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New runner with ankle pain (Read 102 times)

amandaruns29


    Hey all. Smile I'm very new to running, even hesitant to call myself a runner, but I've found a few issues and needed somewhere for feedback.

     

    Since September of last year, I've been kickboxing/strength training and have dropped about 50 lbs. I've been overweight all my life, and never exercised consistently, so this has all been very exciting to me. I now teach kickboxing and resistance bands classes at my gym and love it. Over the past year I've tried to run occasionally, but could never run a mile without stopping so I hated it. Before I started my weight loss my run/walk time (emphasis on walk) was 13:57.

     

    About two months ago I decided to try the mile and ran without stopping at 10:47. Slow, but I was in shock that I didn't stop once. I thought it was a fluke but tried it again about 3.5 weeks ago and again ran without stopping at 10:33. I decided I would try running and have been at it ever since. I have a lot of encouragement from other runners at the gym, so we've been running a few times before classes in the morning, and I can go about 1.5-2 miles at this point without walking break, at a slow pace (11.5-12 min/mi).

     

    My problem is my ankles. The other night I went for a run and stamina-wise, I felt like I wasn't done and that I could've kept going. I was hoping to finally break two miles, maybe go for 2.5 miles, but had to stop at about 1.5 because my ankles felt terrible. I've been bouncing around doing kickboxing for a year, so I thought they'd be conditioned. I was fitted for proper running shoes, I've tried ankle compression socks (the pain was worse with them on), and I tried a couple days of KT tape.

     

    I'm starting to get discouraged because I'm finding I kind of like running (which I NEVER thought I'd say), and I signed up for my first 5k on Nov. 9th. I'm worried about adding that extra 1.1miles on to my current best with my ankles feeling like they're going to detach. Any suggestions? Sorry for being a little wordy. Smile

      While you're likely to get a number of conflicting responses, however, in my humble opinion, you're suffering from TFFFS.  What's TFFFS?  Too Far, too Fast, too Frequently, too Soon.

       

      The thing about the human body is that muscles and the circulatory and respiratory systems develop faster when stressed than do tendons, ligaments, joints, and bones, and like as not, you're just pushing too hard for your relative level of fitness combined with your weight (regardless of whether it is muscle or just extra weight).  The order of the day is LSD (Long Slow Distance); start with slow distance which doesn't cause undo pain and suffering, and then each time you feel good enough to go faster, go a bit further instead, still keeping thing slow.  Another option for a training program, in lieu of what I wrote above, would be to pick one of the many "Couch to 5K" (aka, C25K) programs and stick to the plan regardless of how good or strong you feel during any given workout.

       

      Regarding the 5K you signed up for, I would recommend that you either walk at least a third of it, or skip it entirely.  Trust me, it just isn't worth it to push too hard and then get injured just as you were developing into a "runner".

       

      Please understand, I'm not trying to discourage you from completing your quest to become a runner, rather I'm trying to set your sights a little closer afield.

      amandaruns29


        Thanks for the reply! I don't really feel like I'm pushing myself to do too much, though. I feel like the only thing holding me back from pushing myself is the ankle pain (in that, if I have a run where the pain isn't bad and just feels like conditioning, I will go further; if I feel like I can go further but the pain is too persistent, I will call it a day). I'm already in the gym 5-6 days a week (3-4 days of fairly intense cardio kickboxing and 2-3 days of resistance bands strengthening), so I hoped I wouldn't be working myself too hard. I don't feel run down or overly tired, my ankles aren't sore outside of running (and aren't sore during kickboxing). Really, nothing is sore since I've been running, whereas in the past, I've had sore shins and jelly legs the next day. Smile

         

        I also don't push for speed at all. I don't care what my speed is, honestly, I really just run and go for no stops and no real pain. I'm okay with the discomfort, the side cramps, etc. while I'm actually running. I don't want to skip the 5k, I'm thinking it's possible for me to run the whole thing in less than two weeks if I keep at it, and maybe I'll end up with a few walking breaks.

         

        My plan is to make my 2014 goal running a half, but that's only if I enjoy the 5k, and the half will probably be the local marathon we have here in Oct. 2014. I'm hoping that will be plenty of time, if that's what I end up wanting to do.

        JimR


          Can you give a better description of the issue...where it is, is it both ankles, etc.?

          amandaruns29


            Sure, it's both ankles, and they are equally painful. When I was fitted for shoes, I mentioned that with my old shoes the ankle pain was bad, so he fitted me for shoes with that in mind. I should say that I only ran about three miles in a span of a few days with those old shoes, and they weren't running shoes.

