Experiencing ankle pains after running?
Here is what you should know about the causes, remedies as well as what you can do to prevent the pain altogether!
Recreational running has become an increasingly popular form of personal exercise with up to 40 million people running every day in America.
Every one of us who has been involved or is still involved in a certain kind of exercise has experienced some form of injury be it a less serious or a serious type of injury.
For most runners, most will tell you that they have at some point experienced some ankle injury. Even some of the well-known sports people have been reported to suffer from such injuries and some have even been seen not to play for a certain period of time so that they can heal.
Running injuries have been shown to be associated with two major causes of risk factors on being Intrinsic risk factors and the other being Extrinsic risk factors.
Intrinsic risk factors are mostly to do with the anatomy of the human being, age, and gender while the extrinsic risk factors are associated with factors such as:
- warm up
- running attire especially the shoes
Here, today we are going to look at ankle pains especially after running!
Causes of ankle pain after running
One of the major causes of muscle pain after running is Tendinitis. This is the inflammation of the tendon often caused by excessive running which is:
The ankle normally has several tendons and hence you could experience the pain on all sides of your ankle.
Tendon inflammation can be reduced by placing ice on the hurting area for about 10 to 15 minutes several times in a day, using anti-inflammatories and conducting careful stretching exercises. You can also prevent this by reducing your running and running on a soft surface.
This is another cause of ankle pain after running could be that you are suffering from a strain.
A strain is usually an overstretched or a somewhat torn muscle or tendon in the ankle.
This type of injury requires one to care for it with urgency so that it cannot escalate and to enable you to get back to running in a few days.
It has been reported to account for nearly 1 million physician visits in a year with most resuming normal activity in about 8 weeks depending on the severity.
Care for a sprained ankle is usually the R.I.C.E method which means, you rest, place ice on the hurt ankle, compress the ankle and elevate. You are also advised to take anti-inflammatory medication for 24 to 48 hours of the injury. If the pain and swelling go beyond one week, it is advisable to go see a doctor.
Ankle pain can also be caused by stress fractures. These are normally as a result of the ankle muscles no longer being able to accommodate the shock hence they transfer the stress to the bones leading to the creation of a crack.
In this kind of a case, you will be required to get an X-ray done on your ankle, take anti-inflammatory drugs, rest, and stretch.
You will also be required to do simple muscle strengthening exercises. This kind of a fracture normally takes around 5 to 6 weeks to heal.
Ankle pain can also be due to Achilles Tendonitis which is basically an irritation that occurs at the back of the ankle on a tendon that connects two muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus, to the heel.
This is mostly characterized with a dull or sharp pain in the back of the ankle, feeling as though there is a nodule at the back of the ankle and it feels like its cracking as you walk. This kind of fracture occurs when there is an excessive pressure on the Achilles tendon causing it to tear, fray and even detach.
Some of the treatments that can help reduce the pain associated with this include taking an anti-inflammatory injection, conducting the R.I.C.E therapy on the injured ankle, Active Release Technique, deep tissue massage and Running gait training.
Anterior Shin Splints
This is often common with new runners but can also be experienced by older runners especially those trying to build upon their level of running and that runner who has experienced ankle injury in the past.
This type of pain is normally experienced in the front of the shin and it causes you to feel tight, tender and pain in the shin.
It can be caused by an irritation to the muscle, tendons and bone interface or as a breakdown of the bone from a certain impact.
The most effective treatment for this pain is to rest and rehab would then be conducted through ankle band exercise, the short arch exercise of the foot and balance exercises.
One can also do:
- Active Release Technique
- Deep Tissue Massage
- R.I.CE therapy
- Taking an anti-inflammatory injection.
This is a pinch mechanism injury of the ankle.
A pinch could be in the form of a bone formation that has not normally is not there, a cartilage growth and fluid coming out of the ankle joint. This kind of a pain if it persists could last long and lead to long-term disability.
With an ankle impingement, one will notice that they are experiencing decreased ankle mobility and find it difficult to squat the whole day.
There are several types of pinches such as a hard pinch which is characterized by a bony block on the front of the ankle, a firm pinch would be characterized by a tendon, cartilage or a muscle and there is the soft pinch which is characterized by fluid pocket on the ankle.
Treating an ankle impingement is normally similar to the treatment of other types of ankle injuries.
How to avoid ankle injuries
It is advisable for runners not to increase their running mileage by more than 10% every week as the drastic increases could lead to injuries. This is known as the 10% rule.
Before you start running, stretch out first with some few minutes of warm-up exercises. This will help your body adjust accordingly and it will help prevent injuries.
Employ the right kind of running techniques to prevent injuries. Ankle injuries are most eminent here. Make sure you are well balanced.
Make sure you wear the right kind of shoes and be sure to replace them after a while. Just like car wheels, our shoes also tend to wear out after a certain period of usage. While getting shoes, also make sure that you get the right fit so as to prevent ankle injuries.
It is always advisable to run on an even surface so as to prevent exerting unnecessary strain on the ankle tendons and ligaments.
As much as running help to keep your body fit and healthy, it is also good to engage in other forms of exercises such as lifting. Lifting will help you to increase your structural fitness that goes a long way to helping ligaments, tendons, and bones to be able to survive the run.
Running is often a good exercise to challenge and test the limits of your body. This is a good thing but should be done in moderation. Overstretching your muscle limits is a leading cause of injuries hence it is advisable for one to have rest days in between training and mix up exercises so as to ensure all your body muscles are stretching evenly.
Running is a good form of exercise to help keep your body healthy. With the right kind and amount of exercise, you could benefit a lot but with the wrong kind of practices, you could end up hurting your body either temporarily or permanently.
Most of these causes of ankle pain can be treated if help is sought immediately though it could lead to serious consequences if ignored and further damage is done to the ankle.
This information should only help you to get an insight on what could be the cause of your pain. It is therefore advisable that after identifying your cause of pain and taking the first measures to help cool the pain, seek expert advice and help as you could never know how serious of an injury it is.