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What Causes Sore Ankles After Cardio Exercise

author image Emma Cale
Emma Cale has been writing professionally since 2000. Her work has appeared in “NOW Magazine,” “HOUR Magazine” and the “Globe and Mail.” Cale holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Windsor and advanced writing certificates from the Canadian Film Centre and the National Theatre School of Canada.
What Causes Sore Ankles After Cardio Exercise
A man with sore ankles. Photo Credit: vadimguzhva/iStock/Getty Images

As weight bearing joints, your ankles are designed to absorb shock, making it possible for you to jump, dance and run. If you experience pain in your ankles after cardiovascular exercise, it may mean your shoes are not providing the support your ankles require. In more serious instances, sore ankles after cardio may indicate an ankle sprain or arthritis. Speak to your doctor or health care practitioner if the pain in your ankles persists for more than 72 hours.

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Sports Shoes

If your ankles hurt after cardio, the first place to look is your shoes. Footwear that is too old, worn or does not contain sufficient shock absorption for your ankle during high impact cardiovascular exercise can easily cause pain. Insufficient footwear can also lead to more chronic injuries in your ankles and feet if not replaced. When shopping for athletic shoes, try them on immediately after your workout, as feet tend to expand during exercise, according to the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. Also, your new shoes need to be comfortable the instant you put them on. Don’t count on a break-in period to make them fit or feel better.

Arthritis in You Ankles

Sore ankles after cardio exercise may also indicate arthritis. This is especially true if you are female and over 40. If you experience other ankle symptoms such as swelling, stiffness, warmth or redness in and around your ankle and reduced range of motion, speak to your physician. In the meantime, adding resistance training to your exercise routine may curtail some of your symptoms. Strength training can reverse several of the effects commonly associated with rheumatoid arthritis, including pain, inflammation, muscle weakness and tiredness.

Ankle Sprain

Soreness in one or both ankles after cardio may also indicate the presence of a sprain. Ankle sprains are common sports-related injuries and need to be fully rested and healed before returning to exercise. Otherwise the sprain may become recurrent and interfere with your training on a long-term basis. Other symptoms of sprains include swelling and loss of mobility.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Pain in the ankles after cardio may also signal tarsal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when the posterior tibial nerve located in the ankle becomes compressed and inflamed. Additional symptoms of this condition include pins and needles and numbness. Tarsal tunnel syndrome responds well to rest, ice therapy and anti-inflammatory medication.

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