An ankle sprain is a very common injury. You can sprain your ankle playing sports or walking on unstable ground, but it can be especially troublesome if you feel that sudden twist or roll of the ankle while you’re running. As you train for fall marathon season, keep your ankles healthy with guidance from foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons.

“Most runners who suffer an ankle sprain injure the lateral ligaments located on the outside of the ankle. Typically, the runner hits an uneven area such as a rock, the edge of a curb, or a rough spot, especially if running on a non-paved trail.”

— David A. Porter, MD, PhD, a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon at Methodist Sports Medicine/The Orthopedic Specialists in Indianapolis


After the ankle twists, you will feel immediate pain on the outside of the ankle and may have some swelling and tenderness. If you suspect that you have sprained your ankle while training, take your time walking back or call a family member or friend for a ride home. If the sprain occurs during a race, stop running and visit the medical tent to get evaluated.

Do not try to “tough it out” and finish the run, Porter warns.

“What may seem like an ankle sprain can be a fracture or a torn tendon,” he says.


For less serious sprains, Porter recommends following R.I.C.E. guidelines by resting, icing, compressing (with a bandage or brace), and elevating the ankle. If you notice bruising and experience intense pain or discomfort when walking, visit a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon for a thorough examination and x-ray to rule out other injuries. If it’s a severe sprain, your doctor may recommend wearing a splint or walking boot for several weeks.

Return to Running

Once you can stand on your ankle again, your foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon will recommend exercise routines to strengthen your muscles and ligaments, and increase your flexibility, balance, and coordination. You can gradually return to running after you’re able to exercise on an elliptical or stair stepper without pain.

To prevent future ankle sprains, pay attention to your body’s warning signs to slow down when you feel pain or fatigue. Learn more about ankle sprains by visiting FootCareMD.

[Source(s): American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS), Globe Newswire]

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