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Summer Footwear and Smart Ankles

ankle support summer

"Prehabilitation" and Regular Chiropractic Care

Regular chiropractic care is an important component of all biomechanical rehabilitation protocols. We may consider that "prehabilitation" is even more valuable to a person than is effective rehabilitation. After all, preventing an injury from happening in the first place is that much better than being able to recover rapidly from damage that might have been avoided.

Prehabilitation involves improving a person's physical fitness, including flexibility, endurance, and durability. Common to all these enhancements is regular chiropractic care. By detecting, analyzing, and correcting spinal biomechanical dysfunction, regular chiropractic care helps enable your body to perform effectively physical tasks such as exercise. With regular chiropractic care, the various components of your musculoskeletal system, that is, the bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments, all become much smarter and learn how to function at peak levels. Overall, regular chiropractic care helps you avoid injuries and get the most out of the valuable time you spend exercising.

Summer has arrived and, on the weekends at least, many of us have replaced our boots, oxfords, heels, and pumps with sandals and flip-flops. We want to lose all traces of the long winter and revel in warm, fragrant summer breezes. The summer experience is enhanced by freeing our feet from their long confinement and exposing our toes to the sunshine and fresh air. The only downside is the potential, for some of us, to suffer a foot and/or ankle injury owing to the inadequate support offered by summer footwear.

From a biomechanical perspective, during the eight months or so of the year that you're wearing regular shoes and boots, your feet and ankles adapt to the configuration and support provided by your footwear. In fact, your feet and ankles come to depend on your footwear and your built-in physiological support systems "dumb down."  As weight-bearing support is being provided by footwear, your innate neurological mechanisms don't have much to do. These integrated networks receive less information, send reduced numbers of signals, and begin to lose cohesion. The summer switch to flip-flops and sandals withdraws the artificial support, and your deconditioned neurological networks are unprepared to provide the critical services of maintaining integrity of balance and gait. The unwelcome results may include foot muscle strains, depressed foot arches, and ankle sprains. Any of these would seriously impact your summer fun.

Of course, our choice of footwear represents our own personal sense of style and may even be situated in a personal cultural context. We do need to be aware of the impact of these apparel choices on our overall health and welfare, and the availability of actions we can take to restore the optimal functioning of our internal physiological support systems. The primary action is to engage in exercises that enhance the function of proprioceptors, specialized nerve cells found in all joints, especially weight-bearing joints such as the spine, hips, knees, and ankles.

Proprioception is your body's awareness of position in three-dimensional space. Your ability to walk is based on extensive training of the proprioception system when you were a toddler. Ballet dancers and gymnasts take years of daily classes in order to obtain the results of highly efficient and robust proprioception. Even tasks such as writing and typing are based on years of similar training. The good news is that the training we need to make a smooth transition from winter to summer footwear is simple and easy.1-3

The single exercise required is known as the "flamingo" or "stork" exercise, which provides specific training for ankle and foot proprioceptors. You stand near a wall and lightly touch the wall with your fingertips (thus, preventing falls). To begin, stand on the right leg and place the left foot beside the right knee, so that the left knee is bent and facing front. Balance on the right leg and maintain this position for 20 seconds. You'll notice that your right ankle will wobble back and forth as it readjusts to stabilize your weight. Then switch sides, and repeat. This simple method, done two or three times each day during the winter, will maintain the intelligence and awareness of your proprioception system even though you're wearing enclosed footwear. When you break out your sandals and flip-flops in June, right around the summer solstice, you'll be prepared to enjoy the long, sun-filled days of summer.

  1. Hall EA, et al: Strength-training protocols to improve deficits in participants with chronic ankle instability: a randomized controlled trial. J Athl Train 50(1):36-44, 2015
  2. Hale SA, et al: Bilateral improvements in lower extremity function after unilateral balance training in individuals with chronic ankle instability. J Athl Train 49(2):181-191, 2014
  3. Wright CJ, et al: Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing Rehabilitation Efficacy in Chronic Ankle Instability. J Sport Rehabil  2016 Feb 26. [Epub ahead of print]

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Located on the corner of Atlantic and Bedford Streets across from the Ferguson Library and McDonalds on the second floor of the Bank of America building


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2nd Floor
Norwalk, CT 06851

Located on the corner of Main Avenue and Valley View Road across the street from Merritt Building 301

We value our patients' experience at Stamford Sports & Spine. If you are currently a patient, please feel free to complete the following Client Experience Questionnaire. The Questionnaire is in Adobe Acrobat format, and requires the free Acrobat Reader to view.

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Dr. Andrew Zomick & Dr. David Avallon

I have been coming to Stamford Sports and Spine for almost 10 years. I am active and have unfortunately been in a few car accidents. The care and treatment offered at Stamford Sports and Spine is world class and without them I would be living with an inordinate amount of pain and discomfort. Going to Stamford Sports and Spine has made my injuries manageable.


Very good team of therapists. Flexible and available schedule. They helped get my teenage athletes back on the field in half the time.


