Ankle sore from running, but not sure how.

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    Apr 02, 2009 6:38 PM GMT
    About 3 weeks ago, I started running again after a long winter. It was my third time out, and I over-did it. Not really sure what I did to mess up my ankle so bad, but it could be a number of things from just going too far, intermittent sprints, jogging downhill to get to my favorite trails, or running uphill to end my workout. Whatever it was, I did it a lot sooner than I should have, and I seem to have ruined my ankle.

    So I took the time off. I don't drive, so I have to walk everywhere, and there has been a pain that has been getting better to a huge extent, but there was still a slight pain over the last week.

    I decided today that I've taken enough time off, and went for a light jog today to finish working through the pain, to get back into a routine. I stuck to running on the grass and dirt next to the sidewalks so that I didn't shock the hell out of my ankle, and after my short run today (15 minutes tops), my ankle is hurt again. It looks bruised on the calcaneus tendon right in the middle. Doesn't really look swollen, but after my jog, I took a shower and stretched in the warm water, then walked to school. During my walk, I felt that same pain again.

    It feels like my ankle just won't heal! I don't want to take much more time off, but feel I keep having to. I haven't been able to do a lower body workout in fear that I'll blow my ankle out in the middle of a squat. Of course, I'd rather heal now than injure myself with a heavy leg workout, but jogging is hardly an intense leg workout, and even that seems to be messing me up.

    I'm going to start icing my ankle again tonight when I get home, but since I walk everywhere and don't drive, I'm not really able to give it days-on-end worth of rest. When I was jogging, I didn't feel sharp pains or anything. Should I rest another week and keep doing light jogs through the pain until it goes away?
  • sportsjockla

    Posts: 498

    Apr 02, 2009 8:38 PM GMT
    I did something similar not to long ago. I don't usually run, but I do with some of my clients. I twisted it stepping off a curb. Running on an uneven surface you have that risk of injuring yourself. Run on a track if there is one near you.

    As far as what you should do about your ankle...First off... go see a doctor. This is no place to be getting medical advice. I'll tell you what I did and you can take it from there.

    I stayed off it for awhile. I still did leg exercises, but limited. I did no calf exercises. I did planter and dorsal flexion to help strengthen it. I ran with my client today, and it felt fine. I'm doing leg work today, but still going to avoid calve raises, etc.
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    Apr 03, 2009 12:33 AM GMT
    It's best to get medical advice from a doctor but if you want our thoughts how about some more info.

    What type of pain?
    Where is it?
    Is it tender to the touch?
    Is it always there?
    Does it feel better or worse when you start running?
    Are your shoes: new? worn? same style you've always worn? etc.
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    Apr 03, 2009 1:00 AM GMT
    It won't kill to see a professional.
    Only you know your body and joints well enough to determine whether you can go ahead with any sort of activity, or not - if not: seek professional opinion.

    Since you feel you should be able to run comfortably enough, maybe you have the same problem as I do. I underpronate, so I have to be aware of every foot-strike otherwise I'll screw up my ankle. I've become quite paranoid and down-right psycho about my ankle.

    So, go see doctor, then
    Get the proper shoes, and try to run on a soft, flat surface (maybe a treadmill) for now, and pay attention to every strike. Don't run on anything uneven until you learn to understand your foot-strikes well enough. So no running on the beach like David Hasselhoff.
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    Apr 03, 2009 4:27 AM GMT
    from the things you described i would say the sprinting part is the problem. if you are just starting to run you shouldnt be running downhill or up. generally you are supposed to start with jogging before doing sprint intervals.

    sprinting before your body has time to adjust will cause major problems that will nag your achilies, shins, and ankles completing your runs.

    i would suggest starting on somewhere flat surfaced like a track then moving into the up and down hills. it should allow the right amount of strain with enough support to prep your body parts for trail running.
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    Apr 03, 2009 5:14 AM GMT
    I went through a lot of hurt when I first started running. Some things I learned over the years..

    - Buy good running shoes. Cross trainers don't count. Spending some cash on quality running shoes now, will reduce the chances of you spending even more cash later on for surgery or physical therapy.

    - Like Garunner suggested, start out gradual. I developed a stress fracture from doing a lot of sprints and other hard running too soon. Your muscles, ligaments, bones, and joints need time to strengthen up.

    - Asphalt is softer than concrete. I try to run on the road and avoid the sidewalk, but only when car traffic is light and it's not too dark outside.

    - If you start to feel weird sharp pains that tend to linger. Stop. Take a break from your running or ease up on your runs.

    - Add some variety to your runs and hit the dirt trails if any are available in your area. The uneven/soft surface will give you a challenge and will strengthen your legs even more.

    .

    But first, go see a doctor. Because what you're describing now sounds pretty serious.
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    Apr 03, 2009 11:20 AM GMT
    The reason I haven't seen a doctor is that I don't take pain killers. Most make me hallucinate, and the pain I'm having isn't so severe that I can't deal with it. When it comes to pain, doctors just can't do much. They'll try and guess whether I broke something or sprained something, and tell me to rest my ankle, stay off my foot, give me a brace to wear for a few days, tell me to ice it, give me x-rays, etc. Either way, I've got no health insurance right now (can't afford it at the time), and unless it gets more severe, I wouldn't be able to afford visiting the doc. I went plenty of times when I was a skater in my younger years, and have enough practice healing injuries that I've got the healing part down.

    As far as other questions:

    What type of pain?
    - It's not a sharp, shooting pain. It's more of a dull pain that stays local. When I flex my ankle, It feels like it is "pulling" right at the calcaneus tendon.

    Where is it?
    - directly on the tendon. When I flex my ankle, I feel it more at the bottom of the tendon, right at the connection between the tendon and my actual calcaneus, as if I can feel the "pull" of the tendon more pronounced.

