Couch to 5K
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Sprained ankle: when is it safe to run again?

Hi gang, I've been out of action for a while now, unable to run after I sprained my ankle (embarrassingly I sprained it walking and not running!)

Are there any experts out there who can tell me when it is safe for me to run again?

I must have sprained it at least 8 weeks ago now, and I did go to my GP after it happened. It didn't really swell very much so she wasn't overly concerned with me strapping it up or anything.

The majority of the pain has gone, it's just that when I put a small amount of weight in the same way that my foot landed, I can still feel a slight tinge in the tendons around my ankle bone bit on the outside of my foot. It is only a slight tinge, but I don't want to start running on it too early in case I do longer term damage.

Any ideas? Do I sound safe to start running again or should I wait until my ankle doesn't hurt or feel odd in the slightest?

I really want to get back into my running routine, I miss Laura!!

Thanks gang, really appreciate any sound advice.


8 Replies

When the pain has gone, plus a week or two.

Strangely, almost everyone I know who is a runner and sprains their ankle does it doing something really mundane and everyday and not while running.

1 like

Thank you so much for your advice, god they take ages to heal don't they?! I really want to run!

Thank god you said that about people you know injuring themselves in boring ways, I was so annoyed at myself, I thought I had mastered walking 29 years ago but apparently it can still catch you off your guard!


Make good use of the time doing core work and strengthening exercises.

I'm sure everyone knows exacty what exercise I'm going to recommend.


Hehe, I broke my foot 18 months ago by getting out of the car and walking towards my front door then sprawling suddenly onto the pavement! Hope you recover soon, good luck!


Hi, I am not an expert but I have a sprained ankle too and would be interested in what others suggest. I sprained mine 5 weeks ago walking into a chair! It is so frustrating isn't it? I am only just starting to walk properly on it again without limping but I am itching to get back to the programme.

However, like you I am worried about running on it too soon or damaging it even more. I had heard that it takes about 6-8 weeks to heal and 8 weeks plus before running but I guess injuries vary from person to person. Other advice is to be able to hop in a figure of eight on the injured foot ( not sure if I could do that on my good foot though!)

Good luck and hope you are up and running soon.


Thanks farawaytree, yeah mine has been over 8 weeks now I think and I know it is much better than when I first did it, but just the fact that I can still feel something is concerning. Guess I need to be patient.

Luckily with mine I could walk without a limp after about a week, you poor thing sound like you did more damage with that pesky chair involved in your walking accident! How dare it jump out on you like that?!

I recently have started swimming in order to do some exercise for stamina and to help stretch my ankle whilst it is still supported by the water, hopefully this will help me get back on track soon enough.

I hope your ankle gets better soon too, it's frustrating but has made me walk a lot more carefully than rushing everywhere all the time. Got to take a positive from this right?!

Get well soon!


Thanks runrachel. I am exactly the same as you with rushing around! I normally fly around carelessly hence the argument with the chair! Now I have to carefully place my foot before moving on it but I am getting there. I couldn't even walk more than about 10 meters a few weeks ago but now walking is not painful but it does twinge form time to time.

Swimming sounds good to keep up the fitness. I am a yoga fan so I have been able to carry on doing that without putting strain on the ankle. I am sure in a while we will both be running before too long. It is always encouraging when you read about other people with injuries returning to running and they seem to be ok so fingers crossed.


Can't comment specifically on sprained ankles but as someone recovering from a calf tear (not running when I did it!) believe there are some injuries that really do need time - hard though that is. Have you thought of seeing a physio for advice? I have started seeing a fab physio who has set me up on my own strength and flexibility programme while I recover. Interestingly this time out from running has led to me learning a lot more about the importance of core stability ( digging out my old yoga/pilates moves) and the strengthening exercises mentioned by others. Am back cycling now. Running in 3-4 weeks hopefully. Hope your ankle continues to prove.


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