What’s wrong with the modern shoe? Designed over the last 40 years to be more comfortable and absorb the impact from your heel, they employ all kinds of gimmicks to make your running or sporting experience more comfortable. But. that has come at a very steep price. One of the primary problems has been the dramatic increase in ankle sprains. Yes, statistically, your risk of a sprained ankle sky rockets with these kinds of modern shoes.
Why? Well, first imagine someone running through a natural landscape a hundred or a thousand years ago. The landscape was uneven and filled with debris (rocks, pebbles, dirt, roots, branches, etc. Now, imagine this person running or walking with little to no support from their shoes. Usually, it was a piece of leather protecting the bottom of their feet and that was about it.
As you can imagine, their ankles would have to be extraordinarily strong in order to resist the constant twisting force placed on them every time they hit the uneven ground. Another important fact to understand is that these people walked or ran all their lives, some over 100 miles at one stretch. And they did it all without Nike airs! How?
Well, first they didn’t walk or run like we do today. The big shoe companies have tried to take away the pain of a heel strike (when you run and land on your heel). They have put all kinds of gels and air into the heel so that when you land on your heel, it doesn’t hurt. That seems good on the surface. But, what if you are not supposed to land on your heel when you run? What if that is a recipe for all kinds of problems? And it is!
In fact, if you try to run barefoot the same way you run with shoes, you will quickly be in agony. You cannot land hard on your heel and run barefoot. You will have to stop after a few steps. Instead, you will quickly learn that you have to land on the ball of your foot. The part that has much more natural padding. If you land on the outside part of the ball of your foot and gently roll inward as you run, you will feel a tremendous flow in your stride. And you will not have anywhere near the same kind of hard impact you had before.
You see, the modern running shoe gets you to run incorrectly by adding padding to the heel. That heel strike causes all kinds of problems like knee pain, Achilles pain, low back pain, ankle injuries and much more. Think about it. You are putting so much force in each step as you land. If you are landing unnaturally, your body’s natural shock absorbers do not work correctly. It won’t take long until pain is the result. And the more you run, the worse it will get.
How does this relate to sprained ankles? Simple, the more stiff a shoe it, the weaker your ankles get. The more stiff your shoes are, the less your ankles can react to uneven ground and over time, they atrophy to the point where a small trip or a stone can easily cause an ankle sprain. It happens tens of thousands of times a day!
So, what should you use? I personally love Nike Free and Vibram Five Finger shoes. They are extremely light and have extremely limited heel padding. They allow for much more unrestricted movement of the feet and ankles. Plus, they are incredibly comfortable.
If you have a sprained ankle or weak ankles and are looking for a great rehab program that requires no equipment, then try http://hemanklerehab.com It is very simple to do and significantly increases ankle strength, flexibility as well as removing scar tissue from old injuries.