Running and injuries go together like ice cream and guilt. It always starts off feeling good, but, sometimes, something doesn’t feel good after finishing. Of course, at the Salerno Center, we want you feeling your best, brightest, and youngest. Running helps you with all of these. However, there are some concerns with running. Injuries become more possible the longer you run. The ankle is the system of bones, joints, and muscles that connect the foot to the race rest of the body. Ankles are incredibly important in being able to move across different types of terrain, as it is the pivot point from which the foot moves. Go ahead, stretch and move your foot around. Move the bottom of your foot closer to your knee. This movement is being guided largely by the complex system that is your ankle. Give it another stretch, stretching is healthy!
Sprain versus Strain
So, a lot of runner’s complaints focus around ankle sprains and strains. These kinds of injuries occur when there is an awkward movement that forces the tendons and muscles to stretch beyond their normal range of motion. Imagine if a runner accidentally lands on the side of their foot, and then bears their weight onto that foot. What happens is that the bottom of the foot could move even closer to the other knee and the runner’s muscles and tendons are pulled way farther than they ever were before.
This is considered a traditional ankle strain or sprain, depending on the severity. A strain is less severe, and a sprain is worse.
Three levels of sprain pain
What does a sprain feel like? Each person feels a sprain differently. After all, we experience things differently. For some, a sprain will be a lightning like feeling of pain in the side of the foot that is stretched. Following the pain, instant weakness as the body compensates for the pain.
Next, the ankle will begin to ache and it will be harder to walk. It is important to take pressure off of your foot sooner than later, because that will reduce further injury. Here is a tip: get ice on the sprain within the first 15 minutes, and it will help reduce the inflammation that occurs after an in-jury like that.
A sprain can be more serious than a fracture. If you have a sprain, consider seeing your doctor.
Complications from an ankle sprain
Sprains take a while to heal, and after there could be a few changes, such as a small cracking sound. As long as no pain accompanies the sound, it is a low risk. Checking it out might still be a good idea though.
Once an ankle is sprained, there is a higher risk of re-injuring. So take precautions and have your doctor take a careful look at the way you run: your gait. Consider wearing an ankle brace or wrapping your ankle up in a stretchy Ace bandage. Lastly, monitor long term pain in areas that didn’t have it before. Again, consult with your doctor, because an ankle sprain might be a little more than just an ankle sprain.
Lace up those running shoes
Get your gait looked at by a running store. They will be able to tell you what shoes are best for your particular running style and foot.
Talk to your doctor. Each person is unique, and the way they run is unique. Most people can run with no problems at all. If there is a problem, your doctor should be the first person you talk to. Now get out there and start running!