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Monofin suggestion for someone with a damaged ankle

Jacblue

Well-Known Member
Feb 21, 2009
58
6
48
Australia
Hi All,
I know it's another monofin suggestion thread (sorry about that!) just thought I'd ask around and see what people think. I'm currently using mainly cressi garas to swim with as although I do have a waterway model 1 soft monofin (which I've had for years) I find it really hard to use since damaging one of my ankles about a year and a half ago. The fin's always been overly tight around the top of my foot (I know monofins are meant to be tight and uncomfortable but I've never been happy with the fit of this one even before the ankle thing) but now I find after a few laps it becomes really painful due to the pressure it puts on this area of my foot and I can't use it. I can swim with my gara's for hours though without much of a problem so hoping it may just be a footpocket fit issue? I was hoping to wait and see, but it may be some time before I could use my monofin again so was thinking about buying a new one (It's been over a year and a half= monofin withdrawal symptoms :D ).

Anyone have any suggestions on possibilities? Ideally I'd like not to go backwards in proformance (Although I know that might not be possible if switching across to omer footpockets or similar). I've also got a bit of a budget I'd like to stick to so expensive-end fins like the dol-fin are probably out of my price range unfortunately especially since I've also got to figure in international postage costs on top of the cost of the fins themselves. Does anyone have any thoughts on footpocket sizing of the fins they're suggesting as well. (No way to try them on before buying). Alternatively I guess I could upgrade my bi-fins and dolphin kick away with those :)

Thanks in advance!
 

Apneaddict

Well-Known Member
Sep 2, 2010
1,339
369
123
Toronto, Canada
LunocetPro with comfortable cycling shoes.

In your case, triathlon cycling shoes might be just the ticket!

As a side note, I have found that finning (of increasing intensity / resistance and fin-strength) to be the BEST form of ankle strengthening and rehab. I repeatedly used to roll my ankle and even broke it doing so... I rehab'd it with finning, after years of scar tissue and improper self-setting.

I wish physiotherapists and sports rehab docs would incorporate finning into their ankle rehab programs. NOTHING comes close!
 
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Jacblue

Well-Known Member
Feb 21, 2009
58
6
48
Australia
Thanks for the suggestion. I've actually got to be careful with finning with the type of injury I did, lots of ligament and joint damage, was recommended against using long fins for a long time. Very easy for me to accidently overdo it and end up back at the physio. In saying that now that it seems a bit more stable, finning does seem to be helping strengthen it again :)

I was looking a the Lunocet but to be honest I'm uncertain about whether I want to spend that sort of money on something that has such divided reviews in both preformance and delivery times. Cycling shoes sound like they might be a good option though. I don't know, even though I really didn't want to go as high as the dol-fin, it seems to have more consistantly good reviews and also uses cycling shoes. Maybe I should save up and go that way, or stick to something cheaper with omer footpockets or similar. Not sure.
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
3,930
714
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Sarasota, Fla
Save your money and get a Dolfin. Maybe the Lunacet will continue to improve(its been getting steadily better) and Ted can beat his delivery problems.

In the meantime, What Cressi's are you using now? Cressi 2000 hfs dolphin kick pretty well, personal experience. They are very stiff and you would need to be careful with your ankles, but the last few years before getting a Dolfin, I was doing dolphin kick with them more and more. Much better on ascent. Dolphin is a very subtle stroke and having time to practice and perfect your technique isn't a bad thing.
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
3,930
714
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Sarasota, Fla
The really nice thing for you is how little strain the Dolfin (and, I think, the Lunacet) puts on your legs and ankles. You can do all sorts of different things with dolphin kick to work around weak ankles, plus the fin can act like very soft bifins if that is what you want. Crank up the power and it becomes more like a hard bifin.
 
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Jacblue

Well-Known Member
Feb 21, 2009
58
6
48
Australia
I'm currently using cressi gara 3000's (Originals not the LD's) They do get reasonably stiff in the cold water esp in the colder months so haven't gone with the 2000's which I think are stiffer? The 3000's are generally stiff enough for me. I do use them with a dolphin kick a lot of the time but have been told it's not that efficient to use with bi fins and I certaintly can travel further with a mono. I don't seem to be having too many ankle issues with the garas (A bitache-y if I really overdo it, but rarely more than that). Do you mean you found the gara's better on asent than the Dol-fin or that you found dolphin kick on ascent easier?
 
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Jacblue

Well-Known Member
Feb 21, 2009
58
6
48
Australia
Actually one other thing I've found is I am still favouring the bad ankle a bit (Not overly noticable with the bi fins but could feel the twisting in my back with the mono to compensate) I think I've heard the foils are not very forgiving of bad/uneven technique. Anyone know how much that's likely to affect performance? (If there's less stress on the ankle I'll probably favor it less but I suspect it'll still be at least a bit uneven for a while).
 
