There is nothing like the intensity and release of a good run. The feeling of the ground falling away from you as your sneakers beat down the path is something that every runner lives for. Unfortunately, running is a high-impact sport that can wreak havoc on your ankles if you’re not careful.
Ankle injuries are common with runners and can lay them out for months. Our ankles do a lot for our running posture, and if you ignore a twinge or a minor ankle injury, you could end up with more injuries on other parts of your body as it attempts to relieve the pressure on the ankle.
From tendonitis to a sprain to a stress fracture, knowing what you can do to protect your ankles from these common running injuries can mean the difference between months spent in rehab, or making your best time yet on the track.
Here are six things you can do to prevent ankle sprains and protect your running career:
Focus on Strengthening Exercises
Weak ankles can plague runners. This is especially risky if you are a desk worker. People with active lifestyles but sedentary work can have weaker ankle muscles and ligaments, making them more susceptible to sprains and injuries. Exercises like calf raises, ankle circles, and shin raises can all help build strong, stable ankles.
Stay Hydrated and Eat Well
Running is taxing on the body and requires a lot of calories, so it’s important that you fuel your body correctly. Eating well and staying hydrated are huge components of keeping your body healthy and at the top of its game. Focus on a well-rounded diet with lots of veggies and lean protein and drink plenty of water each day.
Know Your Body
As a runner, it’s essential that you know your body and how it feels so that you can identify when something is happening in your ankles that aren’t normal. As a runner, familiarize yourself with the symptoms of common running injuries that can occur to your ankles so that you know how to recognize an injury and know how to treat it so that it doesn’t get worse. Sometimes, all you’ll need is a bit of RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) however, sometimes you’re going to need to see a doctor, and you’ll want to be able to tell the difference.
Warm Up and Cool Down
Always make sure to warm up and cool down before and after every run to prevent injuries. Warming up before a run prepares your muscles to work while cooling down stops cramping and stiffness.
Neglecting a proper stretching routine will not only leave you sorer between your runs; it will also lead to injuries. Failing to stretch can mean that you’ll have tight hip flexors and ligaments that can lead to severe injuries in your ankles. You should stretch after you warm up your muscles and stretching should never be done in a hurry. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and don’t force the stretch or bounce on the muscles, since that can overtax the muscles and cause injuries.
Include Strength Training in your Routine
Runners can become a bit too focused on running alone for their workout routine. Strength training increases a runner’s athleticism and reduces their chances of injury. If you’re looking for a workout, you can get the fitness results you want with Aaptiv by choosing a program that combines strength training with your running program.