How To Heal Sore Ankles From Running

How To Heal Sore Ankles From Running

Running is a popular form of exercise that provides numerous health benefits. However, it can also lead to injuries, such as sore ankles. Sore ankles can be caused by a variety of factors, including overuse, improper footwear, or accidents during a run. Regardless of the cause, it is important to take steps to heal and prevent further discomfort. In this article, we will discuss some effective ways to heal sore ankles from running.

1. Rest and Elevate

When you experience sore ankles from running, the first thing you should do is give your body a break. Rest is crucial for the healing process, as it allows your muscles and tissues to recover. Elevating your ankles, preferably above heart level, can also help reduce swelling and promote healing.

2. Ice the Area

Applying ice to your sore ankles can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Wrap an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas in a thin cloth and place it over the affected area for 15-20 minutes. Repeat this process several times a day for the first few days after the injury.

3. Compress the Ankles

Using a compression bandage or wrap can provide support to your ankles and help reduce swelling. Make sure not to wrap the bandage too tightly, as it may interfere with blood circulation. Reapply the bandage as needed throughout the day.

4. Take Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

If the pain in your ankles is severe, you may consider taking over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. These medications can help reduce pain and inflammation. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any medication.

5. Use Epsom Salt Soaks

Epsom salt soaks can provide relief and promote healing for sore ankles. Fill a basin with warm water and add a cup of Epsom salt. Soak your feet and ankles for 15-20 minutes. The magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt can help reduce inflammation and ease muscle soreness.

6. Perform Gentle Stretches

Stretching exercises can help improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles around your ankles. However, it is important to start with gentle stretches and avoid any movements that cause pain. Consult with a physical therapist to ensure you are performing the right exercises for your specific condition.

7. Gradually Increase Activity

Once your sore ankles start to heal, it is important to gradually increase your activity level. Slowly reintroduce running and other forms of exercise, making sure to listen to your body and avoid overexertion. Pushing yourself too soon can lead to further injury and setbacks in the healing process.

8. Wear Proper Footwear

Wearing appropriate footwear is essential for preventing and healing sore ankles. Invest in a pair of running shoes that provide good arch support and cushioning. Avoid using worn-out shoes that no longer offer adequate stability, as they can contribute to ankle discomfort.

9. Consider Orthotics or Inserts

If you have recurring ankle pain from running, you may benefit from using orthotics or shoe inserts. These devices can provide additional support and correct any alignment issues that may be contributing to your ankle discomfort. Consult with a podiatrist to determine the best type of orthotics for your needs.

10. Seek Professional Treatment

If your ankle pain persists despite your efforts to heal it at home, it may be time to seek professional treatment. A healthcare professional, such as a sports medicine physician or a physical therapist, can assess your condition and provide a personalized treatment plan. They may recommend additional therapies, such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, or manual therapy techniques.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How long does it take for sore ankles to heal?

A1. The healing time for sore ankles can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the injury, your overall health, and how well you follow the healing recommendations. In general, mild ankle soreness may resolve within a few days to a week, while more severe injuries can take several weeks or even months to fully heal.

Q2. Can I still exercise with sore ankles?

A2. It is generally recommended to avoid high-impact activities, such as running, when you have sore ankles. Continuing to exercise with sore ankles can exacerbate the injury and impede the healing process. Instead, focus on low-impact exercises that do not put excessive strain on your ankles, such as swimming or cycling.

Q3. Should I see a doctor for sore ankles?

A3. If your ankle pain is severe, does not improve with home remedies, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can evaluate your condition, provide an accurate diagnosis, and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Q4. Is it normal to have swelling with sore ankles?

A4. Yes, swelling is a common symptom associated with sore ankles. It is often caused by inflammation in the affected tissues. Elevating your ankles, applying ice, and using compression can help reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort.

Q5. Are there any exercises I can do during the healing process?

A5. While high-impact exercises should generally be avoided during the healing process, there are still exercises you can do to maintain flexibility and strength. Consult with a physical therapist to learn specific exercises that are safe for your condition, such as ankle rotations, toe raises, or seated ankle stretches.

Q6. Can I use heat instead of ice for ankle soreness?

A6. Ice is generally preferred over heat for acute injuries, as it can help reduce inflammation and numb the area. However, after the initial acute phase has passed, applying heat, such as with a warm compress or a heating pad, can help relax the muscles and promote blood flow to the area.

Q7. Can wearing ankle braces help with sore ankles?

A7. Ankle braces can provide support and stability to your ankles, which may help alleviate some discomfort. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using ankle braces, as they may not be suitable for everyone. Additionally, long-term reliance on braces can weaken the ankle muscles, so it is advisable to use them temporarily during the healing process.

Q8. How can I prevent sore ankles from running?

A8. To prevent sore ankles from running, it is important to take preventive measures, such as wearing appropriate footwear, warming up before running, gradually increasing your mileage, and listening to your body’s signals. Strengthening your ankle muscles through targeted exercises and maintaining a balanced training routine can also help prevent injuries.

Q9. When can I start running again after healing sore ankles?

A9. The timing for returning to running after healing sore ankles depends on the severity of the injury and the individual’s healing process. It is important to start with short, easy runs and gradually increase intensity and duration. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or a running coach to ensure a safe and effective return to running.

Q10. Can plant-based anti-inflammatory foods help with ankle soreness?

A10. Some plant-based foods, such as turmeric, ginger, and dark leafy greens, are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. While incorporating these foods into your diet may support overall health and potentially reduce inflammation, it is important to note that they should not replace proper medical care and treatment for ankle soreness.


Sore ankles from running can be a frustrating setback for any runner. However, with the right approach and dedication to the healing process, you can regain your ankle strength and get back to running pain-free. Remember to rest, ice, compress, and elevate your ankles, and seek professional guidance if needed. By taking care of your ankles and following proper preventive measures, you can minimize the risk of future injuries and enjoy your running journey to the fullest.

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