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Jacblue

Well-Known Member
Feb 21, 2009
58
6
48
Australia
Can anyone comment on what the special fins monos with the omer footpockets are like to use compared to fiberglass/open heel ones like my model 1 waterway? (Never used one, curious as to how they compare, I think they make a fiberglass, carbon and hybrid version). They would probably be the alternative to the dol-fin I'd be looking at. Thanks :)
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
3,930
714
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Sarasota, Fla
the 2000s are definitely stiffer than the 3000s. Big difference comparing the hfs to the Lds. Not sure about the older 3000s.

My 2000 hfs worked pretty well for dolphin, but not as well as a mono, especially the Dolfin. Basicly you need a stiff longfin to dolphin well because the bifins are either (a)much less efficient than a foil or (b)have much less surface area than a traditional mono. I found dolphin on ascent was better than a traditional bifin kick, stronger, much less burning legs.

You might have an issue with an uneven kick. I have one leg shorter than the other, which produces an uneven kick. You will notice it, but its not a problem to work around it, just takes some practice. For me, its no issue at all doing the kind of open water diving I like. Its just an issue doing dynamics fast. Might affect you on ascent from significant depth.

The Dolfin is extremely forgiving of bad technique. Mine was/is pretty awful, and the fin is still better than bifins, where my technique is good. Of course, the better your technique gets, the better the fin works. This shows up particularly on speed. Just mucking around on the reef, its not so important. The difference for me shows up most importantly in how tired I am at the end of the day. We do multiday trips and I'm an old coot, so tired is a big issue.
 
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Jacblue

Well-Known Member
Feb 21, 2009
58
6
48
Australia
Thanks cdavis for all the feedback it's good to know I'll have a good think about it :) Wish it wasn't so expensive otherwise it'd be worth trying out regardless, particularly since when I travel, I often leave my old mono at home due to size issues and worry about how many pieces it'll turn up in due to "delicate" handling at the airport (I can see why it's expensive, looks like it's well researched and built, just was above the budget I'd set myself). Anyway thanks again!

The 3000's are in between the hf and ld in stiffness I think.
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
3,930
714
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70
Sarasota, Fla
think I'd better qualify a couple of my comments. My observations apply to the x20. I own the prototype from which the x20 was developed, very similar characteristics. The Ocra is a different animal. I have not tried one, but the feed back from those who have is that is is more efficient but much less tolerant of bad, especially uneven technique. This is probably due to the single strut connection to the foil.
 
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Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
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I guess I'll chime in since I've had experience with some of these issues.

First, I sprained my ankle a few years ago (ice skating) and i messed with my diving for a winter. When I started back in the water I used my ankle brace to support my bad ankle with my bifins. I was able to slip it into the footpocket without any issues. Then, I tired my monofin and all ankle issues went away. I continued to just use my mono- even for spearfishing- until my ankle healed up enough to go back to bifins. I can still feel a slight difference in ankle strength a couple years later if I use my bifins all day long, but not enough to stop using them. I will say that softer is better with bi-fins and that my C4's don't change stiffeness as the water gets colder- or turns to ice. I used to use Picasso Blackteams (plastic fins) and they would be soft in the summer and stiff as boards diving under the ice. Carbon fins are always the same.

I also used to own a Specialfin's monofin. I loved the blade angle and the comfort of the footpockets. The durability sucked and the fin fell apart in less than a year. I sent it back to them once to try and repair it but that didn't even last a month. I would avoid them if you plan on diving a lot. I also owned a NEMO and the fin is built like a tank, but there is no angle to the blade and my kick suffered. If you do get a NEMo, make sure to go soft or medium- not hard.

I've used the first generation Lunocet and is was so crappy that I am not interested in ever trying another. It would NOT have been a good choice for any kind of ankle issue. It may have been fixed, but I wouldn't give it a second thought

I'm using a hyperfin these days and love the blade angle and how it supports my weak ankle, but the footpockets aren't the most comfortable. The DOLfin looks interesting, but I'm not in the market for a new fin just yet. Everything I've read, and seen, about it looks positive. I have a set of C4 Mustangs that seem to be doing the trick for most of what I do these days.

Whatever you choose I would look for something softer- not harder. It will be easier on your ankles and improve your technique.

Just my $0.02

Jon
 
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BennyB

will freedive for beer
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Sep 25, 2004
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www.freedivedownunder.com
Hi Jacblue,

I tore my Anterior Talofibular Ligament (ATFL) in August last year and could not put on a mono for months. After about 3 months I started trying to use small rubber fins again but with the ATFL the more downward kicking force applied, the more pain. So light kicking for a couple more months and it wasn't until about February that I put my mono on again. Light kicking was ok but as soon as I put the hammer down it all went to hell. Gradually though the strength built up. I saw an orthopaedic surgeon who said that it could take up to a year to heal. I tried a friend's Lunocet a month ago and it hurt like hell, it would be my LAST option if you have any ankle issues.
I use an Oleg Carbon monofin and I find the footpocket is good. It is a size larger than it should be which gives me plenty of extra time in the water without losing much of the energy from having a tighter footpocket.

