Swollen ankle - to run or not to run? - Couch to 5K

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Swollen ankle - to run or not to run?


Should be doing run 1 of week 4 tomorrow (although it feels like I’ve been doing it longer ha!). But my ankle is aching and swollen - photo attached. Should I run or not? I had ice on it last night but it doesn’t seem to have made much difference. I can walk on it, but not sure if the run will do more harm than good. It’s an old injury that’s only come back since starting the running program. Any advice greatfully received.

17 Replies

Im not an expert but i think you need to rest & continue with ice before running again incase you do more damage! Maybe check it out with gp! Hooe it heals quickly take care😊

JoanneBrowneGraduate in reply to Pc59

I’d agree... seek medical advice.


Absolutely, categorically do NOT run on it. You risk permanent damage. No-one on here is qualified to give you medical advice, so get along to your local practice to get it checked out. Don't run again until a professional has given you the go-ahead. Sorry.

Thanks all, I’m so fed up. This is what happened last time I tried to start running. I thought this programme would be more gentle, maybe I’m just not cut out for running :-(

nurseljhGraduate in reply to Hawkiejo

have your vitamin d level checked! if it is low, you could be having stress fractures. it happened to me a few years ago and I had both ankles with stress fractures. 3 months in walking boots . my level was very low. now normal with supplements and no swelling.


Nah leave it a day or so and see how it goes. I had puffy ankles for a while but I came good 👍😀🏃‍♀️


The photo. apart from the carpet, doesn't look good at all.

My ankle looked like out of date watermelon once and it had nothing to do with water inside. My GP suggested off the self meds and some ice with resting on the pillow type nonsense.

I found professional help, the physio fixed the chore, I was back running in approx 3 months. Yes, 3 (three) months.

My issue was linked with inadequate choice of (poor) shoes, not having done gait analysis and ignoring the advise of many on the forum who knew waaay better than me.

Please check that out first before running again.

Very best of luck!


Don't run till you get it checked out. If you can afford it go to a sports physio. There are even some who specialise in running, though living in London I am lucky to have a huge choice. You may be more restricted.

You can get a physio on the NHS but going through a GP takes ages. Some areas allow you to self refer which is quicker so check if you can do that.

mrrunGraduate in reply to Hidden

When my knee quadrupled in size, a GP referred me to a physio but l wouldn't wait and visited my local sarf London one. She fixed me alright but had wait for nearly 3 months until the next run. You know when my referral finally got through and l received a call? Seven months later, lol. I mean, amputation would have healed by then :)


Do not run! Go and get that checked out.. ouch!

If it were me I'd stop running for a few days then start on a week 1 run to see how that goes. Then if it's still problematic see a physio if possible or failing that your gp. As a new runner, your body will complain sometimes and niggles will crop up. Just listen to your body and take extra rest/easier runs when needed.


Especially if it is an old injury that has resurfaced because of running, get professional medical advice.

To put it into perspective, I have a light sprain of my left ankle, with no swelling and little pain when static and I haven't run for nearly three weeks.

Your ankles take do much strain that it is not worth stressing it until completely better.

I had exactly this at about week 3. Mine was an old ankle injury. I stopped running for about three months but started again on the treadmill where it was fine and that seemed to strengthen it for outside. But what I didn't do at the time, and you should, is get it seen to by a physio. When I did eventually see one he was able to ease it after two sessions!

Even if yours isn't caused by an old injury you really need to get it checked and whatever you do, don't run on it!

You'll probably be given strengthening exercises afterwards but don't lose hope. You will run again!


I've had an ankle injury (recovering from a stress fracture) and the help I got from a local sports therapist was wonderful. The pain could be caused by anything and especially as it's something you had before there may be an underlying issue somewhere. He gave me some strengthening exercises to do and they have helped me no end. Good luck with your recovery.


I don't think it's a case of the programme should be more gentle, it's just how it is for you in general. Your poor ankle looks very sore indeed, but I for one, wouldn't run on it until it's healed and until you get it professionally checked out.

Don't think too negatively just yet about running.... Long term, if you find it's not for you, then fair enough, but see how your ankle heals and then give it another go, breaking it in gently, with minimal minutes so that you don't over do it.

Good luck 😊


Nooooo don’t run on an injury. Rest, ice, analgesia and get it checked out if it doesn’t improve.


I had an ankle injury once years ago from plain old walking. I wasn't even running at all then. It took nearly 6 months to heal -- and I had resolved not to go to the doctor, for which I have to pay, living in the U.S. However, I mean to say not to give up on running because although I was not a runner then, I am now! (at age 70....) So rest and go to the doctor if need be, but don't give up!

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