Running is probably the easiest exercise to do and to master. With a good pair of running shoes and some dedication, a non-runner can train to perform in a 10K race or a marathon – as long as they first devise a training plan that focuses on gradually building strength and endurance.
The benefits of running are many – including improved cardiovascular function, losing weight, and getting lean. Running boosts your energy and can make you feel great about yourself.
With all of that pounding on your feet and ankles, it’s no wonder runners tend to develop ankle pain. Let’s talk about how ankle pain develops in runners and what you can do about it.
What Can I Do for Ankle Pain After a Run?
Some common ankle problems associated with excessive running are Achilles tendonopathy, a sprain, a stress fracture, and osteoarthritis. Whether it is sore or tight ankles or Achilles tendonitis, here is what you can do when your ankles are painful after running:
- Rest – Your body has a natural healing process as new cells replace damaged ones, but it takes time and requires rest. So, stop running until your pain is completely gone, otherwise your injury can get worse. Either relax in the meantime or find alternative ways to exercise – swimming is a good alternative – while your ankle heals.
- Ice and cold therapy – Applying ice packs to the affected ankle is an effective way to reduce your pain, as well as to reduce inflammation and swelling. The numbing effect can also be soothing for pain.
- Compression – Wrap your painful ankle with KT tape (ask your physical therapist, coach, or doctor how), or use a splint that supports and stabilizes the ankle and controls any swelling.
- Elevate – Keep your ankle raised above heart level when you’re sitting or lying down in order to help reduce swelling.
- Stretch – Gently stretch and massage your injured ankle to help reduce the pain and tension.
- Pain relievers – Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, as recommended by your healthcare provider, can help ease the pain and inflammation of your injured ankle.
If pain and discomfort continues despite these efforts, see your healthcare provider for more advanced treatment.
What Causes Ankle Pain After Running?
There are several things that can cause chronic pain in the ankle area in runners and joggers, including the following:
When this happens in the ankle area, this is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon – the large tendon that attaches the calf to the back of the heel. Inflammation causes pain and stiffness in that area, especially when you get up in the morning, and is usually the result of repetitive stress to the foot and ankle. Adding too much distance too quickly to your running routine can also cause it.
Ankle sprains occur with the accidental stretching or tearing of ligaments surrounding the ankle, such as when your foot twists or rolls inward. Although quite painful, a sprained ankle typically gets better with rest, ice, compression, and elevation of your foot – also known as the RICE method. You may also have to wear a brace or boot to stabilize the ankle until it gets better.
Stress fractures of the ankle occur when high stress or overuse on the structures of the foot and ankle result in small cracks. These tiny cracks can be painful, but they usually start to mend themselves with lots of rest and ice.
Ankle Doctors in Cincinnati
Here at Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care, our board-certified surgeons provide exceptional care for you and your family. From the time you make your appointment until you walk out the door, you will receive attentive service and individualized care from all of our healthcare professionals and staff.
If you would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today by calling the location near you or fill out our online appointment request form now. We look forward to helping you find relief from your pain!