VIVOBAREFOOT Rehab: Gabriel's Broken Ankle
March 30, 2011 by Michelle Hinsvark
I was downhill mountain biking in Mormon Canyon by McCammon in Idaho by myself, when I ran over my ankle while sliding sideways in a counter steer. I tumbled off of the trail in pain only to recover with my foot hanging like a limp piece of meat off of my leg. I had dislocated my ankle completely, with no break at all. Faced with the horror of seeing the bottom of my foot for the first time and being 40 miles away from the nearest medical help, I instinctively grabbed my ankle and popped back into place. My 15 mile ride back to the car was all downhill, but then I had 30 miles to drive to the hospital. It was not a pleasant experience!
The ensuing recovery has been much worse than the experience dislocating my ankle. I used to play college basketball and football, and am increadibly active. I am very competitive in sprint Triathlons, USTA Tennis, still play hoops in the off-season with the college team, and get 3000-4000 miles a year cycling. That is, up until March 2010.
My issue is that ankles do not fully dislocate. As Lee Saxby can attest, the ankle is ‘designed’ to break under overbearing lateral loads. Ankles never fully dislocate. There is one study that has been conducted on ankle dislocations that had no breaks. This study was conducted in 1953 and had only two subjects. My point is that can't hardly be called a study. There is no body of knowledge for me to rely on. I worked with Boyd Eastman, the most renouned sports physical therapist in my area for the better part of six months. It cost me thousands! We tried stretching, strengthening, massage….everything for six months. I kept a journal, was diligent in my exercises, and creative in my workouts to stay in shape.
What I found is that no matter what I have done, relearning proprioception takes a great deal of time. My ankle and my brain completely reset the way they understand each other. I, like a baby, have been relearning everything with my right foot. Perhaps that is the reason that in the 1953 study neither subject retained full mobility.
I purchased a pair of Evos about a month before OR, and in that month my proprioreceptive recovery seemed to be exponential. Moreover, I noticed it right away. Within days I had no pain during daily activities. After having pain every day for the better part of the year I was amazed! I have worn those shoes literally every day since. I am a very stylish man, and have a pair of shoes for every outfit. I swear to you I wore those Evos every day until I got a pair of white and black VIVO casual shoes. I now switch between the two only, which is really weird for me. I have so many forgotten shoes now.
The bottom line is, wearing traditional heeled shoes every day significantly diminished my ability to further the recovery of my proprioception. It was so obvious. There is no ambiguity for me. I exhausted my options with rehab, went through two arthroscopic procedures to clean the cartilage and explore the answer to why I was having so much pain. The second I put on the VIVOBAREFOOT shoes I noticed my posture was better and my ankle began strengthening immediately. I began to feel ‘perky’ in my right leg for the first time in forever. The VIVOBAREFOOT tech is so legit. It is something I can wear every day with socks. I am now jumping rope for 10 to 20 minutes every morning. My ankle is getting really strong, and will soon have the lateral ‘understanding’ and strength to start running again. The jump rope is great because it is a simple repetitive movement that my ankle ‘understands’, but I will be moving on to Tri training soon.
So much for me has changed because of the consistant proprioceptive accuracy these shoes give me. You now have an evangelist, and a follower who intends to wear no other shoes but these for at least the next year. I’m not joking!
I want to say thank you to VIVOBAREFOOT.
Gabriel K. Rhoads