I would suggest that any of the hyperfin styles might work ok, but get a size larger. Try and borrow a friend's to test first though.

Cheers,
Ben
 
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Apneaddict

Well-Known Member
Sep 2, 2010
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Toronto, Canada
Not sure what version of the Lunocet Benny used... But the new version would still strongly be my suggestion...

I would get comfy shoes and start out with the classic flukes.

As your strength improves / your rehab progresses, you can increase the stiffness of the main spring.

Initially you can focus on total body undulations and minimize ankle flexion.

A you progress, you can gradually add more and more ankle action.

When you can swim as you please with the classic flukes... Progress to the torquey pro flukes.

It seems like a MUCH more adaptable and progressive solution than buying a soft monofin with oversized footpockets.
 

Ted Ciamillo

BANNED
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Oct 21, 2013
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I guess I'll chime in since I've had experience with some of these issues.

First, I sprained my ankle a few years ago (ice skating) and i messed with my diving for a winter. When I started back in the water I used my ankle brace to support my bad ankle with my bifins. I was able to slip it into the footpocket without any issues. Then, I tired my monofin and all ankle issues went away. I continued to just use my mono- even for spearfishing- until my ankle healed up enough to go back to bifins. I can still feel a slight difference in ankle strength a couple years later if I use my bifins all day long, but not enough to stop using them. I will say that softer is better with bi-fins and that my C4's don't change stiffeness as the water gets colder- or turns to ice. I used to use Picasso Blackteams (plastic fins) and they would be soft in the summer and stiff as boards diving under the ice. Carbon fins are always the same.

I also used to own a Specialfin's monofin. I loved the blade angle and the comfort of the footpockets. The durability sucked and the fin fell apart in less than a year. I sent it back to them once to try and repair it but that didn't even last a month. I would avoid them if you plan on diving a lot. I also owned a NEMO and the fin is built like a tank, but there is no angle to the blade and my kick suffered. If you do get a NEMo, make sure to go soft or medium- not hard.

I've used the first generation Lunocet and is was so crappy that I am not interested in ever trying another. It would NOT have been a good choice for any kind of ankle issue. It may have been fixed, but I wouldn't give it a second thought

I'm using a hyperfin these days and love the blade angle and how it supports my weak ankle, but the footpockets aren't the most comfortable. The DOLfin looks interesting, but I'm not in the market for a new fin just yet. Everything I've read, and seen, about it looks positive. I have a set of C4 Mustangs that seem to be doing the trick for most of what I do these days.

Whatever you choose I would look for something softer- not harder. It will be easier on your ankles and improve your technique.

Just my $0.02

Jon
Hi Jon,

I'm sorry you had such a bad experience on the old luno... would you like to trade it in for a new Luno Pro?
 

luluca

New Member
I guess I'll chime in since I've had experience with some of these issues.

First, I sprained my ankle a few years ago (ice skating) and i messed with my diving for a winter. When I started back in the water I used my ankle brace to support ankle with my bifins. I was able to slip it into the footpocket without any issues. Then, I tired my monofin and all ankle issues went away. I continued to just use my mono- even for spearfishing- until my ankle healed up enough to go back to bifins. I can still feel a slight difference in ankle strength a couple years later if I use my bifins all day long, but not enough to stop using them. I will say that softer is better with bi-fins and that my C4's don't change stiffeness as the water gets colder- or turns to ice. I used to use Picasso Blackteams (plastic fins) and they would be soft in the summer and stiff as boards diving under the ice. Carbon fins are always the same.

I also used to own a Specialfin's monofin. I loved the blade angle and the comfort of the footpockets. The durability sucked and the fin fell apart in less than a year. I sent it back to them once to try and repair it but that didn't even last a month. I would avoid them if you plan on diving a lot. I also owned a NEMO and the fin is built like a tank, but there is no angle to the blade and my kick suffered. If you do get a NEMo, make sure to go soft or medium- not hard.

I've used the first generation Lunocet and is was so crappy that I am not interested in ever trying another. It would NOT have been a good choice for any kind of ankle issue. It may have been fixed, but I wouldn't give it a second thought

I'm using a hyperfin these days and love the blade angle and how it supports my weak ankle, but the footpockets aren't the most comfortable. The DOLfin looks interesting, but I'm not in the market for a new fin just yet. Everything I've read, and seen, about it looks positive. I have a set of C4 Mustangs that seem to be doing the trick for most of what I do these days.

Whatever you choose I would look for something softer- not harder. It will be easier on your ankles and improve your technique.

Just my $0.02

Jon
Yes, I did a similar thing. The ankle brace is useful to me. After many sprains, my ankle is unstable and often painful. I tried various braces and wraps, but couldn't find anything that fit my needs. Until I found the compression ankle braces, I immediately felt that the stability of the ankle joint was different.
 
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