Ankles Hurting? Try This
It’s pre-season here in Chichester (already), which means running… lots! And my ankles hurt. The Sun has been out in full force around Sussex, the ground feels like concrete, and I’m sure some of you are having the same trouble in your training as I am.
It seems like only yesterday the Chichester rugby season was over and I was penning an article on off-season training https://daviestraining.com/2017/04/27/rugby-off-season-1/. For a brief period of time I could look forward to not waking up Sundays feeling like I’d been in a car crash, and know that I didn’t have to spend my evenings floundering in mud after a funny shaped ball. But that time has passed.
Now it’s pre-season.
Which for those of you “in the know” means one thing:
So if you’ve been struggling with pain in your ankles/knees here are a few things you may want to consider adding into your personal training:
A) Be Aware of Volume
If you’ve gone from running a grand total of ZERO miles per week, and are now completing considerably more, then you can expect some pain (sorry to be the bearer of bad news). Training is all about small baby steps. A repetition or two there, a kilogram or two here…and before you know it you are smashing PBs. If you take too big a step, your body is not going to be adequately prepared. So if you are experiencing lots of pain, back away from the impactful running for a short period of time.
Try just running a 5k rather than a 10k this Saturday? There are many “Park Runs” (council organised 5k runs) setup most weekends, most places. There is one that literally runs past the gym here at Chichester Rugby Club.
B) Full ROM (Range Of Movement)
Training the muscles of the lower body with slow, controlled movements during your gym-based personal training will achieve a few things. You can actively stretch the tissue, you can drive blood to the area, and build strength through a greater ROM. Try incorporating a few sets of 60 seconds with slow bodyweight movements.
C) Incorporate Low-Intensity Plyometric
Running is possibly the most stressful training you can perform. At a top speed sprint you can expect 4x your bodyweight (and more for bigger/stronger runners) to go through your foot. This way more than anything you can do in the gym!
Think about that, do the maths.
Your bodyweight, four times over.
Adding in some low-level plyometric to your personal training routine will go a long way to prepare the tissue of the foot and ankle to absorb and deal with these high forces. Here’s an example (apologies for poor quality):
Alternatively get yourself a skipping rope or play some hopscotch!
D) Consider Compression
I don’t believe that compression garments are quite all the companies that make them would have you believe. But…..I do accept they may add a small degree of benefit. And if 1% is the difference between pain and no pain, then there’s no harm in trying it! I would advise a pair (or two) of calf compression sleeves after a tough training session.
E) Soft Tissue Work
Grab a lacrosse ball and a foam roller and get to work around the affected area. For more information on this head to an older post of mine https://daviestraining.com/2017/01/31/foam-rolling/
Soft tissue stress is common-place for most gym goers and athletes of all ages and experience levels. Often times it is just a case of doing a little too much, too soon, rather than building up slowly over time. Your best bet is to simply back down the intensity and volume for a while and build back up.
Consider where you are running too. Concrete? Not a good idea long term. Downhill? That’s going to place a lot of stress on the knees. Here at Chichester Rugby Club we are fortunate to have Oaklands Park attached to the field, and a 100m sprint track over the road.
Find yourself a good running route, get your feet and ankles right, and start to work your way out of pain and into performance.