Are you a runner who likes to improve their running endurance by running on a treadmill at the gym? Or, maybe, like me, you use the treadmill to get your cardio in as a warm up prior to lifting weights. Although it’s still warm enough to run outside in the fresh air, you may find yourself using the treadmill more when the weather turns colder. The treadmill is a good way to stay in running shape all year round.
But is the Treadmill Hurting Your Ankle?
You’re really proud of yourself. You’ve stuck with your treadmill running program, but now your ankle hurts. Should you throw in the gym towel and stop? While it’s a good idea to take a break for a few days, an ankle problem shouldn’t keep you off the treadmill for good. Treadmills provide exercising convenience for our increasingly busy lives, but they aren’t risk-free.
What’s Causing my Treadmill Ankle Pain?
It might just be that your ankle pain is caused by spending too much time on the treadmill. Repeated running sessions for extended periods of time will put stress on your ankles and can lead to overuse injuries. If you’ve suffered from an ankle injury in the past, treadmill running may exacerbate it. And shoes with insufficient support may result in an ankle sprain or strain.
How Can I Prevent Ankle Pain When Running on a Treadmill?
Proper preparation for your treadmill workout can dramatically reduce your risk of ankle pain. Here’s what you should do:
- Stretch – Stretch your legs and ankles before getting on the treadmill. Stretching increases the flow of blood to the ankle area, reducing the risk of sprains and strains. Here’s a video demonstrating how to rotate your ankles.
- Alternate with other exercises – To prevent overuse ankle injuries, alternate your session on the treadmill with other forms of exercise. This changes things up for your muscles and prevents your ankles from being stressed by the same repetitive workout every time you go to the gym.
- Wear the right shoes – You need a good pair of supportive running shoes that should be replaced as soon as they stop giving you optimum support.
What’s the Best Treatment for Ankle Pain?
Despite your best efforts, if your ankle still hurts after a session on the treadmill, take it easy for a few days and give your ankle a rest. Continuing to run on an injured ankle is asking for trouble, and you may end up making the problem worse. Here are some home treatments for an ankle that’s hurting.
- Take over-the-counter pain medications to help relieve discomfort.
- Use an ice pack on your ankle several times a day for twenty minutes at a time.
- Wrap your ankle in a compression bandage when out walking to add stability and prevent further damage.
- When your ankle feels good enough to hop back on the treadmill, start slowly. If the pain returns, stop running.
When Should I See a Podiatrist for Ankle Pain?
If home treatment isn’t working or you know you have a severe ankle injury, seek medical attention. If you have swelling and/or bruising, you may have a severe sprain or a bone fracture. Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle has the word “Ankle” in its name. That’s because we specialize in foot and ankle pain. So, if running on the treadmill or any other activity has caused an ankle injury, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with us.