Recognizing the Signs of an Overuse Injury in Your Ankle

Overuse injuries happen more often than you might think. Perhaps you’ve experienced one yourself when you started training for your first marathon or got serious about fitness. Injuries to your ankles from overuse can feel a lot like a sprain, but the causes are different.

Don’t let overuse injuries sideline your workouts. The doctors at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine in Kirkland, Washington, are here to tell you how to avoid overuse injuries in your ankles and what you can do if you get one.

The most common causes

Overuse injuries can happen to anyone. Similar to stress fractures and Achilles tendonitis, they usually occur after periods of intense activity. When this activity is repeated, the problem usually gets worse. The tendons and bones related to your ankles and feet are especially prone to injury, especially after repeatedly doing too much.

The most common causes of overuse injuries include the following:

Kids can also develop overuse injuries. Kids ages 10-14 who are active in sports may experience pain due to the placement of the growth plate and the Achilles tendon. In kids, this condition is called Sever’s disease, and it’s most common among those who play soccer, run track, or do gymnastics.

Symptoms of overuse injuries

The first and most obvious sign that you have an overuse injury is a pain in your ankles. Other symptoms are also often present, including the following:

One or both ankles can be affected.

Preventing overuse injuries

Many overuse injuries can be prevented. You can help prevent them by doing the following:

When you return to athletic activity, take it easy. Don’t try to go for extra miles or be the star player in the game. With appropriate rest and activity levels, you can always build up to more intensity later.

Treating overuse injuries

Treatment usually begins with the most conservative treatments first. Try the RICE method, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Doing these four things can help relieve many instances of ankle pain. Ice, in particular, is known to be helpful for sore ankles. You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®), as directed.

Physical therapy may also help, especially if you get overuse injuries on a repeated basis. If you have foot pain that doesn’t go away, make an appointment with Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine for an evaluation. We’ll give you a thorough exam and develop a treatment plan to get you healthy again. We can examine everything from your shoes to your gait to identify possible contributing factors. 

To learn more about preventing overuse injuries or to get treatment if you have one, book an appointment online or over the phone with Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine today.

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