I was experiencing some pain in my right shoulder and numbness down my arm to my hand. The range of motion in my shoulder was limited and I could not participate in volleyball. Dr. Z came to our office offering a free chair massage and a chance to come in for an evaluation. I did this and we worked out a treatment plan that included therapy and adjustments. I noticed in the first few weeks the pain subsided greatly in my shoulder. The numbness in the arm and hand were present but noticeably better. After three weeks, the range of motion in my shoulder was back to normal and the pain was gone. Now after one month of therapy the numbness in the arm is extremely better and I do not notice the symptoms as often as I used to. Coming into the office has helped tremendously. I can now play volleyball pain-free.


After moving from London to the USA, two weeks into living in Stamford and having carried and unpacked a lot of heavy boxes my shoulder froze and I was in a great deal of constant pain. After finding Stamford Sports & Spine on the internet I made an appointment and the corrective programme S.S.S. put together for me meant that I immediately had some pain relief, and over the next few weeks the pain left completely. The programme is also ensuring that I am not only pain free but fully corrected so as this problem should not occur again. Very friendly staff and very detailed assessment programme that has ensured my full recovery.


From my first visit to Stamford Sports & Spine I was extremely impressed and pleased with their service. Everyone including staff and doctors were very knowledgeable with their chiropractic services. I learned a great deal about my symptoms and overall care more than I expected. I have visited a few other chiropractors but none were as thorough as Stamford Sports & Spine. I was experiencing severe pain in my shoulder and arm and after a few visits my pain decreased substantially. I really appreciate all the services from the adjustments, rollers and even exercise room. I would highly recommend this facility to everyone. The entire staff are friendly, professional and just simply great!


Everyone was incredibly professional and helpful.  The staff is friendly and goes beyond what was expected to meet my needs and education me about my condition.


Came in with severe and constant numbness and tingling in my legs and feet. The treatment worked quickly and resolved all of my symptoms. Thanks!


My arms were falling asleep every night and had numbness and tingling during the day. I no longer have any of those symptoms during the day and have very rare episodes of pain at night due to my treatment here at Stamford Sports & Spine


I came in for hip pain and stiff neck that also affected my right arm and hand. Using the relaxing rolling / traction bed and electrical muscle stimulation along with stretching and the adjustments my hip pain is gone. I can walk without sharp pains running up and down my legs. My neck range of motion has improved and my muscles are more flexible and less spastic.


I had severe neck pain which was aggravated by a recent move. I have been coming to be adjusted for a few weeks now and not only has it helped with the neck pain I had been experiencing, but it has also made me feel better overall. I feel like I am able to sit up straighter, and my muscles are looser and less tense. I no longer have the intense pain I had once been experiencing


When I came in my pain was a 10 out of 10. After just one week of care my pain went down to a 4 and has been improving ever since. The staff are very friendly and great educators. I learned a lot about my body and how to take better care of myself.


After a car accident,  I had to seek help for my upper back and neck pain. Slowly but surely I started to feel better, not immediately, but by keeping up with my visits with Dr. Q & Dr. Z. Now I can tell you that I feel leaps and bounds better, and am now looking forward to a pain-free summer.


I have been with Stamford Sports & Spine for more than a year now. I still remember how much pain I was in during my first session. I can now walk in and out without any aches or pains.


When I first started going to Stamford Sports & Spine, my back had been seizing up with alarming regularity. After just a few months of working with Dr. Z and Dr. Q, I feel much more confident in my daily activities and have even been able to return to the gym.


Thank you to Dr. Z, Dr. Q and the whole Stamford Sports & Spine team! For many years, I have been suffering from severe back pain that would sometimes keep me from going to work. The recurring pain would come and go and I couldn't figure out what I was doing to cause it. When I came to the office, Dr. Z took x-rays, did a complete examination and educated me as to what was happening and why. I began treatment and was given exercises to prevent these injuries from happening in the future. Since starting the treatment, I have seen a great improvement in my back. The pain is gone and I have an increased range of motion. Thanks again to the entire staff who are very friendly and always willing to accommodate my hectic schedule when I make appointments.


The strabismus in my eyes caused a vertical deviation in my eye placement.  This resulted in my head naturally tilting to the right and throwing my muscular structure in my neck and shoulders off.  I had accepted the tilt and tightness as a way of life and a natural dis-figuration of my spine.  I almost didn't sign on for initial treatment.  After 3 visits I have already noticed a difference in the position of my head, my posture and regular comfort levels.  There is still a ways to go to rid that area of  a lifetime of dysfunction, but what a relief to know it's treatable and already improving.


I found Dr. Z and Dr. Q earlier in the week after experiencing some back pain and sciatica. After the consultation and x-rays I began therapy. After just 2 treatments I felt much better and had a significant reduction in discomfort in the area of concern. I am looking forward to continuing my treatment in an effort for long term recovery and a return to my heavy exercise routine.


FANTASTIC. When I leave I feel like a whole new woman. I have been going there for my neck pain and headaches for about 1 year now; off and on and ever since I started treatment there my headaches have been reduced to one every few months instead of a few every month. The intensity of of my pain has also been reduced to almost nothing. The doctors seem to have a very friendly relationship with all of the patients and I feel very welcomed by the staff as well. Not to mention I love how they incorporate therapeutic massages into my treatment. I have since sent over many of my colleagues and family, who also share the same feelings. Thank you.


I had a great experience. My low back pain is completely gone. I found the staff extremely knowledgeable, accommodating and friendly. I would highly recommend them.

--Jay F.

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