If you have weak ankles, you most likely have a neuromuscular compensation problem
Neuromuscular problem—sounds serious. Certainly, but when it comes to weak ankles it is not nearly as serious as all the pain your ankles have given you. The problem, to various degrees, is very common and easily fixed if you know how. Let me just tell you at the outset what will happen when you start wearing ProKinetics® Insoles. Your calf muscles will become increasingly relaxed. You will start to allow your ankles to roll more inward instead of them wanting to roll out. Your gait will soften so your hotel neighbor downstairs can sleep through you walking across your room above. You have a hard heel strike! If your toes have a tendency to point in, they will normalize and point straight forward. If you have had multiple ankle injuries, structural injuries still remain, but your overall situation will be improved because you are no longer posturing your heel strike for more injuries. Your feet and body will feel more stable and relaxed.
If your thought right now is let me just have a pair and get started, you can go direct to the bottom of the page and order here, but since so many of our customers have seen several doctors to solve this problem they all appreciate finally understanding why they had weak ankles.
Supination (explained below) and weak ankles are not very well understood by most doctors
Several years ago a study was undertaken in Australia with over 10,000 subjects to survey ankle injuries in sports (Ankle Injuries in Basketball: Injury Rate and Risk Factors,' British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 35, pp. 103-108, 2001). They found the #1 risk factor was a prior ankle injury. They also found that cushioned heels were contributing significant risk. Nike wasn't very happy about that finding, but as you read on you will understand why cushioned heels contribute to the problem of ankle injuries..
This study didn't really shed much light on the root cause of why people injure their ankles. The question is really what caused you to twist your ankle the first time. We are not surprised as we know that around 60% of the population has various degrees of propensity to roll their ankles. We know exactly why this occurs, but not very many podiatrists do. An article written in 2006 by a podiatrist expresses surprise that our insole technology works surprisingly well in stabilizing the ankle, but it flies in the face of commonly accepted podiatry practice.
If your ankles are unstable you are most likely what is called a supinator, or you have a tendency for your ankles to lean out, especially at heel strike. There is a unique reason for it, and it is fixed quickly with ProKinetics® Insoles
If you just rather try our insoles and learn about your foot mechanics later, you can find the order links here, but I think you will appreciate this. When you have experienced how well ProKinetics® Insoles work for ankle instability, you can educate your podiatrist or orthopedist.
You may have heard about Morton’s Foot Syndrome. It means the first metatarsal, the bone that connects from the mid foot to the base of the big toe, is too short relative to the second metatarsal. The space between the first and second toes is deeper than the space between the second and third toes. Dr. Dudley Morton discovered that it created an imbalance in the feet that affected gait. Morton’s Foot Syndrome is referred to in the medical literature as a major perpetuator of foot, muscle and joint problems.
Dr. Morton also concluded that people who had this structural problem had a hyper mobile first metatarsal. We think, and many agree, he mistook hyper mobility for an elevated first metatarsal. It is very easy to demonstrate this on yourself by simply performing a knee bend, so before taking you through the details of why your ankles are unstable and why our insoles take care of it, I suggest you do this test on yourself. It will make what follows more informative, and statistically you have an 80% chance this applies to you. If it does your troubles are over!
First, stand on a hard surface with your feet comfortably apart, toes straight forward and feet parallel. Lean slightly forward and bend your knees so that your hips drop 8-10 inches straight down. Keep your back vertical—don't squat, and keep your heels on the floor.
Your knees should neither move inward (medially) nor outward (laterally) when you bend them, so if you have to, force your knees to move straight forward so they are aligned with the middle of your feet (third toes).
Next, from this position, move your knees slowly toward each other until you feel full weight bearing pressure under the balls of your feet behind your big toes. Not all the pressure, but at least as great as anywhere else under your feet.
If you have to move your knees inward to make the inside of your feet weight bearing, you have proven to yourself you have an elevated first metatarsal. If you seem to feel weight bearing on the inside of your feet when you stand and walk normally, it is because your legs are out of alignment—probably the cause of your foot, ankle, knee, hip, back, shoulder, or neck pain.
If you conclude that this applies to you, please read on, because the solution is at the end of this page.
Since most podiatrists do not consider neuromuscular responses, it is no surprise they are not familiar with how your brain responds to the elevated first metatarsal. Posture and body mechanics was integral to medical practice 50 years ago but haven't been taught for decades. As a result, so doctors usually don't think about it. Specialists who understand body mechanics have a better appreciation of these problems.
Pronation and Supination
Pronation and supination is just a description of the motion of the foot relative to the leg. Pronation means your ankles lean in, and if you supinate, which is typical for people with weak ankles, your ankles lean out.
As you were just doing the knee bend and moving your knees inward, your feet were pronating. Ideally your feet should operate slightly pronated through most of the gait cycle, starting from a neutral (non pronated) heel strike and ending with a neutral toe off. Neutral means your feet are neither pronated nor supinated.
