Running on a swollen ankle from an insect bite

Hello, I am hoping a few people here may have experienced something similar and be able to offer some advice.

Basically, I got bitten on my left ankle, during the hot spell and it was as itchy as hell for a good few days, then, yesterday afternoon, it just swelled up, got really hot and more itchy. I've used Lanacane to try and stop the itchiness and have an ice pack on it as we speak. The question is, should I run on it?

I decided I would run on it last night as I couldn't think of a reason why it would affect it. I had hoped this morning that it might have gone down but, if anything, it's slightly worse.

As it's not actually anything to with the ankle joint or muscles/ligaments within, I'm kind of assuming that running can't really have too much of an effect. It doesn't hurt particlarly and just feels generally uncomfortable.

I'm really enjoying my running at the moment and don't want this to lose me any days, particularly as I couldn't do anything over the weekend and the weekend coming is probably also going to be too busy to run.


  • Have you tried taking antihistamines?

    Maybe show it to a pharmacist and see what they say.

  • Hi Wilkie. I take antihistamines anyway for hayfever (one a day). I've found advice on getting the swelling down and my sister's a pharmacist so will be asking her for what other creams I can use.

    I just wondered if anyone knew whether running on it while it's still swollen could make it worse.

  • It sounds like it might be infected - I've had that a couple of times (I tend to react really badly to insect bites), but in that case the swelling has been rather painful and it's become very hot (and I ended up on antibiotics in the end.) so I've been unable to run on it. I don't think the running would make the bite worse, but if the ankle is swollen already it might encourage the retention of fluids and make the swelling worse??? If it doesn't improve it might be worth popping along to see a nurse practitioner/GP.

  • Curly45Curly45 ✭✭✭

    I always run on mine - they are fine. Swell up a bit in the heat and with the sweat but go down again.

    Its horsefly that sets me seems to help as does (I know its hard) NOT scratching it as you spread the swelling if you do.

    Only once have had I had some I could run on and only because my foot was so swollen I couldnt get my shoes on image

    A few days and it should settle down a little, the more you scratch the longer it takes!

  • Thanks mingo and curly.

    I'm not scratching it at the moment (the lanacane is helping with the itching), but I did scratch it like mad last week, before it got swollen. It did bleed a little bit at the time so I'm worried it may have become infected. Will see the GP if it doesn't go down over the next day or two.

    I don't think the running made it worse last night as it hadn't really swollen any more when I woke up but has swollen more as I've walked on it today. I will try to keep it elevated and iced this afternoon (although I'll be on my own with my six month old son for most of it, so it won't be easy!). Can then see how I feel about a run later on.

    Thanks for the advice.

  • Anthisan cream will be better on insect bites than Lanacane - it's an antihistamine. I'd maybe double up and take two different antihistamine pills - you've got a big choice of over the counter ones - to boost their effect. My hayfever used to be so bad I'd take 3 a day - cetirizine, clorphenamine and loratadine. All together they just about kept my symptoms under control. Insect bite could be from a cleg - horsefly - they can swell up whole limbs in particularly allergic people, and also leave sizeable scars. But I'd say unless it's sore to run on you'd most likely be okay to do that just as normal...

  • These sound like the bastards that set me off. Never seen it happen so not really sure it's them, but it's way different from a mossie bite.

    Large swollen ankles that feel like bags of water when you try and run and 2 inch hard lumps around the area plus hot legs for half a limb and red streaks for feet at a time. 

    Best tactic is to nuke it with antihistamines but it took three to four days to get it under control with 360mg fexofenadines and 300 ranitidine. Piriton works pretty well too if you are stuck and it's over the counter stuff. But check with GP in case of infection risk?

  • Hubby had quite a good one on his calf a few weeks ago...was swollen from ankle to knee. We think that might have been a tick because he's been out and about on his bike. Any bite flares badly for me, but fortunately my husband seems to be tastier to the little b*****s than I am, so since we've been living together I've been bitten less image

    Do have to remember to spray the repellant on before going for an evening run at this time of year though!


  • where were you when you got bitten? if you were anywhere near dorset then it may be a blandford fly bite. is the bite a bit weepy?

    If i get bitten by one of those it always swells up and goes hot for days. i have had one affect an area of about 6-8" diameter on my leg before.

    if it is blandford fly then it wont do you any harm but may cause discomfort

  • Blandford fly is no longer confined to Dorset - it's spreading across southern England.

    It lives near slow-moving water, and usually bites around the ankle or lower leg.

  • have never been bitten by one out of dorset so far (touch wood). as far as i can tell it lives anywhere a bit damp (near my allotment, in the woods, within 100 yards of any river etc etc). have been bitten on leg, arm, and face. not nice image

  • Thanks Nick. Really helfpul.

    Wilkie / Max's Mum - I'm in Gloucestershire, so not a million miles from Dorset. My only encounter (that I know of) with a Blandford Fly is a beer of the same name! The bite didn't really weep no. Was pretty much the same as any other bite for a while and then just decided to swell up massively.

    I decided against running on it, mainly because I doubt I'd have got my trainer on on Tuesday evening it had swollen so much but also because it had become more uncomfortable and was so swollen that I just thought running on it couldn't possibly do it any good.

    Anyway, couple of days later and it's much better. Still looks a bit bigger than my other ankle but has improved hugely. Six miles to celebrate tonight then!

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