankle problems. I wouldn't rule it out, but I wouldn't make it the focus of your efforts. Work on making those ankles more flexible and stronger. I've had problems with my ankles and foot, and the sort of exercises I did following those injuries have helped. I don't think you should worry about whether the exercises are focused on hiking versus other activities.

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Navy salad
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PostMon Sep 06, 2021 11:42 am 
Ravenridge22 wrote:
I have used Active Ankle brand braces inside my hiking boots for many years and have since avoided ankle sprains on the trail.   Before using the braces, I had 3 or 4 ankle sprains that were serious enough to end the hike and necessitate a hobbling return to the trailhead.

Active Ankle T2

Can you fit these inside your regular hiking boots?

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Chief Joseph
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PostMon Sep 06, 2021 11:46 am 
I have a friend with ankle issues and wore those ^ while playing basketball and they worked well for him.

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Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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Navy salad
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PostMon Sep 06, 2021 12:00 pm 
Ok, so it looks like a mix of opinions on this topic -- I was really hoping (unrealistically, of course) for more broad agreement!

Searching online, there seems to be more support for low tops, but of course a lot of varying opinions. I found several articles, including one published in a medical journal and another written by a Podiatrist/hiker, that low top vs high top doesn't make that much difference since low tops provide more proprioception (sense of self-movement and body position) which is at least as important as the relatively small amount of ankle support high tops provide. My high top boots, which I typically only wear in snow or muddy conditions, are perfectly capable of permitting ankle rolls. But I may dust them off to give them another try once this thing heals.

I appreciate the exercise recommendations.

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kiliki
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PostMon Sep 06, 2021 1:07 pm 
Quote:
I found several articles, including one published in a medical journal and another written by a Podiatrist/hiker, that low top vs high top doesn't make that much difference since low tops provide more proprioception (sense of self-movement and body position) which is at least as important as the relatively small amount of ankle support high tops provide.

Interesting. I wouldn't think the proprioception would only be dependent on low vs high tops. I definitely do not feel more proprioception in stiff and thick soled low top shoes like the Oboz Sawtooth ii. Those are like wearing platform shoes, or boards, particularly when new. My running shoes though, sure. Maybe trail runners too (I've never owned those so I don't know).

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Anne Elk
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PostMon Sep 06, 2021 1:42 pm 
I get the impression that this is one of those areas in medicine where there's a lot of research/data/etc to justify certain practices, that later turn out to be totally bogus.  Example: for decades, we were taught "RICE" for muscle/tendon/joint injuries: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.  Now we're finding out that icing an injury is counterproductive and might make things worse.  From the NYTimes article:

" ... in recent years, exercise scientists have started throwing cold water on the supposed benefits of icing. In a 2011 study, for example, people who iced a torn calf muscle felt just as much leg pain later as those who left their sore leg alone, and they were unable to return to work or other activities any sooner. Similarly, a 2012 scientific review concluded that athletes who iced sore muscles after strenuous exercise ó or, for the masochistically minded, immersed themselves in ice baths ó regained muscular strength and power more slowly than their unchilled teammates. And a sobering 2015 study of weight training found that men who regularly applied ice packs after workouts developed less muscular strength, size and endurance than those who recovered without ice."


Same thing in the dietary dept.;  fat vs carbs, eggs are bad then good again, and so forth. The musculoskeletal system is a highly complex interaction of mechanics and neurology.  I suspect there's no magic solution that works the same for everyone.

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"There are yahoos out there.  Itís why we canít have nice things."  - Tom Mahood

Gil
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Navy salad
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PostMon Sep 06, 2021 2:03 pm 
The Podiatrist I met with after my sprain also said there are some doubts in the medical community about the benefits of icing injuries.

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kiliki
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PostMon Sep 06, 2021 4:56 pm 
I was told, last week, that icing is purely for my comfort (to ease pain) and that it does not contribute to healing. Same with elevating.

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MojaveGeek
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PostMon Sep 06, 2021 5:46 pm 
Orthogonal to the original question, but do you use hiking poles?   I find my reaction time (I'm 69) when I take a step which is off balance or slips just isn't what it used to be, and it is that much harder for my body to shift in a way that takes the load safely, and recovers without a fall.  I always use two poles and would not imagine leaving home without them, and have for some years.

Despite the poles, I've taken a few falls in the last 3 years, and I fully realize that a fall in the middle of nowhere while hiking solo could be a problem.   I've taught myself a discipline of scanning the trail for about 20 yards ahead of me, and deciding whether it is smooth enough that I don't have to pay attention to each step, so I can look at the scenery, or whether on the contrary it requires my full attention.  This helps.

At our ages, we need to be proactive to keep safe if we're going to hike another decade.

(FWIW, I always wear light weight high tops)

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zephyr
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PostMon Sep 06, 2021 8:18 pm 
MojaveGeek wrote:
I always use two poles and would not imagine leaving home without them, and have for some years.

Despite the poles, I've taken a few falls in the last 3 years, and I fully realize that a fall in the middle of nowhere while hiking solo could be a problem.  I've taught myself a discipline of scanning the trail for about 20 yards ahead of me, and deciding whether it is smooth enough that I don't have to pay attention to each step, so I can look at the scenery, or whether on the contrary it requires my full attention.  This helps.

At our ages, we need to be proactive to keep safe if we're going to hike another decade.

Exactly.   Now just simple creeks are challenges and problems to solve--especially if the rocks are smooth, mossy, wet, or combo of each.  Maintaining balance on slippery rocks just isn't what it used to be.  I imagine that there are all sorts of motor/muscle activities that used to come much easier but decline in age.

'Ever slip on a slim, peeled hemlock branch just laying on the trail?  You take off in flight until you regain control.  ha  ~z

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Navy salad
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PostMon Sep 06, 2021 9:36 pm 
MojaveGeek wrote:
Orthogonal to the original question, but do you use hiking poles?

Yes, pretty much part of my standard hiking gear. Although poles have kept me from falling a few times in the past, what triggered my actual ankle injury was when I was walking over this slanted big rock (like 8 feet across), my hiking pole slipped, causing me to lose my balance and also slip, and it was only by this big gyration that I kept from falling ... at the expense of my ankle.

I agree about the need to be proactive to avoid future falls!

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Chief Joseph
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PostMon Sep 06, 2021 11:27 pm 
One must be able to channel the inner mountain goat that lives within us...although even they fall sometimes.

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