             

            The area is hard to describe, or words escape me, lol. I described it the other day as: if you're standing and keep your feet on the ground but lean forward, the pain is in the "crease" at the end of your leg that attaches to the top of your foot...? And it just feels generally achey during the run, they're not really sore later on. Except for when I wore the KT tape, I put it on and wore it all day, but when I woke up the next morning with the tape on (and I didn't run the day I put it on), my ankles were mildly aching, but nothing outrageous.

              Hi amandaruns29,

               

              First, I want to say I'm excited for you.  I remember how amazing it felt the first time I ran a mile.

               

              Second, I agree with shipo that it's probably TFFFS.  That said, now that you've started, I understand how much you want to be able to continue to improve. I wonder if you could do 1/2 mile twice a day rather than doing it all at once.  As you run, try to keep your form and your stride as relaxed and efficient as possible, with quick, light steps.  Don't over-think it; just try to keep it easy.

               

              I am somewhat inclined to suggest that you go ahead and do the 5K, just because it's such great motivation.  If you rest for a couple of days prior, and don't try to run the race fast, and take walk breaks if you need them, it could be an awesome experience.  You'll have to be the ultimate judge of whether this is a good idea.

               

              Good luck!

              Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

                Sure, it's both ankles, and they are equally painful. When I was fitted for shoes, I mentioned that with my old shoes the ankle pain was bad, so he fitted me for shoes with that in mind. I should say that I only ran about three miles in a span of a few days with those old shoes, and they weren't running shoes.

                 

                The area is hard to describe, or words escape me, lol. I described it the other day as: if you're standing and keep your feet on the ground but lean forward, the pain is in the "crease" at the end of your leg that attaches to the top of your foot...? And it just feels generally achey during the run, they're not really sore later on. Except for when I wore the KT tape, I put it on and wore it all day, but when I woke up the next morning with the tape on (and I didn't run the day I put it on), my ankles were mildly aching, but nothing outrageous.

                 

                Does it seem to be the tendons in the front of your ankles?  If so, it could be tendonitis.

                Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

                amandaruns29


                  Thank you, LedLincoln. Like I said, I am definitely in no hurry, my run is slow and easy. I find myself naturally speeding up a little when I run more than a mile (maybe from 12 min/mi to 11:30 min/mi), but I never feel like I'm pushing myself too much. Maybe I will try spreading out my runs twice a day, though.

                   

                  I don't think it's tendonitis, only because I don't have pain at other times. In fact, about five to ten minutes after my run, all remnants of pain are gone. I've tried stopping my run, walking at a brisk pace until the pain is gone, and then starting back up, but it's back immediately. Also, I should point out that the pain doesn't set it until maybe 1.25-1.5 miles in. Which sucks, because that's usually when running isn't the end of the world anymore and I start to just go and let my mind wander!

                    Thanks for the reply! I don't really feel like I'm pushing myself to do too much, though. I feel like the only thing holding me back from pushing myself is the ankle pain (in that, if I have a run where the pain isn't bad and just feels like conditioning, I will go further; if I feel like I can go further but the pain is too persistent, I will call it a day). I'm already in the gym 5-6 days a week (3-4 days of fairly intense cardio kickboxing and 2-3 days of resistance bands strengthening), so I hoped I wouldn't be working myself too hard. I don't feel run down or overly tired, my ankles aren't sore outside of running (and aren't sore during kickboxing). Really, nothing is sore since I've been running, whereas in the past, I've had sore shins and jelly legs the next day. Smile

                     

                    I'm sticking with my initiall assessment.  Right now it seems your weak link is your ankles, and until you can run shorter distances at a slower pace pain free, you're going too fast and/or too far.

                     

                    Regarding your gym work, the fact is, nothing stresses certain parts of the body like running, NOTHING.  You could be the strongest and fittest body builder in the world, but that will not in any way prepare you for the stresses your body will have to learn to endure when running.

                     

                    Rome wasn't built in a day and neither are runners.  Smile

                    JimR


                      Sure, it's both ankles, and they are equally painful.

                      ...

                      The area is hard to describe, or words escape me, lol. I described it the other day as: if you're standing and keep your feet on the ground but lean forward, the pain is in the "crease" at the end of your leg that attaches to the top of your foot...?

                       

                       

                      Sort of the outside part, like above but ahead of the outside protruding ankle bone?  Feels like the soft tissue is compressed?  If that's it, I get something similar, no idea if it's what you are getting but I will give my experience anyway.

