9 Best Ways on How to Avoid Ankle Pain from Inversion Table

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Inversion therapy helps to ease pain caused by spinal stenosis, herniated discs, or other spinal conditions.

The treatment uses an inversion table to hold you in an inverted position. It helps to release pressure from bones and muscles through gravity.

However, some people have reported ankle pain from inversion table use.

If you are undergoing this kind of challenge or would like to prevent foot injury from using an inversion table, you might want to observe the following simple mistakes while using one.

ankle pain from inversion table

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Using an Inversion Table

One of the reasons you are experiencing ankle pain while using an inversion table is the failure to observe usage guidelines. 

You need to ensure you have the tools to provide sufficient ankle comfortincluding the right shoes. 

An inversion table offers a safe process, but with little or no observation of usage guidelines, you will end hurting yourself. 

Here are a few of the things you should consider while using an inversion table.

Choose an Inversion Table With Padded Straps or Gravity Boots

Most of the pressure exerted while using an inversion table goes to your feet, which includes the ankles. 

Many times, users have complained that the process hurts their ankles and leaves them with ankle problems that only serve to complicate their situation. 

You can protect your ankles from getting sore by choosing a table with padded ankle straps. You can also use gravity boots for more comfort and protection (see a detailed discussion on gravity boots and ankle straps below). 

Always wear shoes and socks to limit ankle pain from the inversion table.

Make the process gradual; don’t hurry

Your body requires sufficient preparation to handle the whole process. Since the body is not naturally inclined upside down, going too fast at first might trigger painful reactions.

Increase the inversion angle slowly until you can hit the 60 degrees angle. Remember, this tilt causes additional pressure to your feet and head, so rushing it might cause injuries or pain.

Please don’t overdo it

Although an inversion table can alleviate pain to heal your back, it might cause problems in other areas or aggravate your situation if used without moderation.

It would be best if you were careful not to overdo it. If you don’t want to experience ankle pain after inversion table use, set a timer to be precise and try different angles until you can get the most comfortable position.

Avoid cheap models

I understand your budget might not be within the recommendations of this suggestion, but what we are trying to say here is that quality in itself qualifies as a safety incentive.

While you might find inexpensive models that will serve you well, there have been more complaints about cheap models, and you don’t want to gamble with your body.

It does not mean going for the most expensive unit, but the general rule should be to avoid models priced too good to be true. A good inversion table offers more comfortable heel cushions and ankle pads.

Make Your Ankles More Comfortable While Using an Inversion Table

One of the questions many of us would ask is, why does an inversion table hurt my ankles? The most obvious answer to this is the failure to adopt a relaxed approach to using the inversion table.

Here are some of the things you need to observe that will help you to improve comfort and prevent ankle problems afterward

Use gravity boots

What can you put on your ankles while using the inversion table to prevent ankle problems? You can rely on gravity boots to shield your ankles and get the comfort you need to practice using an inversion table.

Gravity boots provide sufficient ankle support as they encase your ankles to provide more stability and ensure better weight distribution. It is something you should get, especially if you are the kind of person that uses an inversion table for prolonged periods.

Some models come with gravity boots, but it’s always advisable to consider buying a new pair if the stock version does not offer sufficient padding and protection.

Wear lace-up shoes and socks

It seems like a simple suggestion but used consistently. It might prevent ankle pain from inversion table useGood shoes and socks ensure additional cushioning that effectively supports your ankles while you are inverting.

A good example would be tennis shoes while avoiding high top sneakers like those worn by basketball players.

Adjust the cups

Another suggestion that might appear valid yet straightforward is to adjust the cups accordingly. When you invert, the body shifts and the ankle cups will also rotate up.

It’s advisable to turn the cups slightly downward before mounting. Doing so allows them to turn while holding the back of your ankles tightly and comfortably.

Adjust your angle

The angle of inversion also affects weight distribution. Inverting too far, maybe up to 90 degrees (full inversion), might strain your body, especially if it’s your first time.

To ease off, begin with an inversion of about 30-45 degrees then increase gradually based on how your body responds. To be perfect at inverting takes some practice, and you should let your body adapt with a gradual increase of inversion angle over time.

Doing this will protect your ankles, and you will enjoy the results.

Customize to fit your body type

Your body type is also a factor you should keep in mind to protect your ankles from pain while using an inversion table. To prevent slide on the table bed when it’s inverted, you should customize the table to work with the ideal ankle comfort dial setting.

It ensures it rotates smoothly and provides both the front and rear ankle cups to help to secure every part of your ankles.

Quick basic operation guidelines – Using an Inversion Table

The ultimate way to ensure maximum benefits from using an inversion table is to understand how to operate one effectively.

It will prevent ankle pain, but it will ensure your body reaps the benefits of using the equipment. Here are several steps you should always follow while using the inversion table:

  1. Secure the table on a flat surface and ensure all joints, pivot points, and straps are connected correctly. Read the instructional manual thoroughly to understand how to use the table properly. While using it for the first time, have a friend who can help you ensure you don’t hurt yourself.
  2. Put on athletic shoes as these provide extra firm support. Avoid using your inversion table with bare feet.
  3. Step into position and position your back toward the table. Slowly raise your feet, one at a time, onto the steps, and lean forward while keeping your back straight to pull the inversion table lever and lock your feet in position.
  4. Fix the straps over your body. It can be different depending on the table you are using, so use any securing mechanism provided to secure your body.
  5. Grab the straps on both sides and push them off to invert your body.
  6. Make sure to get back to a horizontal position for about one or two minutes to allow blood adjustments. Note that you should always use gentle movements while on the inversion table because this is meant to calm back pain and not aggravate the condition.

Using an inversion table should not lead to more pain. One of the most common issues people note is ankle pain from the inversion table.

It is because of the failure to observe a few guidelines mentioned here.

To avoid pain when using an inversion table, you should wear the right shoes, take the process slowly, and adjust your angle well.

Check out this link to learn more about inversion therapy to alleviate back pain.

Dr. Lucas Carrera is a board certified physiatrist. He graduated from University of New Hampshire. Dr. Carrera received his medical education from Boston University School of Medicine and completed his residency at Harvard Medical School.