Ankle Pain - not sure what to do?

I have only recently started running, using couch to 5k. However I skipped large chunks and went from week 3 to a 6k run about 3 weeks ago. About 5 hours after the run I noticed pain in my ankle. This is been intermittent over the last 3 weeks, though have not run. I have tried using heat, cold and anti inflamatory drugs (ibuprofen)

I tried a run today, and within minutes the pain worsened. I stupidly tried to keep running on it in the hopes I might runthrough it.

I am now in agony - I really want to get back into running but don't know now what to do to sort my ankle out. 

The pain is at the back and left hand side of the left foot. I am 19 stone, so am putting a lot of pressure on my ankles, but I am doing this to lose weight. I have come down from 22 stone - I want to lose more and running seems pretty effective.



  • looks like you have found out the hard way, its not a good idea to skip large chunks of a training schedule! they are put together in such a way as to ease your training up slowly.

    sounds like you have put strain on your ankles, possibly achilles tendon. I would go and see a doctor to make sure you have not done anything drastic. if its just a case of resting, then do so, maybe just walk for a few weeks to see how you go. If you have strained something especially a tendon then dont use heat, hopefully a few weeks of ice and rest may help. also gentle massage may also help.

    Then start the couch to 5k again - and dont skip any this time!

  • If it's at the back, think Achilles. More to the outside, think peroneal. There's a good site I found recently, Athletes Treating Athletes, which goes through everything including showing where all the muscles and tendons are, and what massage, stretching etc. you can do for each bit of your legs - including videos.

    One thing I learned from there is to think of pairs of opposing muscle groups - so if it's your peroneal, you may also have to work on the posterior tibial (inside of the ankle).

    Getting it checked out is a good idea. If your GPs advice isn't very useful (e.g. if "rest" is suggested and that doesn't help) then consider going to a decent sports physio.

    Good luck.

  • Cheers both - I never thought of the training schedule as preventing injury - just as increasing fitness. I am now taking regular ibuprofen - didn't know about not using heat - have been alternating heat and ice - will cut the heat out - why is that by the way?

    There is a bit of pain at the back, but more to the side, I'll check out the website Debra - thanks for the advice.


  • Ian: fine to use ibuprofen short term to reduce pain and inflammation. Please don't get into the habit of using it all the time to enable you to keep training as if you weren't injured! My rule is that it's either-or: if it's bad enough that I'm taking ibuprofen, I'm also resting, not running.

  • I'm not running now - using ibuprofen until it get's better. Ordered an ankle strap as well - probably can't do any harm. I'm wondering if it's more muscular - possibly along side of foot rather than ankle. I'll keep icing a nd hopefully it will recover quickly.

    Thank's again.

  • Ian, try Voltarol Emugel, it's very good on sore ankles, I can vouch for it!

    Good luck in your continued weight loss, I gave up running for a long time due to injuries & put on quite a bit of weight, dieting alone wasn't enough for me to lose it again. Then I started to run again, although it was tough I found the weight steadily going down & although I'm not where I want to be yet I've come to realise that running combined with a better diet are seriously good for weight loss.

  • Cheers Andy - i'll give it a try. It's such a frustration. I have never run 6k before and it felt so good. I obviously need to take it slower. I think it's more muscular than joint. The left hand side of my left foot. I'm going to keep going with the ice regularly - hopefully it won't be too long!


  • Possibly being a new runner you may not have heard of the RICE injury treatment -

    Rest -

    Ice - you're doing that already

    Compression - the ankle strap should help

    Elevation - put your feet up & watch the tv!

    You sound like a runner already - injuries are frustrating - hopefully you'll be ok very soon, all the best!

  • Ian - do NOT mix ibuprofen orally and Voltarol gel (which contains diclofenac - a different NSAID* to ibuprofen) rubbed in. Use one NSAID or the other, not both!

    If it is the peroneal, while the pain may be at the ankle/along the side of the foot, you may find that ther's a sore area of muscle further up the leg, even just below the knee, and massage of that area is needed (that's what it was with my peroneal injury, anyway).

    *NSAID =  non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, which includes ibuprofen, aspitin, diclofenac (=Voltarol) and others.

  • Thanks Debra - I will make sure I don't mix. I am at the doctors tomorrow so I will speak to him.

    What a friendly and helpful bunch you are - only recently joined here, so thank you all!

  • In the end I bought a decent ankle strap, kept sticking my foot into a basin of iced water, and kept it elevated. Much improved. Did my first run today (back to the start of C25K, and will stick to it this time).

    Thanks for all your help and support

  • Very glad to hear that the ankle is improving. Good luck with the C25K plan - keep running!

  • physio sounds like a good plan - Portland Physio in St Johns Wood (Paul Vipond or Cate) or Suzanne Ferreira (Hampstead) really know what they're doing. Orthotics could prevent further problems once you're running again (Foot Factor / Norbert Cauvas). Good time to take a rest with this latest cold spell!

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