What to do for ankle pain due to exercise?

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Exercise is considered highly strenuous on the lower extremities including the ankles. The ankles are responsible for supporting the weight of the body while engaging in physical activities such as jumping, running, dancing or any sports. As a consequence, the individual can experience ankle pain every now and then. If not properly managed, ankle pain can progress to a chronic and incapacitating condition. A doctor should be consulted if the individual suffers from ankle pain due to exercise.

What are the types?

There are various types of ankle pain that can occur as the result of exercise. If the individual previously engaged in twisting, turning or moving the ankle in an unnatural position, he/she can experience a fracture, sprain or joint dislocation.

In case the pain appears more prevalent while exercising and reduces with rest, he/she might have sustained an overuse injury. The overuse injuries develop in a slow manner and can trigger issues such as bursitis, tendinitis or stress fracture. In addition, the individual can also end up with ankle pain due to incorrect rehabilitation of a previous ankle injury.

Ankle pain
A doctor should be consulted if the individual suffers from ankle pain due to exercise.

Possible causes

Even though the onset of a traumatic injury such as fracture or sprain is quite noticeable, the individual with overuse injury might not be able to recall the exact specifics on when and how the pain started.

Overuse injuries can develop in gradual manner and often a result of tendon inflammation which produces pain and swelling in the ankle. Engaging in strenuous exercise or sports, tight muscles, wearing ill-fitting footwear, training errors and poor exercise form can lead to ankle pain.


Ankle pain should not be ignored in any way. Once the individual experiences ankle pain, he/she must discontinue exercise and seek treatment. The usual form of treatment for ankle pain is the RICE method. This treatment option includes resting the affected ankle, application of ice for 20 minutes at a time for 4-5 times in a day, using a compression bandage to reduce the swelling and elevating the ankle over the heart.

The doctor will also recommend anti-inflammatory medications, braces or physical therapy to help stretch out and strengthen the ankle. As for severe cases of ankle injuries, the individual is placed in a walking boot or cast with the use of crutches for 4-6 weeks.

Considerations to bear in mind

If the individual ignores the ankle pain, it can result to lasting pain and instability of the ankle. In case the individual experiences several ankle sprains or ignores the indications of ankle pain, he/she is at risk to ankle instability.

Ankle instability might result to chronic swelling and pain. The individual will also feel as if the ankles are unable to properly support the body or the feet are giving away while walking or exercising. If the individual experiences chronic ankle pain or instability, an ankle brace or taping should be done before exercising. In addition, a doctor should be consulted regarding appropriate procedures to help tighten the ankle ligaments.

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