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Treadmills can contribute to ankle pain.
Ankle soreness and foot pain are common complaints for many runners, including those who run on treadmills. While treadmills provide unparalleled convenience, they can contribute to overuse injuries that over time may become more serious. To banish ankle pain, you'll have to look closely at a variety of factors that may be to blame.
Safety Over Speed
High treadmill speeds, coupled with a high incline component or percent grade, can stress the dorsiflexor muscles, according to Weight Watchers. These muscles, which travel from the front of the shin down to the ankle, can cause bothersome soreness in the front of the ankle. This problem may be remedied simply by stretching your calves before getting on the treadmill or by walking or running at a lower speed and incline until you've warmed up sufficiently.
Because a treadmill belt has a smooth, uninterrupted surface, running on a treadmill results in more repetitive movements on the same muscles. When you run or walk outdoors, your body has to constantly make small adjustments to cover a variety of terrain surfaces. You may find it helpful to vary your routine by going on a hike occasionally -- this will give your feet the opportunity to move up and down slopes and flex across uneven surfaces.
Concerns and Considerations
Consistent pain may lead to a weakening on the ankle that can make you more susceptible to a sprain. Ankle sprains are worrisomely common: 80 percent of ankle injuries are ankle sprains, according to the Advance Healthcare Network. If you develop a sprain, you should cease strenuous physical activity until you recover. Compress your ankle with bandages or a brace and elevate your ankle above your heart. Apply ice to reduce swelling and get plenty of rest.
Maintaining Healthy Ankles
Choose a supportive shoe for running on a treadmill, one that will provide padding on the soles to protect your heel and foot bones. Only use your running shoes for running and walking, as Prevention warns that some padded running shoes can increase your risk of rolling your ankles in a dance or cardio class. Try to keep your feet under your hips instead of stretched in front of you. Pose Tech states that outstretching your feet will create a conflicting bracing effect with the belt that can lead to injury.