    Is it tender to the touch?
    - Yes. It feels the same as a bruise.

    Is it always there?
    - Yes, when I walk. It isn't sore unless I move it, and seems to only hurt on flexion.

    Does it feel better or worse when you start running?
    - I've only been running once since I first hurt it, but it felt fine during my run. It was only sore after. Today it feels better than yesterday, but still there.

    Are your shoes: new? worn? same style you've always worn? etc.
    - My shoes are getting a bit worn. They're running shoes, and I've had them for about a year now. I didn't run in them over the winter (October - March), but used them as gym shoes over that time. So they were still being used, but not much of a beating.

    There's a grass track locally here, so when my ankle gets better, I'll get some new shoes and take my jogs to the track for a while. From others' experiences, sounds like I may have just jumped in too fast with uphill runs and sprints.

    Thanks for the advice guys.
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    Apr 03, 2009 12:13 PM GMT
    Pyrotech it sounds like you may have a case of Achille's tendonitis. I understand your predicament of going to see a doctor. Times are tough around here and I think that many people are in the same boat as you are when it comes to health insurance. I think that without laying eyes and hands on you, none of us (even the medical personnel in the house) are going to be able to give you a correct diagnosis.

    I think that time off from running (actually... lots of time off, if it is an Achille's tendon issue it takes a long time to heal), icing (as you had mentioned) and NSAIDs (ibuprofen) will help (be careful if you have stomach ulcers or kidney issues).

    I would suggest finding a doctor and/or physical therapist that would look at you for free. There are some great people out there that understand life circumstances and would be happy to help. They may not be able to do an Xray or other fancy diagnostics due to cost, but a physical examination of that lower leg might be all they need to diagnose the problem.

    My advice is to not run and rest it for many weeks (4 at least, but more like 6-icon_cool.gif. Continue with the ice and ibuprofen. Only after a couple weeks (when the pain is no longer there when you walk) start some light stretching of that tendon (and I mean LIGHT stretching). Then after 6-8 weeks you might want to trial a very slow and very short run to see if it still hurts. If not, a couple days after the initial run try running again at a very slow pace, but a bit longer run. Build up very gradually and if it starts to hurt restart the time off, icing, ibuprofen routine. Always continue with the stretching.

    THE MAJOR THING HERE IS THAT IF YOU TEAR YOUR ACHILLE'S TENDON IT BECOMES A HUGE ISSUE. A SURGICAL CORRECTION IS THE ONLY DEFINITIVE CURE. Talk about cost without insurance and time off..

    Here is a website that talks about Achille's tendonitis and also gives stretches and other treatment aids (the stretches are a link on the right hand side of the page under the picture of the text book).

    http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/cybertherapist/back/achilles/tendinitis.htm

    Best of luck and I hope this helps.
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    Apr 03, 2009 6:42 PM GMT
    Bsskate, after reading the link, the symptoms for the acute phase listed are exactly what I'm feeling, including the "creaking" feeling when flexing the ankle being palatable when I move the ankle. I didn't no how to describe that other than 'creaking', almost like it's got a small vibration when I place my fingers over the tendon and move the foot.

    So it looks like I'm going to be icing and resting it for a while, and taking ibuprofen for swelling, as very light amounts of that don't make me hallucinate, and still make swelling reduce. I'll wrap it on my downtime, and will wrap it to support the tendon while walking. I started asking around today for a physical therapist to see if that's exactly what it is, and stretches to do to help me out.

    Thanks for all your help, especially in helping me to see that maybe it's more serious than I thought! icon_neutral.gif
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    Apr 06, 2009 3:05 AM GMT
    I agree with bsskate it sounds like a tendonitis. Tendon injuries take a long time to heal. I was out of running for almost 1.5 years due to plantar fasciitis. Tried drugs, PT, and steroids - none helped. Rest and carbon fiber arch supports finally resolved the pains.

    Take it easy and if you can afford it go see a doctor. One specializing in sports injuries would be the best.
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    Apr 07, 2009 7:29 PM GMT
    My ankle's been feeling better for the past few days. I did a light lower body workout today, but I'm still afraid to do squats. I was able to do bulgarian squats as I didn't have to bend my ankle, and did bodyweight pistol squats on a bosu ball, as my ankle doesn't bend much, but is still used for support. I then rode the stationary bike for about 30 mins, and everything was fine.

    Walking uphill is feeling okay, but I have changed my route to work and school so that I don't have to walk up steep hills. I think I'll keep to that for a while, but I'm going to lay off the jogging for at least a month or two. I've been doing light stretches every morning before I start my day (which is filled with walking), and every night before sleep. I've stopped icing the tendon, as it doesn't appear swollen, and isn't in pain. I'm still going to take it very slow though until it hasn't hurt for about a month before going back to heavy workouts.

    I don't want to do any kind of squats that would cause my ankle to bend much for fear of hurting it, but does anyone have any recommendations to light lower body exercises I can start to get back into while the ankle is healing, ones that won't bend it much? The bulgarian squats were fine today, and I'm thinking I should be fine with leg extensions and curls. I'm not even dreaming of doing any type of calf raises.
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    Apr 13, 2009 11:20 PM GMT
    Much good advice here. Remember: pain is there to tell you something, and you ignore it at your own risk.

    Some of the stuff I've learned (and sometimes ignored, to be honest!)

    Look for soft ground to run on.
    Get good shoes, and get new ones often.
    See a professional.
    Look into orthotics

    It's best to ease back into running. Biking is a good alternate-day workout, and there are other things to do for a good cardio workout. Some of the semi-pro athletes I used to know ran in a pool, in a float vest, during recovery from training injuries.

    It's also good to maintain some running all winter, so the muscles involved don't take too long to come back in the spring.

    Good luck!