Why Does My Ankle Hurt When Running? Here’s What To Consider

Why does my ankle hurt when running? Running seems to be the easiest exercise to go for if you opt for a healthy lifestyle. No equipment, and can be carried out anywhere; it is one of the best workouts to keep you fit.  But what happens when your ankle starts to hurt when running? We will look at the causes of ankle pain when running and how to help that pain.

Related: Best Ankle Brace for Running

Running lifts up the energy and helps you gain confidence for several other physical activities. However, sometimes you might roll your ankle or feel extreme pain in your foot. For most runners, experiencing foot pain is a common problem and hurts badly. Sometimes, they overlook this pain, but it is better to take proper care whenever such a situation arises as one stumble can sideline you for weeks and leave you with pain for over months. Some foot issues need the doctor’s care, while some can be taken care of at home. Therefore, it is best to consider a few essential things before you pack your bag and start running. 

Ankle’s Movement While Running

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The foot acts as a root between the earth and the body. The ankle provides traction that cushions the body and adapts to uneven surfaces. It leverages the body position for a better balance while running. The ankle is also responsible for adjusting your bodyweight for various surfaces. Its motion decreases energy expenditure as it contributes to the swing phase and the stance phase of a runner.  

Why Does My Ankle Hurt When Running?

Ankle pain can be the result of inflammation or damage to a variety of structures. Long-distance running is one way that we can over-use our ankles. The most common cause ankle pain are injuries to the tendons, ligaments and bone fractures.

What is an overuse ankle injury?

When it comes to ankle injuries, runners are at a higher risk. One of the most common overuse ankle injuries is Achilles tendonitis. Achilles tendinitis can starts as a mild ache in the back of your ankle above the heel. This can develop into pain during running, which can progressively worsen until the runner is forced to stop running.

overuse ankle injury

Another common overuse ankle injury is a stress fracture which is a small crack in a bone, or severe bruising on a bone. Ankle stress fractures is an injury that gradually increases in pain while running and is more pronounced when running on rocky terrain. This pain can diminish during rest. Runners may notice swelling on the ankle. The most common cause of this condition is a sudden increase in running pace or distance.

Why Does My Ankle Hurt When Running?

Why Does My Ankle Hurt When Running? – What to to?

Whenever you feel Ankle pain after running, it is essential to consider: 

  • Rest – Prepare a proper schedule of running with rests at intervals. Whenever you feel severe pain take a proper break and take a rest. Our body has a natural healing process, where damaged cells replace themselves with new ones. Stop running at once if there is a pain in your ankle to avoid further damages.
  • Ice and cold therapy – Another thing to do is apply the ice packs to the affected ankles. This will help to reduce the pain. Also, it plays a significant role in reducing swelling and inflammation. 
  • Compression  – It is more relaxing to wrap the painful ankle with KT tape or use a splint that settles and supports the ankle. Also, it controls every type of swelling and helps reduce pain. You can also use a good ankle brace to speed up the healing process. 
  • Elevate – Physiotherapists advise raising the ankle above the heart level when you are injured. This process helps reduce swelling and diminishes pain in your ankle
  • Pain relievers – You can choose to take the pain reliever from your recommended healthcare provider. This pain reliever can help you ease the pain of inflammation of the injured ankle. 
  • Trip to the Doctor – If you think you have an ankle fracture you will need to go to the doctor. For other strains and acute injuries a physio therapist can help give you a personalized recovery plan.

Important things every runner should know prevent ankle sprains

1. Balance Yourself

The best approach to stay away from ankle sprain is to improve your balance. If you are a beginner, then there are possible chances to face imbalance while running.  Also, at 45 miles of running speed, tissues run through the whole body and manage your proper balance. Improving your balance will help prevent ankle pain during running. For example, you can practice balancing on one foot while brushing your teeth. Apart from this, you can do a light upper body exercise. The nerves in your foot and ankle will change continuously and train the muscle to control the movements. On the other hand, you can try physiotherapy to improve balance in a severe or vestibular condition.

Alternatively, using an ankle brace will provide you with better support and assist you in your running.

2. Strengthen Your Core

The strength and capacity of your bones and body are essential to maintain a steady walk. If you lack strength, your body is more likely to get injured. However, with greater body weight than your foot and joint can manage, the result could be a rolled ankle or even a fall. This is why it is essential to pay attention to the hip and abdomen through exercises to help prevent ankle pain while running.

3. Build Up Ankle Strength

Building ankle strength is an excellent preventive measure. You can do this exercise to prevent strengthening exercises like dips, rubber bands, squats, lunges, etc. It will become easier for you to stay on your feet and control your body position with a strong base. 

Moreover, a proper ankle brace comes in handy to strengthen your ankle and provide you better support.

4. Improve Flexibility

There’s no doubt, a balance between flexibility and strength is equally important. If you want to relieve discomfort, it is essential to do a simple stretching for around 30 to 60 seconds. This stretching will promote the lower leg’s mobility and ensure that you run without any pain in your ankle. 

5. Regular Activity

It’s not at all good to walk several miles without preparing your body. You can make your body ready by practicing some regular activities that boost your energy level. In addition, since muscle retention is a part of an ankle sprain, following the action or sport you are competing in can further cause injury.

6. Support for It

If you are looking to use tape or support like an ankle brace to prevent injury, there are many choices on the market. Using such braces can help you add support to the ankle. Good support will ensure an ankle performs the desired activity without the risk of injury and undergoing any pain. 

The ankle plays a significant role in adjusting to ground interactions and provides a leg with the benefit of walking substantial distances. Ankle pain running happens to people of all ages. If you are suffering from acute ankle pain, it is best to consult a health specialist.

An experienced runner and an active mom, Kelly is the research expert behind runninggearlab.com When you don't find Kelly training for her next 10k or 5k race you'll find her reading reviews and testing the latest running watch.

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