Ankle Pain From Exercising

Exercise is especially strenuous on your lower extremities, and your ankles are no exception. Your ankles support the weight of your body ever time you run, jump, dance or play sports. As a result, you may experience ankle pain from time to time. If not treated, ankle pain can become a chronic and debilitating condition. Always consult your doctor if you are suffering from ankle pain due to exercising.

A woman is experiencing ankle pain. Credit: comzeal/iStock/Getty Images


A wide variety of ankle pains can occur as the result of exercising. If you recall twisting, turning or moving your ankle in an unnatural position, you may be experiencing a sprain, bone fracture or a joint dislocation. If your pain seems to be more prevalent while you are exercising and subsides with rest, you may have sustained an overuse injury. Overuse injuries develop slowly and can cause conditions such as tendinitis, bursitis or a stress fracture. You can also experience ankle pain due to improper rehabilitation of a previous ankle injury.


While the onset of a traumatic injury -- a sprain or a fracture -- is very noticeable, with an overuse injury you may not be able to recall the specifics of when and how your pain started. Overuse injuries develop gradually and are often the result of tendon inflammation which creates pain and swelling in your ankle. Excessive exercising or participation in sports, ill-fitting footwear, tight muscles, training errors and poor exercise form can all lead to ankle pain.


Ankle pain should not be ignored. If you experience ankle pain, discontinue exercise and seek treatment.The most common treatment for ankle pain is the R.I.C.E method. This method includes resting your affected ankle; icing your ankle for 20 minutes at a time four to five times a day; using a compression bandage in order to relieve swelling; and elevating your painful ankle over your heart. A doctor may also recommend anti-inflammatory medications, bracing or physical therapy to help stretch and strengthen your ankle. For more severe ankle injuries, you will likely be placed in a cast or walking boot with the possible use of crutches for four to six weeks.


Ignoring ankle pain can lead to long term pain and instability in your ankle. If you experience multiple ankle sprains or ignore the signs of ankle pain, you are making yourself vulnerable to a condition known as ankle instability. Ankle instability can lead to chronic pain and swelling. You may also feel like your ankles are unable to support your body or your feet are going to give way when you walk or exercise. If you experience chronic ankle pain or instability, you should consider using an ankle brace or taping your ankle prior to exercising. You can also talk to your doctor about procedures to help tighten the ligaments in your ankle.

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