Sprains result in pain and swelling caused by tearing or stretching of some of the ligaments surrounding the ankle, usually on the outside of the joint. As these tears heal, they form scar tissue, which sticks to normal tissue and causes inflammation and continued pain. Without appropriate treatment, ankle pain can persist for months, even years.
Runners most commonly sprain ankles by stepping in a hole or tripping on a tree root or rock.
As soon as you sprain an ankle, stop running immediately. You may not feel pain right away, but your ankle can be damaged further by continuing to run on it. The next move is just as critical. Elevate your leg and apply compression and ice. If pain and swelling persist, get to a doctor. A severely sprained ankle should be treated by a doctor or physical therapist, who will use ultrasound and friction massage to reduce the scar tissue.
If you're prone to ankle sprains, avoid rocky trails or any uneven terrain. Wear a firmer, more supportive training shoe for better stability, and do exercises to strengthen your ankles.
Can you run with it?
No. Running on a sprained ankle will only damage it more.
Run The Planet thanks Running The World for the permission to reprint the article “Fourteen common foot ailments and their cures”. Text copyright © 2001 by Running The World.