Are you a runner with sore ankles? This guide to ankle pain can help you figure out what is wrong and what you should do about it.
1. Ankle Sprain
Ankle sprains are common for runners who run on uneven surfaces, such as trails or grass. Often, a sprain doesn't feel so bad right away, but when you get up the next morning your ankle may feel sore down the outside or inside, depending on which way you rolled your foot. Try to remember whether you have rolled your ankle recently to determine if a sprain might be the cause of your ankle pain.
The best treatment for a mild ankle sprain is to ice the injury and take a break from running until it feels better. If the pain is so bad that it prevents you from walking normally, then you should call a doctor for advice.
If you keep rolling your ankles while running, switching to shoes with more ankle support might help. You could also try running smoother routes, or strengthen your ankles through daily balance poses and a very gradual increase in the amount of trail running you do.
Several tendons run through the ankles and any of them can get inflamed as a result of running too much. The tibialis anterior tendon runs along the front of the shin and ankle and when inflamed causes pain that radiates up the shin. Meanwhile, the Achilles tendon runs down the back of the ankle and connects to the calf muscle. There is also the posterior tendon, which runs along the inside of the ankle, and the peroneal tendon, which runs down the outside of the ankle, passing just under the bony lump.
All types of tendonitis require rest to allow the inflammation to settle. You can also try icing the part of your ankle that hurts and taking ibuprofen to bring the inflammation down.
Tendonitis is often an injury that keeps coming back, so it is a good idea to see a physiotherapist to find out if there is anything you can do to strengthen your ankles or change your running style. This will help you reduce the possibility of your ankle pain recurring.
3. Stress Fracture
If you have recently increased the amount of running you are doing, then a stress fracture is a possibility. Bones take time to build up the strength they need to support a high-mileage training routine. If you jump into a new plan too quickly, they can develop stress fractures.
If you think you might have a stress fracture, you must see a doctor. They can use imaging to identify the fracture and advise you about treatment. They can also provide further information regarding ankle pain.