Ankle Pain after Running

Running is most the natural and widely loved form of exercise, and there are numerous benefits associated with it. Some take it up as a part of their fitness regimen, some for psychological reasons, and some as a sport. Knee, foot, ankle, and calf injuries are the most common form of injuries affecting runners. Among these, the ankle is easily prone to injuries, as this joint between the foot and the leg, and it bears the weight of the whole body and also acts as shock absorbers. After running, knee and ankle pain is a common complaint and can have many causes. It can vary in its intensity and can be a result of injury in either the bones, ligaments, or tendons. Sometimes, it just starts as a slight feeling tenderness and can be quite severe in some cases. It is important to follow proper techniques to avoid ankle pain after running, some of which are discussed below.

Causes

It is very crucial to follow the tips on safe running to avoid any kind of injuries. There are several reasons why ankles hurt after running, like wearing inappropriate shoes, running on slippery or uneven surfaces, and twisting of ankles. Psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, etc., which are some of the inflammatory diseases of the joints, too can lead to this condition while you run and also afterwards. Though these diseases are not directly related, running can aggravate the condition. Therefore, the main causes of can be attributed to:

  • Sprain: is the most common form of injury caused due to a stretched or torn ligament in the ankle joint. This injury is graded as I, II, and III as per the severity in the tear of ligament. The sprains are of 3 types. If the pain remains on the outer side and is not internal, then the sprain is called inversion sprain. In medial ligament sprain, the ligament of the medial is injured leading to internal pain. The third type is the high ankle sprain, which occurs due to injury of syndesmosis ligament located above the ligament joint.
  • Achilles Tendonitis: leads to pain due to inflammation and degeneration of the Achilles tendon. Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone and is the strongest tendon of the human body. This tendon is designed to withstand the pressure and stress while running, so repetitive and intense activity can strain and cause injury. The condition worsens due to improper shoes, prolonged activity, running uphill, and inadequate recovery time after injury. Achilles tendonitis can be considered acute or chronic depending on the period of occurrence.
  • Fracture: is most often categorized with a sprain, however, it differs in the intensity of injury. A fracture takes place when either of the 3 bones, namely, the tibia, fibula, or talus, found in the ankle are broken. Bone fracture is a traumatic injury leading to severe pain accompanied by swelling and tenderness. A fracture is easy to detect due to the visible deformity, and it can be confirmed with the help of an X-ray.

Symptoms

There are several signs related to this problem. Some of these are acute, while some can be chronic and aggravated by either not following the proper tips or due to inadequate rest after an injury. These can be listed as:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Slight ache to sudden throbbing pain
  • Inability to put weight on the ankle

Treatment

Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. In most cases of sprain and Achilles tendonitis, treatment can be carried out successfully at home. The recommended method is to follow the R.I.C.E. therapy:

  • Rest by reducing regular activity and avoiding putting any weight on the swollen ankle for 48 hours.
  • Ice pack is applied for 20 minutes to the injured area and repeated several times a day.
  • Compression bandages are used to reduce swelling.
  • Elevation method is used by keeping the ankle above the level of heart to minimize swelling.

Over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen can be taken to ease the pain for a short period of time. If the swelling and inflammation does not subside despite these methods, it is always advisable to consult an experienced doctor. If fracture is suspected, one should not delay the treatment process by attempting treatment at home. Severe cases of fracture might require a cast or a splint to be fitted on the injured area, and some might even require a surgery. When the swelling subsides, stretching exercises for runners targeting muscles, tendons, and ligaments help in relieving pain and expedites healing.

Prevention

It is always good to prevent the injury in the first step to avoid a tedious process of recovery. To reduce the risks of this kind of injury, proper footwear that supports ankles and has enough padding and cushioning should be chosen. Avoid slippery and uneven tracks for running, and follow a healthy diet to strengthen the bones and reduce the risks of injury. It is mandatory to allow the affected part to heal properly, as ignoring the pain can make the ankle susceptible to injuries in future.

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