Running is one of the best things you can do for your health. We’ve been doing it since we stepped onto this Earth -- humans used to go out running to hunt for food; now we do it to stay in shape. But, even though it’s natural to run, sometimes, the more we run the more pain we feel. In today’s article, we are going to cover the topic of why your ankles hurt while running. If this is something that interests you, keep reading.
A Bit About The Ankle Anatomy
If you are experiencing pain in a particular part of your body, in this case your ankle, then it’s important to understand the anatomy of that part. Knowing the anatomy will help you understand what’s going on with it.
In the case of your ankle, you have three joints, four ligaments, and seven bones. This means that there are a lot of places where things can go wrong -- especially when you take into account your ankle is taking most of the impact when you are out running.
Common Reasons Why Your Ankles Hurt While Running
1. It’s not pain, it’s soreness!
The very first thing you need to understand when it comes to running -- or any other form of exercise -- is that your body takes a little while to adjust to it. Even veteran runners will experience intense soreness after taking a long break from their beloved sport.
Before panic sets in, take a moment to breathe and think: is it pain or is it soreness? If you are just starting out now, coming back from a long break, or pushed yourself harder than usual, you might be sore and in no trouble at all.
2. Your running technique needs some work.
Believe it or not, there are different running techniques you can use. You might think it’s all about left foot forward, right foot forward -- but it goes deeper than that. In fact, the technique you are supposed to use depends on the type of shoes you’re wearing. Faulty running technique can cause injuries. Consider watching the following video to see if you are using a proper technique
3. You sprained your ankle.
A poor running technique or poor running terrain can lead to ligament problems after your ankle bends in a way it’s not supposed to. A sprain is a ligament tear, which can range from mild to severe. They usually heal on their own, but they might require surgery if the ligament is ruptured. Don’t worry! Nine times out of ten, surgery is out of the question.
4. You have developed tendinitis.
A lot of people fall in love with running soon after they start -- and that means that soon enough, they’ll overdo it. If you run a little too much, you are bound to develop tendinitis. It sounds serious, but it’s neither uncommon nor life-changing.
Tendinitis is a mere inflammation of the tendons that causes stiffness and swelling. It often feels like a pinching sensation that shoots down from your ankle down to your foot.
5. You have one or more stress fractures.
Another consequence of pushing beyond your running limits is a stress fracture. It feels similar to tendinitis but instead of pain coming from inflammation in your joints, it comes from micro-fractures in your ankles’ bones. More often than not, these tiny fractures heal on their own, it’s not a regular bone-breaking experience.
How Can I Treat My Bad Ankles?
So, what’s the next step? First things first: stop running! Pushing through the pain sounds ok to some -- but it can lead to severe injuries. To properly assess the situation, you have to stop running and see what’s wrong with you. After that, you’ll start to rehab your joints. Then and only then you can go back to your daily running routine.
Important -- If the pain is too much to bear when you put weight on your ankle, you should see a doctor right away. In the meantime, consider some of the following tips:
1. Rest the pain away.
If the pain is too much for you to run, it’s time to put your running shoes back in the closet for a while and rest. We often think the only way to improve is by doing something, but sometimes our body just needs to relax and rest.
R.I.C.E. is an acronym, not food. It stands for Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. If your ankle is injured, you need to undergo the tried-and-tested R.I.C.E. method.
The first step is Rest, which you should have covered already. When it comes to Ice, you have to apply it to the troubled area, once every hour for 5 to 15 minutes. Compression is self-explanatory, keep your ankle joint immobilized and use it as little as possible -- eventually, work your way up into walking again. Finally, Elevate. Whether you are sitting or lying down, keep your foot above your waistline.
3. Prehab before running and during rest days.
Prehab is life-changing when it comes to training. It’s all about warming up properly, working on your mobility (most people have poor ankle mobility!), dynamic stretching, and static stretching as well. Myofascial release is also key to stay injury-free. All of these things also do wonders for injuries.
4. Check with the experts.
If you are unsure about how to proceed, it might be best to see a doctor. If you have the time and the resources, you should see a physical therapist as well. Not only will they help with your ankle rehabilitation, but they’ll also give you plenty of prehab and rehab exercises that you can do before and after your next running session.
5. Surgery might be necessary -- but it’s unlikely.
In severe cases, surgery might be needed to get your ankle back in working shape. Some examples where you might need ankle surgery include severe ankle sprain, difficulty walking with no improvement, etc. It’s usually not the case, though, so you probably have nothing to worry about -- even if you’re in pain!
We really hope that this article helps you to determine what is causing your ankle pain when running and how to treat it. Just remember that you should always consult a doctor if the pain lingers around or if things don’t seem to be improving as fast as you’d like. Until next time!
Disclaimer -- We are not medical professionals here at SimplyJnJ. We simply research and post information that we think would be useful to our readers. If you are in pain, always seek the advice of a medical practitioner before starting any form of treatment.