Ankle injury is a common problem for runners. If you’re reading this, you might be recently injured – let’s try to help!
If you’re injured (which…we’ve already established you are) every step can increase your pain. Not to mention the pain of missing run club.
You’re not alone. Most runners deal with injuries in their career, which stops them from running. Common ankle injuries injuries are stress fractures, shin splints or strains. Whether you are a new runner or a seasoned marathoner, you can take steps to reduce the chances of a foot injury.
Here are some tips that you should consider to prevent ankle injuries from running.
Wear proper footwear and running gear
Before stepping onto the track or pavement, you need to choose the right running shoes for you. Choose the ones that match your gait, style, arch, and support level. For a more comprehensive guide check out our article on the best running shoes.
Wearing over-tight or very loose shoes can be an obstacle in your running. So, before purchasing new shoes, test them for a perfect fit.
Warm-up before every run
It is essential to warm up your muscles right before a run.
Warming up and cooling down is an integral part of the process that helps avoid injury. Also, strong core and stabilization muscles can lead to reduced injury rates. Check out our guide on how to warm up for a run for dynamic stretches and a simple routine.
Practice your muscles for the sport
If you have weak muscles, you will be more likely to leave your body susceptible to injury. Try to increase the amount of time you spend on the activity or gradually increase it over a certain period of weeks. This will encourage improving both muscle health and flow. If you are cross-training by participating in several activities, this will also help you condition your muscles.
It is recommended to buy good running gear to provide extra support to the ankle while running. An ankle brace is an excellent choice to use as it supports you and reduces the chances of a future injury.
Focus on balance and low impact exercises
At a starting point, prepare your body before running. You can choose to do a simple dynamic warm up. After running you can do strength and balance exercises. If your core and hips are not strong, more likely are the chances of injury and ankle problems. By doing simple balance exercises, the muscles will strengthen and reduce the risk of injury. One simple exercise to improve balancing is a one-legged balance, where you have to pick one foot up with the support of your knees that face forward. Continue to the same position for around 10-20 seconds. Try at least four reps on every foot. Or, you can consult your health specialist to know more activities that will help you increase your balance.
Prevent running or climbing on rough surfaces…unless your’re a trail runner
It happens that you might face ankle injuries from running up hills, rocky terrain, or uneven surfaces. Overlooking can lead to painful foot injuries. If you have a problem with your lower legs, you should always consider running on a suitable surface if possible.
The flip side to this is trail running creates less repetitive motion. Repetitive motion is a big cause of stress fractures and other wear-and-tear type injuries. A big part of injury prevention in trail running is knowing the trail, the conditions, and staying focused on every step you take.
Using unique ankle sleeves helps diminish the chance of awkward motion of an ankle. For example, it happens when you step on a loose rock or an exposed tree root. A proper ankle brace will certainly protect you from such incidents.
Listen to your body
It is imperative to listen to the inner voice of your body during exercise. For example, it has been noticed several times that most runners urge their bodies to run even after going through ankle injuries. Therefore, while running, if you face any problem in your body, quickly stop as it can worsen your injuries.
Slow and steady wins the race.
Most of the time, runners focus on increasing the speed and run time to complete the activity quickly. However, you forget that ankle injuries occur when you perform the action more than your body’s capacity. If you are a beginner, your legs and body require some time to adjust. Therefore, it is advisable to slowly increase your running speed, as it will help prevent you from ankle injuries while running. Remember to win any race; your fitness should be the utmost priority.
Avoid ‘toughing’ it out
This is another factor that is too common among runners to face ankle injuries. Rather than pausing, most people continue training after taking painkillers. It is a fact that when the damage is minor, continuously putting pressure on that can make it even more severe, and you have to undergo necessary treatment. Therefore, always discontinue running to prevent ankle injuries further.
Most people who recover from the pain begin exercising to gain strength and stamina. You should limit yourself to this habit. Avoid running if you are suffering from sickness. Also, if you have body pain, take a rest for a few days, undergo the natural treatment, and come back again when you feel better.
Be careful while running hills.
No doubt, running uphill is the best workout, but don’t perform it without the necessary training and essential running gear to help prevent any ankle injuries. Likewise, when you run downhill, make sure to maintain your speed. Do not go so fast as it can lead to more significant injuries when compared to uphill.
Running is an excellent exercise to keep you fit. But sometimes, it may cause a foot or an ankle injury. An ankle taping or a brace is an expert’s choice to reduce the risk of future injury. Start your day with a proper stretching workout, wear appropriate gear for running, and have fun! See you on the trails!