Your ankle is made up of an intricate collection of ligaments, tendons, muscles and bones. Although the ankle is sturdy enough to bear the weight of your body, it is prone to injury and throbbing even during low-impact activities such as walking. Because ankle throbbing can be debilitating, it is important to understand what can cause it to occur while walking and how it can be alleviated.
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You can notice throbbing on the outside, inside or both sides of your ankle. You can also experience it around the Achilles tendon, the tendon that connects your heel to your lower leg muscles. Throbbing can range from mild to severe. It can worsen at the beginning of your walk and decrease as you progress. Additional symptoms can include instability, skin discoloration, tenderness, aching, warmth, bruising or difficulty moving or walking.
According to the Merck Manuals, overuse is the most common form of injury during exercise. This can occur if you overuse the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the ankle with excessive walking, long walks or by not taking breaks as needed. Throbbing can also occur if you strain or sprain a muscle or ligament in the ankle area by suddenly changing directions, tripping or walking on uneven terrain. Some medical conditions such as Achilles tendinitis, gout or arthritis can also trigger ankle throbbing while walking.
Rest you ankle for about 48 hours. Wrap it with an elastic bandage or brace to immobilize it, which will help ease throbbing and prevent re-injury. Ice your ankle right away for about 15 minutes at a time every three hours. Treat throbbing, pain and inflammation by elevating your ankle by propping it up on a few pillows, even while you are asleep. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help control symptoms. Contact a doctor if you suspect a medical condition such as gout or tendinitis.
Prevent ankle throbbing by warming up with stretching or light aerobic activity prior to your walking routine. Rotate your ankles and point your toes several times before and after each walk. Wear supportive walking shoes that are flexible, have a low heel and offer proper arch support. Avoid overuse injury by cross-training with other physical activities such as swimming or cycling one or two times per week.