Running is perhaps the most accessible form of aerobic exercise one can do. But as it is with any form of exercise, the risk of injury persists. Ankle pain is among the most common issues that runners are plagued with. But don’t let that discourage you from going after those sweet cardio gains, as we come to you with tips for Prevention and Treatment of Ankle Pain Caused by Running. This piece will help you minimize your ankle pain and in some instances, even eliminate it completely.
Well, you already have ankle pain, what now? Now we can’t help you prevent it if you already have it, but we can help you figure out the causes behind it and knowing those will prevent you from elevating your pain further by avoiding the cause of the issue. There are numerous causes behind ankle pain while running but the most common include:
Wrong Kind of Shoes
Emphasizing the accessibility of running, all you really need in equipment is a pair of shoes and voilà, you are good to go. But wait, what kind of shoes do I need, you ask yourself in your quest for fitness. Well, dear reader, you need a pair of good running shoes. You need to look for a few things in your running shoes. A good pair provides substantial midsole cushioning, for those hard knocks on the pavement; it reduces the stress placed on the heel, ankles and toes during a run. They also have arch support for the flat footed among us. A good pair of shoes will go a long way to prevent injuries and oftentimes even improve athletic performance.
Training A Little Too Much
You like to train, we get that but as the saying goes “Everything in moderation”. Training too hard for too long can result in over straining of your body without giving it enough time to recuperate, you will need to cut back on your running for better result and less discomfort.
Lack of Mobility
Being too eager for progress might have the adverse effect. Before every run, stretch adequately and warm up, as skipping this or not doing enough of it will cause mobility issues which result in ankle pain directly.
Unsurprisingly, an injury suffered previously can flare up if stressed before healing in its entirety. A sprain for instance might become unbearable if you run before it has had a chance to heal completely, nothing else you can do but rest and consult a physician for the best exercises and stretches to reduce the pain.
An Ankle Sprain
Sprain is a stretch or a tear in the tissue that connects two or more bones (ligaments), these results in pain, bruising and swelling of the ankle. But worry not, it is rarely serious and can be treated at home with care and minimal effort.
An Ankle Strain
A strain is a stretch or a tear in the tissue that connects the muscle to the bone (tendons), the symptoms of a strain are pain and swelling, often accompanied by muscle spasms and cramping. Much like a sprain, they are rarely serious and mild strains can be treated at home.
They are pesky little cracks in a bone that are typically caused by repetitive force and overuse, runners often experience stress fractures if they run excessive miles or increase the mileage by adding in extra days to their routine. Changing surfaces might also cause stress fractures like switching from treadmill to outdoor tracks. Lack of proper nutrition also results in stress fractures, so make sure to take in plenty of Vitamin D and Calcium. While these do sometimes require a doctor, most stress fractures heal on their own over time with reduced activity and protective footwear.
It is the inflammation or irritation of a tendon, accompanied by dull ache especially when moving the affected area, tenderness and mild swelling. Fear not; as scary as it may sound, Tendinitis responds well to self-care measures but if it is persistent and interferes with your daily activity for more than a few days, do see a doctor.
Ankle Pain Prevention
As they say “prevention is better than cure”. As mentioned before, knowing the causes goes a long way to preventing the issue, appropriate footwear helps substantially, a good choice of the path you take on your run further improves your chances, softer ground is softer on your joints and hence helps in prevention of ankle pain. This might seem superfluous but staying in great shape is a good way to prevent ankle pain, maintain a healthy weight and put less strain on your ankle joints this way, so eat healthy, train healthy and as a result, prevent injury. And finally, it is equally crucial to warm up. Never begin running without stretching out and performing mobility exercises beforehand. Ankle pain while running is largely preventable.
Ankle Pain Treatment
Well, you know the most common causes, you know the best way to prevent it to a certain extent, now for the treatment. Almost all of us are susceptible to ankle pain during or after a run, even the most precautious among us suffer from a mishap now and then, so it is best to know what to do if and when that occurs. The best way to go about is stretching and strengthening and the ever reliable PRICE method. Any minor injury like a mild sprain, strain and tendinitis can be treated at home using PRICE therapy. PRICE stands for protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation. PRICE method is a must know if you are involved in any sort of sport or exert yourself physically as it is the best way to relieve pain caused by a minor injury. While stress fractures do take longer to heal, all you really need to treat them is ice messages, rest and elevation. In case of stress fractures, rest period of roughly two to eight weeks is recommended. Consult a doctor immediately if you suspect anything serious.
When to Visit a Doctor – While seldom, ankle pain can be a sign for something more serious than a mild sprain or strain, so a visit to the doctor is might become a necessity, question is when to do so? Well
- If your pain lasts longer than three to four days.
- If even after a week of rest, you are unable to run.
- You can’t bear weight on your ankle.
- Your ankle feels numb or unstable.
- You show symptoms of infection (the ankle becomes very red or red streaks extend from your injury).
- You’ve had multiple ankle injuries prior to the current incident.