                       

                      For me it will flare up when I go through periods of reduced mileage and try to start increasing it again.  It has been harsh enough to halt me in my tracks but has never stopped me from completing a run, mainly because I know how to deal with it.  At worst I've had to walk it off for a few minutes, then ease my way through the run.  In my case I get it almost excusively on my right foot because I have a bunion on that foot and it throws off my landing.  I attribute it to compensating for a bit of increased discomfort on the bunion by landing more outside of the foot first (supinating) and rolling a bit to the inside, a side effect of having cut back mileage for a while and losing toughness on the bunion side.  Once I've gotten myself back to my usual volume, it will go away.  When I land outside first and roll in, it puts pressure on the outside part of the ankle, almost like it abnormally 'compresses' the tendons or joint.  When it shows up, I discipine myself to land more neutral or with a more normal pronation (inside first), and it will go away.


                      12-week layoff

                        How is your hip strength?  I know you do kickboxing, but are you doing a lot of side work which would strengthen your hips?  I have had problems with both knees and ankles, saw the doc, who sent me to a PT, who said my hips were weak.  When I worked diligently on strengthening my hips, viola, pain went away.  When I forget, and run for weeks and weeks without doing my PT, the knee or ankle pain comes back.

                         

                        That, and too much, too fast, too far, too soon.  It's hard; you think you are strong enough to run because you can do something else.  And because you can do something else for extended time, your lungs are fit and ready to run.  But your ankles are not.  Accept it, and add more mileage in increments.

                          Maybe your shoe tongue (the part just below the laces) is rubbing against that part of your ankle?  Can you try a different brand of shoe, you could likely try out a different pair from a running store.

                          amandaruns29


                             

                            I'm sticking with my initiall assessment.  Right now it seems your weak link is your ankles, and until you can run shorter distances at a slower pace pain free, you're going too fast and/or too far.

                             

                            Regarding your gym work, the fact is, nothing stresses certain parts of the body like running, NOTHING.  You could be the strongest and fittest body builder in the world, but that will not in any way prepare you for the stresses your body will have to learn to endure when running.

                             

                            Rome wasn't built in a day and neither are runners.  Smile

                             

                            Should I try running until I first feel the pain, and then stopping? Would trying that twice a day be okay? See if my distance improves? That way I can make sure it's conditioning vs. start of an injury.

                             

                             

                            Sort of the outside part, like above but ahead of the outside protruding ankle bone?  Feels like the soft tissue is compressed?  If that's it, I get something similar, no idea if it's what you are getting but I will give my experience anyway.

                            Yes! In fact, when the clerk fitting me for my shoes was looking at my ankles while I was standing, I think he said nearly the exact same thing.

                             

                             

                            How is your hip strength?  I know you do kickboxing, but are you doing a lot of side work which would strengthen your hips?  I have had problems with both knees and ankles, saw the doc, who sent me to a PT, who said my hips were weak.  When I worked diligently on strengthening my hips, viola, pain went away.  When I forget, and run for weeks and weeks without doing my PT, the knee or ankle pain comes back.

                             

                            That, and too much, too fast, too far, too soon.  It's hard; you think you are strong enough to run because you can do something else.  And because you can do something else for extended time, your lungs are fit and ready to run.  But your ankles are not.  Accept it, and add more mileage in increments.

                             

                            I'm not even sure how I would go about testing hip strength? Smile I've never had pain there or my knees. What did you do to strengthen your hips?

                              I also agree with shipo.. I had something similar when I first started back up and elected to lay off altogether for 2 weeks and very cautiously increased mileage after that, including lots of runs on grass or other soft surfaces... haven't seen hide nor hair of it since and my attitude toward mileage has changed completely. If I don't hit a 10 miler at least once a week I feel off kilter. You'll get there, just give it some time and be gentle with yourself Smile

                               

                              Oh and also here's a link regarding hip strength.. this is the site of a local PT (Steve Gonser) who has helped a lot of people I know. He's got a subscription thing going, but this article (and many others) are available without signing up for anything. It's well worth looking around a bit:

                               

                              https://runsmartonline.com/articles/strength/hippy-runners-not-woodstock/


                              Loves the outdoors

                                I get the exact same pain, but only on the treadmill, never running outside. I'Ve tried all sorts of things to avoid it. Running on an incline, running slower, running faster. I need to stop and stretch and then I'll be ok for a while. I gave up running on the treadmill completely and after suffering from some calf issues and sickness I'm at much reduced mileage and am able to run on the treadmill again. So based on my experience I think two things are involved for me 1) tight calves makes it worse. 2) it's exacerbated by my stride altering on the treadmill somehow. I run mostly outside and had no issues up to 60-70km per week, but any run on huge treadmills would kill me. So no magic solution, but it's super painful and annoying so I feel for you. If you are a treadmill runner, head for the outdoors - it may do the trick.

                                One day I decided I wanted to become a runner, so I did.
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