The act of running puts a lot of strain on your ankles. With each stride you take, the ankle joint is subjected to the weight of your entire body plus the extra force of gravity. Not surprisingly, ankle pain is a common problem among runners. Here are some of the causes of ankle pain while running:
- Faulty ankle biomechanics: Overpronation or supination of the foot while running can result in uneven shock absorption causing damage to the ankle and injury to the knees and hips in the long run. It is important to wear well-fitting shoes that provide stability to the ankle joint.
- Ankle arthritis: The different types of arthritis that can affect your ankles while running are osteoarthritis, posttraumatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Regardless of the type, ankle pain and stiffness are characteristic symptoms. While there is no cure for arthritis, symptoms can be effectively controlled with advanced treatments to help preserve the ankle joint.
- Ankle tendonitis: This is the swelling, fraying, or tearing of any of the ankle tendons. Symptoms include ankle soreness that is worse in the mornings and a sharp ankle pain when cooling down after a run.
- Ankle stress fractures: Tiny cracks in the bones that form in the ankle may be caused when your muscles are no longer able to absorb the repetitive impact of running. Intense bruising and tenderness while running can be a sign of stress fractures.
- Ankle sprains & strains: These are the most common causes for ankle pain. Sprains are caused by ankle ligament injuries and strains are caused by tendon injuries.
The first line of treatment in the case of ankle pain is the RICE protocol. This is an acronym that stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation of the ankle. Other options include pain medications such as NSAIDs for a short period of time, wearing an ankle wrap or protective boot for better ankle stability, and performing physical therapy exercises to improve strength and biomechanics.
Any ankle pain with running that seems to be getting worse despite conservative treatments should be evaluated by a foot and ankle specialist, so you can return to your active lifestyle as soon as possible.
Dr. Ho is a foot and ankle orthopedic specialist who places a strong emphasis on customizing his care for each patient to ensure successful outcomes. He provides all treatment options including preventative care, conservative management and operative intervention. Call (630) 323-6116 to book your appointment.