Why Do My Ankles Hurt When I Run?

Running is something that most of us do to feel good and keep fit and healthy. So, when you experience pain every time you run, it can be incredibly frustrating.

This frustration might grow if it is your ankles that are hurting when you run. 

Why Do My Ankles Hurt When I Run?

Running is considered to be a strenuous and high-impact activity. This means that without looking after your body, it is likely that you will experience straining, tearing, or even breaking something when running.

This leads to most runners being extremely cautious when running. Yet, sometimes things do not always go as planned.

Persistent pain in your ankles when you run might prevent you from running at all. Naturally, we want to know the reason for this pain so we can fix it.

Well, that is where we step in. We have created a guide that will walk you through the common reasons your ankles hurt when you run.

Sprained Or Strained Ankle

Perhaps the most common reason why your ankle might be hurting when you run is that you have sprained or strained your ankle. 

Spraining or straining your ankle is a term we hear quite often, especially after you’ve tripped over.

When you have sprained your ankle it means that you have torn a ligament or you have overstretched a ligament in your ankle.

For those that are confused as to what a ligament is, they are the connective tissue that connects bones to one another. 

When you have strained your ankle it means that you have overstretched or torn the tendon or muscle in your ankle.

This type of injury is sometimes referred to as a pulled muscle. A tendon is a connective tissue that joins muscles to bones. 


The symptoms of a sprain and a strain are similar. The shared symptoms for these injuries include pain that increases when moving the ankle and swelling.

Both types of injuries result in it being hard for you to move the ankle but with sprains, you are more likely to not be able to move the ankle.

A symptom of a sprain that is not common with strains is that you are likely to have a bruise form on a particular area of the ankle.

Other symptoms of a strain include cramps and muscle spasms. The pain felt when you’ve strained your ankle is usually felt in a specific area where the tendon or muscle that has been damaged is located. 

Causes Of Strains And Sprains

Causes Of Strains And Sprains

The most common way to sprain or strain your ankle is to roll the ankle. This means that when you are running, your ankle twists which then damages your ankle.

They often occur as a result of not stretching before your run. However, they can happen due to improper form and tiredness. When you are tired, you are less likely to run properly which can cause an injury. 


The good thing about a sprain or strain is they are easy to treat. The best way to treat them is to rest your ankle, ice the ankle, apply a compression bandage, and elevate your ankle. 

Whilst your ankle is healing, you should not do any exercise that puts pressure on the ankle. However, it is important to keep the ankle moving slightly so it does not become stiff. 

Strains and sprains typically heal after a week of rest if the injury was not that bad. 

Ankle Tendonitis

Ankle Tendonitis is when the tendons in your ankles become inflamed. The main tendons in your ankle that are at risk of being inflamed are your Achilles tendon, peroneal tendon, tibialis tendon, and posterior tibial tendon. 


The main symptom of ankle tendonitis is pain in the location of a specific tendon. This pain typically gets worse as the ankle is moved.

Oftentimes this pain is worse first thing in the morning and after you do any exercise involving the ankle. 

People also experience swelling of the ankle and the ankle feels stiff. 

Causes Of Ankle Tendonitis

Causes Of Ankle Tendonitis

Ankle tendonitis usually happens if you overuse the ankle such as when you are running. This can happen through wearing the wrong shoes and overworking yourself.

However, there are genetic and physical factors that can cause ankle tendonitis, such as being flat-footed or not having strong calves. 


The best and main way to heal ankle tendonitis is to rest your ankle. This means you have to stop going on runs.

As always, icing, resting and elevating your ankle will help. Some people benefit from wearing an ankle support. 

Stress Fracture

Another common reason your ankle might hurt when you run is that you have an ankle stress fracture. An ankle stress fracture is a small crack in the bones in your ankle. There could be multiple small stress fractures. 


The main symptom of a stress fracture in your ankle is experiencing pain that gets better when you rest your ankle but starts to hurt again if you exercise your ankle.

The pain can be a sharp pain, especially when moving or putting stress on the stress fracture. The pain is usually in the location of the stress fracture.

You may also experience bruising, swelling, and tenderness.

Causes Of Stress Fractures

The main reason a stress fracture occurs is that you have overworked the ankle. However, nutrition also has an impact on the occurrence of stress fractures. 


The main treatment for stress fractures is resting the ankle, icing, and elevating it. You should also wear compression support. It can take up to 3 months for this type of injury to heal. 


Sprains, strains, ankle tendonitis, and stress fractures are the most common reasons why your ankles might hurt when you run. Treating these injuries is not difficult, but you should go see a doctor if the pain continues.

It is also worth noting that there might be other reasons your ankles hurt, so it is important to see a doctor if you have persistent pain. 

We hope this guide has helped you understand the most common reason why your ankles might hurt when you run.

Richard Harris