Running With a Swollen Ankle

Calf 77As a runner I can get away with saying this:  Runners aren’t normal.  Admit it because we all know it’s true.  Veteran distance runners and non-runners alike would agree.

When most individuals with a swollen or painful joint would shut it down, start taking medicine and put the outcome of the injury in the hands of  a doctor.  Runner for some reason, be it passion or stupidity, usually try to “run through it”.

Runners with an arthritic ankle or joint effusion, in most cases, will not help the situation.  Unlike a knee or shoulder, swelling in the ankle is less obvious.  It will show itself as stiffness and limited range of motion.

The first step is determine the source of the swollen ankle with its pain and limited range of motion.  A quick visit to a certified athletic trainer is a great start.  A 3 minute exam with an ATC will help determine if the issue is within the joint, a muscle/tendon issue or a capsule/ligament problem.  All 3 require different treatments and have varied outcomes.

If it’s determined it’s a joint problem, getting to an ankle doctor such as a orthopedist or podiatrist is the next step.  As expected, an x-ray is in order.  The biggest concern is arthritic changes or a fracture within the joint surface.

Most ankle problems for runners are related to soft-tissue issues such as tight Achilles/calves, plantar fasciitis, stiff ankle capsules and/or weak arches.

Assuming the fractures and bad arthritis is not the reason, the typical solution for a swollen ankle: Downward Dog stretches, toes exercises to strength the arch, easy & short barefoot strides on grass 2x/wk, calf & arch massages, isolated strengthening exercises for the FRONT of the shins and icing after runs.  As you know, I’m not a big fan of meds….but a few Advils here and then will help.

In summary, see your friendly certified athletic trainer to rule out the bad stuff, loosen the tight things up, strengthen the muscles up and quiet down the warm stuff.  It’s time for a run….

How to Recover from the Unavoidable Ankle Sprain []

Sprained ankle’s can happen while your running a marathon, playing a sport or just walking to the store. What causes this injury, that can bring the best athlete’s to the sideline. It is the spraining of a ligament in your ankle or in your foot. The most common results of spraining your ankle are usually swelling, pain and limited mobility. So what’s the best way to recover from an ankle sprain?

Dreaded Ankle Sprain (Photo: Thinkstock Photos)

There’s on injury which is painful and and can happen at moments notice.  It’s the dreaded sprained ankle.

Sprained ankle’s can happen while your running, playing a sport or walking into a store.  Why is this injury so limiting that it can put the best of athletes on the sideline?

It’s usually the result of damage to the ligaments of the ankle and/or foot.  The  most common symptoms are swelling, pain and limited mobility.

What’s the best way to recover from an ankle sprain? Are there quick solutions to accelerate the healing?

Sprained ankles are one of the most common injuries in the sports.  With so many people being active within their lives, the need for a solution is high.

These key recovery tips can get you off the sidelines and back in the game.


Reoccurring ankle sprains often have less to do with a lack of strength around the ankle as much as a loss of balance and proprioception—the ability to know where your joint is in space. Proprioception is a fancy word, but the concept is relatively simple. Here’s how it works:

Close your eyes and make a fist. Place one finger up, then two. You can sense where your fingers are, right? That’s not because you’re looking at them, but because you can feel them due to proprioceptors in your ligaments.

When you first sprain your ankle, you damage the ligaments, which in turn damage the proprioceptors in that area. When you suffer another sprain, it isn’t necessarily a lack of strength that’s at fault, but since you weren’t looking at your ankle, you had less of a sense of where it was in space, so you turned it.

Re-establishing balance and proprioception will help you avoid future ankle sprains. Try balance activities that challenge your vision, like the 5-level progression below.


Perform this progression as part of your training program or at home when you have a few minutes. Progress from one level to the next to continue challenging yourself and improving proprioception. Do this someplace where you can easily touch to regain your balance if needed, such as a doorway.

  • Level 1: Stand on one leg for 30 seconds. Repeat on your other leg.
  • Level 2: Same as level one, but with your eyes closed.
  • Level 3: Same as level one, but stand on an unstable surface like a pillow or “stability trainer.”
  • Level 4: Same as level three, but with your eyes closed.
  • Level 5: Standing on one leg, turn your head to the left, right, up, and down. This is one repetition. Repeat 5 times.

Article Source:

Author: Sue Falsone