How To Avoid The Big Ankle Pain Mistake (Most People Aged 40+ Make) And Return To Gentle Exercise Faster And Safer! - Paul Gough Physio Rooms

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How To Avoid The Big Ankle Pain Mistake (Most People Aged 40+ Make) And Return To Gentle Exercise Faster And Safer!

So, I was chatting with one of my patients James the other day, he’s a keen runner, clocks up over 20 miles a week… almost addicted!

And he was telling me that this one thing happened to him whilst he was out on his morning run. Chances are, it’s happened to you, too.

And, what’s more, the exact same thing happened just last week to Olympic Athlete and Skier Lindsey Vonn…

If you’re not aware of who Lindsey is, she’s the one who previously dated golfer Tiger Woods AND has 67 World Cup wins, impressive right?

Anyway, Lindsey suffered a painful ankle injury during a training run in New Zealand.

And just like my patient James, Lindsey probably thought right away that she’d have to rest for weeks on end before returning to a regular training regime, as well as having to cancel her summer holiday with friends.

Luckily, that didn’t end up happening after all. With the help of a few exercises Lindsey was able to jump on that plane right away and enjoy the sunshine without any frustrating ankle pain.


Here’s the thing with ankle sprains:

They are one of the most common, if not THE most common, type of running injury I come across. I’m sure you’re familiar with being told that the only way to heal your ankle pain is to rest, use ice, compress and to keep your foot elevated.

However, if you’re eager to return to running as soon as possible and go about your day pain-free…only, AND continually icing the injured area isn’t actually going to help as quickly as you’d like it to.

You see ice inhibits blood flow, and without blood flow, there can’t be a fast recovery. It’s ok in the first 72 hours,  after that it stiffens up the ligaments to the point where your ankle’s ability to move is reduced, and that’s the last thing you want to do.

The key to your healing equation is after 72 hours, to keep as much movement as possible, and in doing so, keep the blood flowing.

To do this, let me tell you three exercises that I’ve used myself with patients to get back into running quickly:


Firstly, Alphabet Ankles:

With this exercise you basically write the letters A, B and C with your feet. To perform this exercise – sit on a chair, lift your ankle and write A, B and C with the motions of your foot in the air.

Be sure to perform this exercise slowly at first, as well as frequently until your ankle strength and movement improves allowing you to write those letters faster. This exercise will keep all of your muscles working, whilst increasing blood flow at the same time.

Secondly, try Calf Raises, performing these works as it keeps your ankle safe, whilst placing a slight load on the ankle at the same time.

To do a calf raise, stand on something with a ledge – a great example of this would be the edge of your stairs, go onto your toes and raise your body up and down.

And one more… something called a “Single Leg Deadlift”…

Balance yourself on one leg, stand tall, hinge forward with the hips and get back up again without touching the ground.

I’d advise you to do this exercise barefoot, as it will help strengthen your ankle which means less chance of this happening again.

And if you want more recovery tips like this, go to my website: to collect your free report showing you ways to speedily recover from the 7 most common sports injuries.

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Paul Gough
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