Ankle Pain When Running – Complete Guide to Inner & Outer Pain
All runners at some point have experienced ankle pain when running. This pain can be located on the inner and outside of the ankle.
When ignored, ankle pain can turn into a long-term injury that can prevent you from training.
Taking the right measures and understanding the cause of the problem can get you back running again. It can also help relieve soreness, pain and improve mobility.
So, if you have been struggling with ankle injuries from running, keep reading to learn more.
Ankle Pain When Running – A Complete Guide
Before we talk about ankle pain when running, you first have to understand what the ankle is.
The ankle joint is a complex group of bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. The main joint revolves around the fibula, tibia, and talus bones. Together these bones connect at the talocrural joint, which creates a hinge that connects the fibula and tibia in the lower limb.
Because of this, the ankle moves in two directions. Plantarflexion and dorsiflexion, which means way and towards your body. However, the ankle has great mobility as is about to produce side-to-side movements as well. This is called eversion and inversion.
Since the ankle is able to handle a range of movements, it is not surprising that the ankle is able to support different movements. Such as running, jumping, standing, and walking.
However, for this reason, the ankle is prone to injury, especially if you are a runner.
Stride, weight, speed, and mobility are all factors that can cause ankle pain. However, things like offroad running, poor running form, and high mileage also influence ankle injuries in the runner.
That’s why as a runner you may experience soreness, inflammation, and pain in the ankle. And if not addressed, can lead to a more serious injury that can put you out for weeks, and even months.
Inner Ankle Pain Running
If you are experiencing inner ankle pain when running, you are most likely to experience pain that travels up the leg as well. This is called Posterior Tibial Tendonitis.
Posterior Tibial Tendonitis is usually caused by:
– Poor running technique paired with high mileage
– Flat feet
– Weak ankle muscles that help to stabilize the ankle.
– Weak calf muscles
Weak ankle muscles are a big influence on inner ankle pain. That is because ankle stabilizer muscles are weak and unable to cope with the load placed through the ankle.
Calf muscles are another factor that can cause issues around the inner ankle. If the calf muscles are weak or underdeveloped you will find that more stress is placed on the ankle to help stabilize the lower leg during landing. This can result in overuse of the surrounding muscles around the ankle. Resulting in inflammation, pain, and injury.
So, how do you fix inner ankle pain when running?
First look at your running technique and see if this is an underlying factor. Alternatively, strengthen your ankle stabilizer muscles (Tibialis Posterior).
Other things like add support to flat feet in terms of inner soles or orthotics. As well as spending time strengthening your calf muscles.
Outer Ankle Pain Running
If your outer ankle causes pain when running, you may be experiencing Peroneal tendonitis. This form of injury is caused by a swollen peroneal tendon. This tendon connects your fibula (lower leg bone) to the bone on the outside of the ankle.
The cause of pain in this area is usually from activities that include lateral motion, like walking and running. Often running on uneven surfaces can also cause outer ankle pain when running.
Runners that supinate are also more prone to this type of injury. However, with the correct running shoes, it can prevent this from happening in runners that supinate.
However, for some runners that supinate, a stability or motion-control shoe can often place greater stress on the peroneal tendon. That is because it ends up limiting the amount of pronation this type of runner needs.
Ankle Pain Running No Swelling – What You Should Know?
There can be a few reasons why you have ankle pain but no swelling. One of the most common causes is a high ankle sprain.
This type of sprain tends to make your ankle hurt but necessarily doesn’t cause swelling.
High ankle sprains (also called syndesmotic ankle injuries) can cause pain in the ligaments between your tibia and fibula, which are located just above the ankle joint.
Syndesmotic ankle injuries in runners are usually caused by a sharp or sudden twist or turn of the ankle. This means that offroad runners are typically more likely to experience this form of sprain. However, roadrunners can also be affected too.
How to Prevent Ankle Pain During & After Running?
Luckily there are multiple ways to prevent ankle pain during and after running. This involves:
– Wearing the correct footwear
– Strengthening stabilizer muscles around the ankle
– Strengthening the calf muscle
– Slowly increasing mileage
– Limiting rough offroad running
– Using correct orthotics
– Improving your running gait
All of the above factors can help reduce the chances of having inner and outer ankle pain when running. While the odd slip or fall can cause a sprain, if you follow the above guidelines you most likely prevent an ankle injury from overuse, or from poor stabilization muscles.
However, if you do end up with an ankle injury it is important to rest, ICE, and use anti-inflammatories. Doing so will help speed up the recovery process and you back to running in no time.
It is also wise to fully rest when experiencing symptoms of ankle pain. Since the ankle constantly deals with a lot of load, continuing to run may put you out for weeks. It may also lead to other more serious injuries as well.
So, play it safe and ice the ankle, rest, and once pain and swelling subside, gently ease back into your running.