Causes of Burning in the Ankles While Running

Peroneal tendons are located along the outside portion of your ankle, running into the rear of your foot. Although these tendons are designed to take a tremendous amount of stress while running, excessive repetitive forces on them can cause a burning sensation and/or irritation in the ankles. This condition is known as peroneal tendinitis. Individuals with high arches are predisposed to developing peroneal tendinitis; however, the condition can appear in anyone. If you experience persistent ankle pain while running, discontinue the activity temporarily until you can visit your doctor.

Over-training can lead to burning ankles while running. (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)


If you are experiencing peroneal tendinitis, your symptoms are likely to be most prevalent while running, standing, walking or participating in other weight-bearing activities. Patients normally experience pain and occasional swelling along the outside and back portions of the ankle. Some also indicate a burning sensation, causing them to walk with a limp. The onset of peroneal tendinitis is gradual and does not occur as the result of a specific injury.


Peroneal tendinitis is often diagnosed by your doctor based on medical history as well as a foot and ankle exam. Your doctor will test your range of motion, looking for signs of swelling and inflammation. Your doctor may order an x-ray or MRI to rule out other conditions, such as a tear of the peroneal tendon.


Peroneal tendinitis is most commonly treated with conservative measures. Your doctor may recommend that you rest and avoid running until your symptoms are gone. You may be allowed to participate in other low-impact activities, such as swimming and cycling. Your doctor may also recommend the use of an ankle brace to help reduce pressure placed on your peroneal tendons. Physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications may also be prescribed. Surgery, which involved cleaning out the tendons, is only required if your ankle burning is severe and all other treatment has failed.


There are several precautions you can take to prevent ankle burning while running. Invest in a good pair of running shoes, and pay a visit to a podiatrist or sports medicine professional for a foot and ankle examination before you start your exercise regimen. Visiting a doctor can help identify any underlying foot conditions up-front that may cause pain while running. When starting a running program, start out slow and do not overdo it, gradually working your way up to where you want to be by adding a few minutes per week to your routine.

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