Ankle problems are increasingly common in western society today, particularly among older people. On the one hand, the more a person weighs, the greater the pressure on the joints. On the other hand, as life expectancy continues to increase, strain is being placed on the cartilage for much longer than just 50 years ago. Furthermore, civilised human beings spend most of their time walking on flat, hard everyday floors, and most shoe manufacturers follow the philosophy that a shoe has to support and guide the foot, and must have a small heel. However, our feet are not built for this type of stress. This results in massive improper strain and much faster wear. Ankle osteoarthritis and other ankle conditions are the result of years of improper strain.
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When people talk about an ankle problem, they mean when the upper or lower ankle joint is affected by an injury or condition.
The following problems are usually the cause of complaints and pain.
- Osteoarthritis of the upper ankle
- Instability/ligament injuries
- ‘Footballer’s ankle’
- Dislocation of the peroneal tendons
- Osteochondritis dissecans
- Disorders of the joint capsule and the mucous membrane
Causes of ankle problems usually include various (previous) conditions or (past) injuries involving the foot. However, no precise cause can be determined in about one quarter of all cases.
Osteoarthritis can be caused by excessive weight and excessive strain, such as occurs during extreme sports or when performing heavy physical labour. Causes also include changes in the cartilage metabolism with advanced age, metabolic disturbances, congenital malformations and acquired joint deformities, for example due to inflammatory joint conditions, which can occur after an injury.
Years of improper strain on the ankle while walking is another possible cause (see Fig. 1 and 2). The greater the impact while walking and the less precise the movement, the faster the cartilage will wear. The main cause of improper strain on the ankle is the long periods of time we in industrialised western nations spend sitting every day – something that nature did not intend. Sitting for hours leads to the progressive shortening of the hip flexors. As a result, the person is no longer able to achieve a physiologically correct gait with the upper body upright. This in turn leads to excessive strain on the neck and back musculature, incorrect foot, knee and hip position, and therefore to increased cartilage wear.
Pain caused by osteoarthritis can lead to relieving postures, which subsequently cause excessive strain on other joints and body structures and result in secondary disorders. Furthermore, pain leads to a reduction in exercise and those who move less automatically put on more weight. This in turn has a negative effect on ankle complaints. Many affected by pain are therefore caught in a downward spiral. The primary therapy objective is to escape this downward spiral.
For ankle problems, conservative treatment methods primarily consist of weight loss if necessary, along with movement exercises, which are compiled and taught by a physiotherapist. The aim of these exercises is to strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint. Additional treatment approaches include massages, the application of heat and cold, pharmacology treatment and orthopaedic devices. The objective of conservative therapy is to maintain joint function and reduce pain.
- Arthrodesis (stiffening of the joint)
- Arthroplasty (total joint replacement)
- Cheilectomy (joint rinsing)
The kybun mat and kybun shoe are ideal for bringing more movement into everyday life and escaping the downward spiral of problems and complaints – all without spending any additional time. Strain on the ankle joints is reduced, which means that acute pain is quickly relieved and longer walking distances are once again possible.
The soft, elastic foam material acts as a ‘crumple zone’, substantially dampening impact on the joints during running and walking.
Exercise becomes more comfortable again, and foot complaints subside after just a few minutes in most cases. Those who like to exercise frequently find it much easier to shed extra pounds, which in turn reduces strain on the joints. Nearly all affected customers report a reduction in pain after beginning to wear kybun shoes or use a kybun mat.
Fig. 3: Ankle joints restricted by shoes, folding in with virtually no dampening of impact, knee highly flexed during heel strike, causing improper strain.
It’s not only the cushioning effect that helps alleviate pain. When standing the soft, elastic supporting underlay, one automatically keeps moving very slightly. When standing and walking on soft, elastic materials, the core stability musculature has to make a major contribution in order to stabilise the joints. Strong core stabilising musculature ensures an upright posture, resulting in more precise movements in the joints. Lack of exercise due to pain results in long-term muscle loss (amyotrophia). Signs of excessive strain in the foot, knee and hip joint can develop more quickly as a result. The ability to stabilise the joints under strain can be improved further through proprioceptive, sensorimotor and coordinative training on unstable surfaces. This counteracts the progression of osteoarthritis. Training the core stabilising musculature is easy to integrate into everyday life by wearing the kybun shoe.
Attention! Short-term effects are often confused with lasting effects.
The adjustment processes in the body triggered by the kybun shoe can take months or even years. Achieving lasting change is a protracted process.
Despite that, the effect of the soft, elastic material can also be felt quickly, for example in the relaxation of tense muscles and the alleviation of pressure points. These short-term effects must not be confused with the effects in the long run, since the long-term adjustment process cannot progress far enough in a week to be perceptible.
Short-term effects, on the other hand, can disappear again just as quickly as they came, or can even turn into complaints if you do not take the necessary breaks in the beginning.
Therefore, it is important to understand that an initial reaction and a reduction of the positive feeling in the first few weeks with the kybun shoe does not mean that the kybun shoe is no longer working, but merely that the short-term sense of well-being is declining!
Prevention with kybun
Everyone knows that the body is subject to wear, and that problems while walking and running are bound to occur sooner or later. Yet most people only start to consciously perceive their body as a fragile and transient structure once they experience problems. In most cases, however, it is already too late because irreversible damage such as cartilage wear has already occurred.
Therefore it is important to act before pain is felt or is increasing. The kybun mat and kybun shoe help protect the joints and prevent osteoarthritis even in youth.
Specific initial reactions with ankle problems:
Before you become accustomed to the kyBoot/kyBounder, the soft, elastic sole may feel shaky at first, and lateral/medial rolling of the ankle joint may even occur. Since this can cause pain, it is important to observe the ‘Application tips’. The kyBoot shoe and the kyBounder make the rollover motion much easier, which immediately improves the patient’s posture and gait and redistributes the strain across the entire musculoskeletal system. This process takes time and can lead to signs of excessive strain in the short term. If this occurs, please consult the tips regarding general initial reactions.
Click here for the general initial reactions experienced by kyBounder and kyBoot beginners: Initial reactions
For information about the special kybun shoe exercises or the basic kybun mat exercises, please click here: kybun exercises
- Upright body posture
- Do not make your steps too long
- Everyday/leisure: Walk with the kybun shoe or use the kybun mat as much as possible. Take note of fatigue > perform the kybun exercises regularly and take a short break if needed.
- Job: Sit as little as possible. Alternate sitting and standing in the beginning, and take along replacement shoes to change into
- If you feel unsafe/too unstable in the kybun shoe even after a test walk, we recommend a second generation kybun shoe model. These have a somewhat wider sole in the area of the midfoot, providing added stability. Seek advice from your local kybun shoe expert.
- If you find the second generation kybun shoe model too unstable for you as well, we recommend the kybun mat. You can choose the thickness you are comfortable with (the thicker, the less stable, the more intensive the training). You can also hold on to a fixed object. This can be helpful especially in the beginning after the operation, until you regain confidence in your feet.
- With ankle problems, precise movements are essential. Pay attention to exact movements and be sure to take a break in case of fatigue or weakness. Lateral/medial rolling of the ankle joint on the soft, elastic material has to be corrected so that the load is applied to the foot, knee and hip with proper axial alignment. Read more under ‘Lateral/medial rolling of the ankle joint’.
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