If you’re experiencing ankle pain after running, then the causes can be many. In fact, you might be surprised by some of the causes.
Believe it or not, one of the most common triggers for this symptom is lack of support. If you’re wearing unsupportive sneakers that are worn out, then this can put a lot of stress on your ankles.
It’s one reason why some runners experience pain after they run. The first thing you can do is go out and buy a new pair of sneakers.
Then, see if your symptom goes away. If the pain doesn’t go away, or if it gets worse, you’ll need to investigate further. Let’s look at some other things that might cause this.
Tight Muscles in Feet
The next cause of ankle discomfort after a run is having tight muscles in your feet. This is more common than you might think.
How can you get rid of it? We recommend using a lacrosse or tennis ball to massage your feet before going for a run. For some people, this solution works great.
Remember that stability begins in your foot. If the muscles here are tight and inflexible, then you’re going to experience ankle pain after running.
If you don’t have a lacrosse or tennis ball, then massage your foot muscle using your hands. Give this solution a try and see how it works out for you.
Unresolved Ankle Injury
Have you injured your ankle within the past few months? If so, it’s possible that you haven’t given it enough time to fully heal.
Ankle sprains can take a long time to heal if you’re constantly putting pressure on them.
If you have an ankle injury, then we recommend taking a rest until it gets better. Otherwise, you’ll be in pain indefinitely.
If you’re unsure as to whether you have an ankle injury, visit a doctor. They’ll be able to confirm what you have.
Not Warming Up Properly
Yet another reason why people experience this symptom is because they’re not warming up properly. Before your run, spend 10-20 minutes warming up your ankles and feet.
Roll your ankles in a circular motion (about 20 times in each direction). Do this 2-3 times. Running in place for a few minutes can also help.
Warming up properly might reduce or eliminate your symptom altogether.
Are you running long distances without taking any rest? If so, this can cause repeated stress on your ankle and foot.
If you continue this, it can lead to a tendon strain, muscle strain, or stress fracture- each of which can lead to ankle pain after running.
Don’t try to tough it out. If you’re having pain, then go see a doctor and start to take it easy. Put your training to the side until you’re 100% better.
It’s not worth the negative long-term consequences that you’ll be putting yourself through. Also, don’t try to “mask” the pain by taking pain pills before your run.
Stretches to Try
Aside from massaging your ankles and warming up properly, you can also try some stretches to lessen your discomfort. Here are some of the more effective stretches you can try:
- Standing Calf Stretch: This stretch works great for alleviating soreness in the ankle. To do it, start in a staggered stance and then lunge forward while keeping your back heel on the ground. You should feel the stretch in the back of your calf. Hold this position for about 30 seconds. Repeat it 2-3 times.
- Ankle Circles: This should be done while lying on the floor. Simply roll your ankles in both a clockwise and counter-clockwise direction. Go about 15 times in each direction. Ankle circles are great for loosing up the muscles around your ankles.
- Calf Raises: Most of us are familiar with calf raises. If you’re not, here’s how to do it: place your feet on the edge of a raised surface (like a sidewalk) with your heels hanging freely off the back. Then, slowly lower and raise your heels. Do this about 15 times and repeat 2-3 times.
There’s no guarantee that these stretches will eliminate your symptom. However, they do help for a lot of people with ankle discomfort.
Here are some more chiropractor approved ankle stretches:
What’s The “PRICE” Acronym?
The PRICE acronym is something you can use as a reference point for healing your pain. Let’s breakdown what each letter means:
- Protection: Use either a splint or a brace in order to protect your ankle.
- Rest: As we mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t overexert your ankle. This can cause any pre-existing injuries to persist.
- Ice: Icing your ankle can be a great way to lessen inflammation and pain. We recommend icing it for at least 20 minutes. Make sure that you don’t place the ice directly on the skin.
- Compression: For additional support, wrap your ankle using an elastic bandage. Make sure that you don’t wrap so tight that you’re cutting off circulation!
- Elevation: Finally, elevate your ankle above your heart when lying down.
A lot of runners know the PRICE acronym since it can be an effective way to deal with ankle pain after running.
What Type of Doctor Should You See?
We recommend making an appointment with a podiatrist (foot doctor) since they’ll be the most qualified for your symptom.
Avoid making an appointment with a general care physician since they’ll most likely refer you to a podiatrist anyway. You can also go with an orthopedic sports medicine physician.
The take home message?
Don’t delay if you’re experiencing discomfort in your ankle. Once you begin taking corrective measures- arch supports, stretching, etc.- you’ll notice an immediate difference in how much pain you feel.
New footwear and jogging on softer terrain are also recommended for eliminating your ankle pain after running.