How do I Treat Ankle Pain from Running?

B. Miller
B. Miller
An ice pack, which can help with ankle pain.
An ice pack, which can help with ankle pain.

To treat ankle pain from running, it is best to take a few days off to allow the ankle to heal, and to prevent making the pain worse or causing actual tendon damage. It is also a good idea to try to address the cause of the pain, and see why it appeared in the first place; for instance, ill-fitting shoes, or simply shoes that are too old and need to be replaced, can all cause ankle and foot pain. To treat ankle pain from running, the normal rules of treating any injury apply: rest, elevate the foot, apply ice in intervals, and wrap it if necessary to slightly immobilize it.

Selecting the proper pair of running shoes is key to preventing ankle pain.
Selecting the proper pair of running shoes is key to preventing ankle pain.

Determining the reason that you have ankle pain from running is important, since running with proper form on good surfaces should not cause ankle pain. Running on concrete, for example, can be hard on the feet and legs; if possible, it may be a good idea to run on a softer surface, or run on a treadmill. Some people find that taking smaller, faster strides is better than longer strides, which are more likely to cause pain. In addition, trying to run lightly, rather than slamming down with each step, is a good way to prevent ankle pain.

Wrapping the injured ankle may be necessary.
Wrapping the injured ankle may be necessary.

The best way to treat ankle pain from running is to allow the ankle to rest and heal; the mantra, "no pain no gain," does not really apply here. Pushing yourself to run on an injured ankle can lead to a lot more problems than taking a few days to rest. If the ankle appears swollen, elevating it and applying an ice pack can help to reduce the swelling, in addition to taking an over the counter pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. Apply the ice in 20-minute intervals; for instance, 20 minutes on the injury, than 20 minutes off, to avoid causing injury to the skin. If the pain does not improve soon, visit a doctor to determine if anything else is wrong.

Running on a treadmill may ease ankle pain from running.
Running on a treadmill may ease ankle pain from running.

Another way to treat ankle pain from running is to purchase new, more supportive running shoes. The best running shoes should provide arch support to the feet, not allowing the foot to roll to one side or another when it strikes the ground. This is known as over or under pronation, and can quickly lead to ankle pain and injury. The shoes should fit properly as well, and not allow the foot to slide back and forth, or strike the front of the shoe, which can also lead to falls and ankle injuries. Taking care of yourself and running carefully will ideally help to prevent ankle pain from running, and allow you to continue exercising.

Discussion Comments

Animandel

After football practice, my nephew fills the tub with ice and takes an ice bath. This is mostly for knee pain he gets from running all over the football field, but I guess this could work for ankle pain and leg pain too.

Sporkasia

The article talks about using ice for ankle pain. The ice packs and cool wraps that you can buy now make icing your body parts much easier. No longer do you have to fill a freezer bag with ice cubes and try to keep that on your injured area.

With the Velcro wraps you can simply strap the ice pack on and go about your business without worrying about holding the freezer bag filled with ice in place.

Drentel

When I was in high school, I was playing basketball and twisted my ankle badly. I actually heard it pop. Back then, we didn't have trainers on the bench, so the team water boy got some ice and I put that on the ankle. My ankle swelled so big I couldn't put on a shoe. Not that this mattered, I couldn't walk anyway.

After that,my ankle was never the same and it would swell when I ran, and I twisted it easily when playing sports. It wasn't until I starting wearing a ankle brace/ankle wrap that I was able to get back to playing and running somewhat like I did before the injury. I still had some ankle pain, but the joint was more stable, and I didn't turn the ankle as much with the brace.

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    • An ice pack, which can help with ankle pain.
      By: Marc Dietrich
      An ice pack, which can help with ankle pain.
    • Selecting the proper pair of running shoes is key to preventing ankle pain.
      By: Halfpoint
      Selecting the proper pair of running shoes is key to preventing ankle pain.
    • Wrapping the injured ankle may be necessary.
      By: uwimages
      Wrapping the injured ankle may be necessary.
    • Running on a treadmill may ease ankle pain from running.
      By: starush
      Running on a treadmill may ease ankle pain from running.
    • Running on concrete can be hard on the feet and legs.
      By: Deklofenak
      Running on concrete can be hard on the feet and legs.
    • A sprained ligament is a common cause of ankle pain.
      By: Antonioguillem
      A sprained ligament is a common cause of ankle pain.