Estimated read time: 4 minutes.
Ankle injuries are one of the most common among runners across the board; however, with trail running, you have a higher chance of risking ankle injury. Just because an injury has, or may, occurred does not mean you must stop the grind for an exurbanite amount of time. After a few days, you can get right back to what you love to do – running! So let’s shake off those recovery blues and get to it!
Today we will be covering how trail running with bad or sprained ankles can affect your performance. We will also go through when and how you should run with ankle support, how to choose your ankle support, and what type of running trail ankle support you need. Hopefully, this will help you through your recovery journey and get you back to running.
Recovery and reinjury shouldn’t deter you from hitting the trails. However, proper care and attention should be given to your ankles. Since they are quite prone to injury and, in most cases, reinjury, we must incorporate adequate injury prevention and care.
Trail Running with Bad Ankles
Trail running tends to be stressful on the muscles, tendons, and joints. This is just the reality with the uneven, rough, and sometimes slippery conditions of running trails. However, when one is recovering from an ankle injury or is prone to them, you must take the proper precautions and err on the side of caution.
Trail running is stressful on the muscles, tendons, and joints by pulling them in such a way that they become strained. There are many obstacles when trail running causing you to jump and maneuver in ways that hit and stretch tendons and joints, sometimes in the wrong way. While wildly beneficial in many ways, Trail running can also be the hardest physically for many people.
Trails tend to have uneven or slippery surfaces, making footing more difficult. Footing is key when trail running, and it is not an easy feat. Ankle support will be an incredibly wise investment if you have recently had an injury or have injury-prone ankles.
Should You Run With an Ankle Support?
If you are prone to injury and are on the tail end of recovery, one should most definitely wear some kind of ankle support. It may even be wise to invest in a multi-use ankle brace or at least some gauze and tape if this is a recurring injury. Sometimes all people need are ankle supporting shoes; however, all situations are different and require different levels of support.
If your ankles start to hurt on long-distance runs or long uneven trails, ankle support may be helpful whenever you do those activities. When you use ankle support, the goal is to help support the ankle and strengthen it enough to retire the ankle brace after a short time. If you are constantly using an ankle brace or wrap, you, unfortunately, run the risk of depending on the brace or support after a while.
When judging if you need ankle support, always listen to your body and err on the side of caution. As mentioned before, sometimes you may need as little as an ankle supporting shoe or shoe insert to a reusable ankle wrap. You must judge for yourself and test and see what level of support you need for your unique injury.
How to Choose the Right Trail Running Ankle Support
Choosing the proper ankle support depends on your situation, activity level, and level of pain. There are all kinds of ankle supports out there. It often may be hard to decide which ones will work for your specific injury and pain. You can wrap your ankle with gauze and tape, simply with sports tape or a washable compression wrap.
If you are recovering from an injury, something temporary like gauze and sports tape may help. Still, if the injury recurs, a washable or reusable ankle brace or compression stocking may be a better investment. When looking for the proper ankle support, you also need to try them out and see what level of support you need.
If you lack the right amount of support for your ankle, you may run the risk of reinjuring the ankle or hurting the tendons and joints further. We want to avoid this at all costs and take correct precautions. This is why injury prevention is not a matter to be overlooked.
What Types of Trail Running Ankle Support Do I Need?
When looking into what types of ankle support you need, you also need to consider a few things. You need something that will work for your level of activity and injury or how prone you are to injury. You will need something that will be light, have breathability, and will not hold onto sweat or water.
An ankle brace may be more stable for worse injuries, but ankle wraps and compression socks can be thrown into the washing machine for more uses. For those coming out of ankle injuries but who cannot get their hands on a washable wrap, gauze and sports tape wrap can be made before heading out for your run.
There is also the taping route, where you use kinesiology tape to hold the tendon in place. If you are simply prone to injury, a simple insert for your shoes may be a good investment on top of a bit of tape or wrapping. There are also special gel pad inserts for Achilles tendons that can be put into the back of your shoes.
We hope this will help you navigate your road to recovery or work with your reoccurring ankle injuries. We know how important it is to get back out to the trails and get back to trail running. However, proper care for injuries and injury prevention is not something to be overlooked. We hope you take the right precautions, but we hope to see you on the trails in the meantime.