Ankle pain - My GP is useless so I am turning to you!

Hello folks.

I went to my GP about my ankle pain today. Her first piece of sage advice: "stop running".  This was before any kind of advice involving physios, stretches, running shoes etc. A health professional advising less exercise. Brilliant.

I am a bit confused about it to be honest.  It doesn't hurt to run at all.  I get no pain while running, or indeed after running.  The pain begins when I rest or go to bed.  I get a kind of throbbing pain all around the top of my foot, sometimes it radiates to my toes or sometimes up my shin.  It lasts exactly one night and then it is fine.  No discernable swelling or discolouration. Same on both feet.  It has been for the last 2-3 months and has remained the same - as in it hasn't got any worse. It is enough to keep me awake and I have been munching through the ibuprofen to cope, which I'm sure you'll agree, isn't ideal.

I have been running since March, and using barefoot running shoes since April as my knees disagree with impact. I run about 20k a week (2 5k runs and 1 10k run at the weekend).  I am quite naughty and don't stretch - I warm up and cool down with a 5 min walk instead.  I am going to start ankle stretches from tomorrow to see if that has any impact on the pain.

Any advice would be brilliant as I REALLY don't want to stop running!


  • Presumambly you are fore/mid foot striking in your barefoot shoes?

  • I had the EXACT same symptoms libee, it did get better after a short while but I was told to strengthen the ankle muscles when on a recovery day. I still have a little niggle every now and then but nothing too concerning. My best approach as I'm a man is ignore it and hope it goes away image

    With the strengthen work I was told squats on a balance board?

    Hope this helps.

    Oh another thing is I run a little further than you and mine hasn't got any worse, if anything it's only improved over time. I drink protein shakes after a hard session so don't know if this helped or it naturally got better.
  • As an afterthough, your GP's response doesn't really surprise me. If I have a running related inury the last person I'd go to is a GP, unless I knew they were a runner or had a special interest in sport medicine.

    I'd suggest a sport physio or good sports therapist but you'll either have to go back to you GP and insist on a referral, or pay to go privately.  If you're a member of a running club someone is bound to know of a good one locally. 

  • Trogs: Yes I do - it would be toop painful to heel strike in those!  Yeah I went to her hoping to get referred on really.  After a lot of pestering and after suggestions of running grass and the like, she did give me a number for a podiatrist, so I guess that is the next step if stretching and Jason's tip of ankle strengthening doesn't have an effect.

    Jason: Thank you!  It's reassuring to hear someone else has had it and managed to overcome it without drastic measures!  My husband is an avid weight lifter so I will ask him to teach me some exercises to strengthen up my ankles and see if that helps.  I was hoping it was going to be something like that.  Cheap and easy to fix!  

  • could be to do with the muscles around your shin, may need a massage and a stretch. check this link to see if it relates to what you have

  • Try skipping wearing your minimalist shoes. It strengthens feet, ankles, calves. Not every day and not playground skipping (jumping high) but the sort boxers do.image

  • LiBee: also (so as not to discount the really obvious) check it's not a pressure thing from your laces!

    And DO start stretching after your run (as well as cool down), and if possible also self-massage of feet and ankles. The strngthening idea is also well worth pursuing.

  • Skipping seems like a good idea!  Thanks Feral.

    Debra: Really obvious?  Not to me!  image I actually hadn't thought of that at all!  I do tend to lace up quite tight.  I wasn't aware that that could cause pain.  I will wear my other drawstring minimalist shoes for a while and see if that makes a difference.  Thanks for  the tip!

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