Running is your favorite thing to do whenever you have a free hour, but you could definitely do without the ankle pain from running. Here’s what may be causing that pesky pain and what you can do to free yourself from it.
Ankle Pain from Running
You love almost everything about running -- how your heart pounds when you crank up the speed, how efficient your lungs have become, how strong you feel. But the ankle pain from running has you feeling like you’ve just lived through the infamous ankle-hobbling scene in the movie Misery.
Here’s what may be causing your sore ankles, what you can do to soothe them, and when you know you should take a break from running.
Your Tendons Might Be To Blame
You have multiple tendons in your ankle area, and that gives you a lot of opportunities for pain when they get inflamed. Inflammation of the tendons is known as tendinitis.
Because of the placement of your tendons, if you suffer from tendinitis, you might feel pain on any side of your ankle.
With tendinitis, you might feel pain when you first start running only to find it goes away during the remainder of your run. Then, once your run is over, it reappears.
Tendinitis can be caused by several factors, like flat feet or low arches. If you tend to run in one direction only or you’ve improperly added mileage without following the often-cited 10 percent rule, you could be setting the stage for tendinitis.
If you suspect tendinitis, use ice, which is a runner’s go-to treatment, multiple times a day for about 10 minutes each time and do some easy stretches targeting that area. In the meantime, either take a rest day or reduce how many miles you run until you feel better.
Is It Possible You Sprained Your Ankle?
Did you stumble at all during your last run? Is it possible you sprained or twisted your ankle without even realizing it?
Sometimes with a sprained ankle, you may have some bruising or swelling, but not always. Minor strains are less obvious, and you’ll need to pay attention to how your body is feeling to gauge what’s happening.
The key with sprains and strains is to act fast. Don’t keep running on them. With sprains and strains, you should take some time off from running. The length of time you need to take off depends on the severity of the injury.
Could It Be a Stress Fracture?
Have you had prior problems with your ankle? Do you routinely increase the number of miles you run -- sometimes dramatically?
If you have an injury that is severe enough, there’s no way you should run while injured. You might have a stress fracture. Stress fractures are small cracks in your bone, and they require about six weeks off from running.
Baby Your Feet and Ankles
Runners spend a lot of their time training themselves not to listen to their bodies. We ignore pain and we tend to tough it out. We are competitors, and we’re willing to suffer a bit for our sport.
But part of your success and happiness as a runner will depend upon learning to listen to your body once your run is over. If you really feel a rest day would do you good, you should take one, even if it isn’t on your schedule. As runners, we know the difference between simply feeling lazy and actually needing a break.
If you notice any kind of ankle pain from running, take a step back from your goals and evaluate the situation just as you would if a fellow runner was having the problem. While no runner wants to take time off the streets or trails, sometimes it’s exactly what you need so that your running career isn’t sidelined permanently.