Over pronation means your feet are pronating too much. It can occur right from your heel strike through toe off, but is most common in late stance, after the heel has lifted off the ground. Podiatrists think you over pronate because your arches collapse.
If you look at the wear pattern of your shoes you might see you wear hard on the outside of your heels and that you wear hardest from the middle of the foot toward the outside in the fore foot. If you ask your podiatrist why you are walking on the outside of your feet, you may be told it’s because you have very high arches. And that’s why you need orthotics to redistribute some of the outside pressure to the inside of your feet. What you'll get is an arch support with a heel shim on the outside of your heels.
Most people can feel a grain of sand under the balls of their feet. The feet are unusually sensitive to touch, and for a reason. What is felt under your feet, through your nervous system and your brain, controls the muscles throughout your body and therefore your posture and gait. When a part of the foot does not get the signals or gets erroneous signals, your brain is unable to determine how to control muscles correctly from your feet to your head. It negatively impacts your gait and destabilizes your posture. If you walk on the outside of your feet, signals from the first metatarsal are missing.
The bottom line is that your brain has trouble interpreting the signals from your feet. How you respond depends a lot on information the brain gathers from other locations in your body, ankles, knees hips etc. If you structurally pronate as you demonstrated doing the knee bend, you have two choices. Freely follow your structure and over pronate, causing your knees to go in, or use your muscles to prevent it. Your brain may conclude without your help that this motion causes too much strain on your knees, hips and back, so it decides to correct it (just like your hands on heat). This compensation uses the wrong muscles, and is typically exaggerated, so you go from being a structural over pronator to a functional supinator, walking on the outside of your feet. When you supinate, your ankles have no protection because we don't have much muscle power to protect the ankle from rolling. That is made worse by shoes with cushioned, unstable heels.
Fixing the problem
In order for your gait and posture to work right, we have to restore the proper connection between the ground, your feet and your brain. That means we need to get your first metatarsal down on the ground.
An outside the box thinking podiatrist invented these insoles. He was curious why so many of his patients only got temporary relief from pain when wearing standard arch support orthotics. He observed that patients who had bunion surgery often redeveloped bunions just a few years later. He had a distinct sense he was missing something important. He had a background in engineering, so he naturally started thinking about forces and motion rather than just structure.
He discovered the problem of the elevated first metatarsal. He started experimenting. Initially he compensated 100% for the elevation you could measure when your knees were properly aligned, but it didn’t work. It was too much. His patients became unsteady, some became dizzy and felt nauseous. Through experimentation we have learned that a very small amount of compensation is needed because unlike arch support, the small wedge placed underneath the first metatarsal and big toe works congruously with the body. The body likes it and amplifies its effect.
The small wedge really works as a timing device
Wearing ProKinetics® Insoles, when you shift weight to your forefoot, you cause a small amount of pressure to be applied to the inside of your foot slightly earlier than would be the case without them. We are talking fractions of a second. Because the foot is extremely sensitive, this signal, even though it is weak, is immediately registered and passed to your brain. The natural response of your brain is to maintain equilibrium, so it instructs the muscles controlling the first metatarsal to oppose the force. That is the natural response for all muscles. If you hold your arm out and I try to push it down, your brain will automatically push back without you thinking about it. Unless my pressure overcomes your strength, you have to consciously let go for your arm to drop. The same thing happens with the first metatarsal. It pushes against the floor with increasing pressure and as your heel lifts, it will push back even harder. With the first metatarsals firmly on the ground, your feet become balanced, your brain receives corrected signals from your feet, and muscles all over your body will adjust accordingly.
Balanced feet change everything
Recently we got a call from a customer who had been referred by a friend. His friend had seen a doctor, and once the doctor concluded that he had an elevated first metatarsal he said, "Your troubles are over". He fit him with ProKinetics® Insoles and his troubles were over.
With a stable, normally pronating foot your legs will come into proper alignment. No excessive torque in your ankles, knees and hips to cause pain. Your hips will level and become less forward rotated, so the pressure in your lower back and your back pain will go away. Your spine will be straighter, your shoulders will come back and your head will be over your spine instead of jutting forward. This is why ProKinetics Insoles solve so many problems—the insoles really just initiate the action, and your body makes the correction. ProKinetics® Insoles work by stimulating your neuromuscular system.
Start your RISK-FREE trial by choosing shoe style
All our insole styles work exactly the same way. The Ultra Thin (black) can be worn in most shoes, and our Replacement insoles (brown cover) are designed to take the place of the original insoles that came with your shoes. Choose style based on the shoes you wear the most or alternative #1 for maximum versatility.
ProKinetics®Natural Body Balance™ Ultra Thin and Replacement insoles are covered by a full 90 day functional guarantee and a 6 month limited warranty covering product material failures.
US customers may return this product to Posture Dynamics within 90 days of date of order for a full refund including standard domestic outbound shipping and handling charges (USPS Priority Mail).
Customers outside the US should check the return policies of their local distributor, or if purchased from Posture Dynamics through MortonsFoot.com, may return the product for a full refund for the product purchase price only.