Do your ankles hurt when running?
Do you know that ankle injuries account for 14% of all sports-related orthopedic emergency visits? This is according to research conducted by National Centre for Biotechnology Information.
Ankle pain is not exclusively reserved for marathon runners. Any runner, including you, is prone to experience ankle pains at one point in your life.
However, you may never know the reason behind ankle hurts that keep occurring from time to time.
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This article provides insight into causes of ankle pain, how to fix them and how to strengthen your ankle to avoid ankle hurts when running.
REASONS YOUR ANKLES HURT WHEN RUNNING
1. ANKLE SPRAIN
A sprained ankle is caused by sudden landing or twisting of the ankles.
Exercising on uneven surfaces, improper shoes, and prior ankle injuries are some of the factors that heighten your risk of getting a sprained ankle.
They force your ankle to shift out of its normal position stretching your ligaments beyond the normal range.
According to the Mayo clinic, ankle pain, instability, restricted movement, and popping sound at the time of injury are the most common signs of a sprained ankle.
Delaying to seek proper treatment or engaging in exercises too soon after a sprained injury might be the reason your ankles hurt when running.
To fix a sprained ankle, you require adequate rest by avoiding activities that cause pressure, press your ankles with ice cubes, and use over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen to manage ankle pain.
Use can use ankle support for running to stabilize your ankle after healing.
2. ANKLE STRAIN
An ankle sprain is caused by a stretched or torn tendon.
Ankle strains can either be acute or chronic. Acute strains are caused by single traumas such as sudden slip or strain of the ankle or fall when running.
Chronic strain, on the other hand, is caused by excessive overuse of ankle muscles and tendons.
Commons symptoms of a sprained ankle include muscle spasms, cramping, pain, and getting difficulties when moving your ankle.
Ankle strains are common in long-distance runners, soccer players, gymnasts, and dancers and are fixed the same way as an ankle sprain.
3. STRESS FRACTURE
A stress fracture occurs when muscles in your ankle can longer absorb the shock caused by repetitive stress. Consequently leading to tiny cracks in your bone.
If left untreated for long, a stress fracture can completely impede your running by putting you on casts for a while. It can also lead to arthritis or surgery.
If you are experiencing bruising and ankle hurt when running, which diminishes while on rest, you may be suffering from a stress fracture.
According to research conducted at Cleveland Clinic, fixing stress fracture involves stopping every activity that causes strain to your ankle and bones.
Pressing icepacks on your ankle for 10 minutes- taking inflammatory medicines to reduce swelling and finally use proper running shoes.
Remember, stress fracture takes a duration of 6 weeks to heal completely. This entails adequate rest.
4. ACHILLES TENDINITIS
Achilles tendinitis is caused by weakness or tightness of the calf muscles and hamstrings, leading to too much strain on your tendons.
Dr. Greg Licameli, a professor at Harvard Medical School, reports that flat feet and weak hips can also contribute to Achilles tendinitis’s appearance on the ankles.
This injury causes inflammation along the back of the heal leading to ankle pain.
According to this study, the best way to treat Achilles tendonitis is through ample rest, medications (NSAIDs, corticosteroids), orthotic treatment (heel lifts, change of shoes), stretching, and strength training.
The study adds that the frequency of getting this injury is dependent on your age. The more you age, the higher your chances of getting ankles hurt while running due to Achilles tendinitis.
5. ANKLE ARTHRITIS
People don’t give much attention to arthritis as the cause of their ankle pain. Arthritis in the ankle can affect your mobility if not treated.
According to the University of Washington of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, ankle arthritis leads to the damage or worn out of the tibiotalar or ankle joint, causing pain in the ankle.
Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and posttraumatic arthritis are the common types of arthritis that may damage or weaken your joint, leading to stiffness in your ankle.
Arthritis is the reason some people report ankles hurt when running.
Arthritis symptoms include pain and swelling of the ankle, even worse, deformity.
To reduce pain caused by ankle arthritis, doctors recommend medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, oral corticosteroids, and steroid injections.
Dr. Archer from Queens University School of Medicine recommends healthy eating habits and exercises to reduce arthritis in the ankle.
You can opt to go for physical therapy.
6. PLANTAR FASCITIIS
Plantar fasciitis is characterized by a thick fibrous and ligament-like band that causes pain at the bottom of your heel or arch at your foot.
It is caused by excessive pressure on the plantar fascia making the tendon to be pulled towards the ankle area resulting to ankle hurts while running.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by overweight, lack of arch support, increased intense activities such as running tennis and gymnastics or standing for too long.
According to research, treating this condition involves resting, orthotics, avoiding walking barefooted, and stretching.
7. ANKLE INSTABILITY
At times, the reason you get ankles hurt when running is that your ankle is too weak, making it unstable.
As a result of excessive pressure, an unstable ankle gives out your body’s natural mechanisms leading to chronic pain on your ankle.
The way to fix ankle instability is using stable running shoes when running to keep the weak ankles in check.
You can also try these ankle exercises to help reduce ankle instability.
8. BROKEN FOOT
A broken foot affects the bone and is caused by misstep or fall, crush injuries, or ankles’ overuse.
Signs and symptoms of a broken foot include pain, limping, and swelling of the ankle.
Fixing it includes rest, ice, compression, and limiting weight-bearing machines to avoid straining.
9. WEARING INAPPROPRIATE FOOTWEAR
According to the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, inappropriate footwear causes ankle pain, weakness, and other deformities such as claw toe.
Maybe the reason you get repeated ankles hurt when running is that you wear shoes that do not accommodate your legs’ dimensions.
These are shoes that are narrow shaped, long, and without ankle support.
10. AVULSION FRACTURE
This is an injury that causes the tendon or ligament to detach itself from the bone.
It occurs when the tendon is forcefully pulled while the born is moving in the opposite direction.
Spraining your ankle can also cause avulsion fragments.
The good news is, avulsion fracture can be healed by giving your ankle ample time and rest.
You can fix avulsion structure the same way you fix ankle sprain.
HOW CAN YOU STRENGTHEN YOUR ANKLES?
Most people pay little attention to their ankles, forgetting the support they offer to the whole body.
Remember, strong and flexible muscles are why you can walk, jog, dance, and run at ease.
Should ankles ache even a bit, you’ll have a difficult time even moving around your house.
So, it’s important to keep your ankle strong to withstand intense activities like running, which causes a lot of pressure.
The following are ways you can strengthen your ankle:
BALANCE TRAINING EXERCISES
1.Standing with one leg for 30 seconds.
2.Play a game with a partner called balance and catch, which involves standing on one leg and try to catch a ball. Do it 30 times.
3.One leg mini squat- alternate between each leg 10 times.
Do calf raises while seated or standing to strengthen your calf muscles and Achilles tendon. Do three sets of 20 calf raises each.
STANDING SQUAT JUMPS
Start with a quarter squat position, and jump forward. Ensure you land carefully on the ground.
Incorporate large steps while on your toes. Ensure there is 50 cm apart when bounding from one step to the other.
Ankle pains are a hard nut to crack.
If running is your hobby, ankle sprain, strains, stress fractures, and improper shoes maybe some of the reasons, you don’t enjoy running anymore.
However, with proper self-care, medications, and exercises to strengthen your ankles, you can get through any rough patch caused by ankle pain.