Ankle pain after W5R3: My legs held up very well... - Couch to 5K

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Ankle pain after W5R3


My legs held up very well after the 20 minute run, but my ankles started hurting one day later. Today (2 days later) they still hurt and feel heavy but only when I walk. There's no swelling and I'm not limping. I jogged around the house a few times to see if I should go for a run, but I decided to delay starting week 6 and did some resistance training and light cycling instead. I have no desire to give myself an injury that will force me to take weeks instead of days off.

I do light ankle exercises before a run (rotate them clockwise and counter-clockwise) but not after, so I should probably start doing that. I did a sea salt foot soak yesterday and applied pain relieving ointment at night.

Any tips on how to prevent/deal with ankle pain? I avoid painkillers unless it's excruciating, which it isn't. I'd like to be back at it and start week 6 soon!

11 Replies

I've had a bit of ankle pain in the past but I think that was caused by an old injury. So I still do ankle strengthening exercises like standing on a wobble board (you'll see them in a gym) on one leg. If you haven't access to a wobble board then use a pile of cushions. Also hop in each direction (forwards, sideways, backwards) on one leg. Multi directional lunges are good too. Foot rising and dropping on a stair stretch the ankle muscles.

It's probably just your ankles getting used to the longer runs, so rest more and run very slowly and hopefully you'll notice a difference.

Shivani05Graduate in reply to Irishprincess

The lack of swelling/limping makes me agree with you that it's just the ankles getting used to the longer runs. Thanks for the exercises, I'll try them out.


Take it easy, there's no rush shivan, go when your ready, I get a bit of ankle & knee pain and rub in a tiny blob of my wifes Movelat cream, seems to help. I also avoid taking any painkillers orally. Are your running shoes OK?

Have you had gait analysis carried out? 😊

Shivani05Graduate in reply to davelinks

Thanks, Dave. I'm very liberal with the amount of rest days I take...I will take far longer than 9 weeks to complete the programme! It doesn't bother me, I'd rather complete it than get injured :)

I have not had gait analysis done. I live in Mumbai, and I don't think there are any stores here that do it. But I bought new trainers at week 2 because my old ones gave me terrible shin splints and knee pain, and I've fared much better since.

I was getting stiff ankles and have started doing toe lifts (going up on tiptoes, hold and release. Try to control it) both together and also one at a time.

Then heel drops. Stand on the bottom step with your heels hanging over the edge. GENTLY lower your heels down a little, hold then back up. Control it. Do it both together then one foot at a time.

This seems to have helped my ankles.

I only stretch after a run when still warm never before, just do the warm up walk.

Hope this helps.. im no expert but it worked for me. Also keep hydrated. x

Shivani05Graduate in reply to Bluebirdrunner

Thanks, Jan. I always thought the toe lifts/heel drops were calf exercises, didn't realise they were for the ankles too. I'll definitely start doing those. I used to get terrible shin splints when I started the programme so a trainer at my gym showed me a few stretches to do before the run, which has helped.

BluebirdrunnerGraduate in reply to Shivani05

You're probably right Shivani,

but they seem to have helped with stiffness I was getting in that area...

Worth a try though. x


I had really puffy ankles, and did get a crocked ankle early on into C25k which didn't help but with rest, elevation, ice, it soon cleared up. The more you run the stronger your ankles get. Ditto knees and hips. We just have to go steady and we'll get there

I always do a warm-up before leaving the house before my five minute warm-up walk, and always do the cool-down walk and do stretches when I get home. It's just second nature now.

Shivani05Graduate in reply to misswobble

Thanks. I agree with you about ankles, knees and hips getting stronger as we go on. My knees used to hurt terribly in weeks 1 and 2 post run. It's now my ankles' turn :)


What may also help is to sometimes to run on a slightly softer surface if you can, such as grass or even loose gravel to take of the harshness of the pounding of paved and concrete surfaces...

Shivani05Graduate in reply to davelinks

I run on the treadmill, but it seems like a good idea to mix it up and run outdoors on a softer surface. Thanks!

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