This is my first year hiking, after years of inactivity… Lately I’ve had persistent ankle pain, mostly in my right foot, that keeps me from going very far, and which type of trails i hike… I’ve sprained my ankle years before, the difference this time is I have almost no swelling, and no bruising… Maybe this is the price of being out of shape? or was the result of one peticular hike? *shrugs
Before i buy gear I might not need I was hoping to get some opinions/suggestios. Maybe a recommended stretch or rehabilitation excercise(s)? or are there ways to minimize the stress on my ankles? is this a rookie issue? I’d appreciate any help you can offer.
Without more information, I can only guess at possible causes. The first question is did you have ankle pain before you started hiking again.
Anyone who starts to exercise or who increases the amount of exercise they do is likely to encounter some sort of pain. I've found that backing off for a few days and then increasing exercise more slowly eliminates almost all pains. Sometimes it can take months of remaining at a plateau.
Using trekking poles while hiking can reduce strains.
If you think the injury warrants seeing a doctor, the do so.
Soaking the foot in cold water can help ankle injuries heal. By cold, I means as cold as is comfortable, but not freezing water. Don't overdo this remedy and if the ankle feels better after soaking don't use this as a reason to resume exercise right after.
If it's the back of your ankle it could be problems with the Achilles tendon. This can be aggravated by pushing too hard up hills and taking steps without putting your heels down. Walk more slowly uphill and land with your foot flat. If you normally wear shoes with elevated heels and your hiking shoes don't have elevated heels it can also cause problems with the Achilles tendon.
Achilles tendon injuries can be serious. If the tendon snaps it's difficult to repair, so proceed with extreme caution.
You said you have almost no swelling which I interpret as there is some swelling. This is a signal that you really do need to reduce the amount of exercise.
Problems throughout the walking system, meaning your entire body, can originate with poorly fitting shoes. Shoes should have a wide and tall toe box so you can wiggle your toes in all directions. This is difficult to find in most hiking shoes. Most people select shoes that are too narrow and too short.
Buying new shoes can get expensive. I found a pair of New Balance all terrain shoes for $44.95 New Balance has wide sizes while most other brands either do not or they don't keep them in stock.
I'm going to ask you to take a $44.95 leap of faith. It could be more if you buy an expensive pair of shoes. Wear a pair of thick hiking socks when you buy shoes. Find a pair where you can wiggle your toes. Then buy a half-size bigger in length. If the store has one of those old-fashioned things for measuring shoe size, buy a half size bigger and a size or two wider. The shoe will feel loose for a couple days because it's different than you are used to.
If your feet swell when you hike, you may have to go a full size bigger.
Finally, before you do anything I just said, listen to other opinions and use your own judgment.
While it's worth trying some of the other options, this is not a medical forum and only a physician examining you can diagnose the problem.
Unfortunately, medical care has become prohibitively expensive for many people and even unavailable for many people. In today's society a person can only be as sick as their insurance lets them be. The others are left to their own devices.
This is why I focus on avoiding injuries instead of repairing injuries. The universal rule of avoiding overuse injuries is to stop the activity that caused the pain once mild pain starts. This may not be possible in the workplace, but it is certainly possible in recreational activities. After the pain subsides a person can generally cautiously resume the exercise at a lower intensity level and increase the exercise at a slow rate.
If a person feels something snap and it comes with localized or severe pain, it's time to see a doctor. However, if it's a lower intensity pain the best course of action is rest. If it's in a gray area and they will see a doctor, they should rest until seeing the doctor.
I've been through this cycle four times this year with knee pain in both knees, foot tiredness, lower back muscle pain and a general malaise brought on by too much walking. Each time I backed off while the pain was mild and approached the old level of exercise slowly. I anticipate something else will arise as I increase the miles.
Pain is a part of exercising beyond old habit patterns, but it should not be severe pain or even moderate pain. Too many doctors want to do something to relieve pain when the right answer is to do nothing until the pain subsides.This doesn't apply to people who push through pain until they create a severe problem.
I oppose the concept of "No pain, no gain" as this concept only applies to people trying for short term success at the cost of chronic injuries. Instead, I exercise below the threshold of pain and extreme tiredness, and as time passes, this threshold increases. My philosophy will not win gold medals, but it will get a person in the top 10% of any activity. It may take an extra year, but so what?
There was probably some stiffness getting started. I was going to the gym twice a week before but decided I’d rather be outdoors while its warm… My achilles feels stiff the next day, but stretching has helped alot. Its side to side mostly.. I feel it mostly the first km, and the next day… I started up the stairs before writing, and my ankle twisted slightly. I may still go to the doctor (because I don’t pay for visits) but because there’s not alot of swelling, and no bruising, I think he may just send me home..
I feel I have a few things I can look out for, and I appreciate that. I have some hiking poles (somewhere) too.. I’ve debated getting new hiking boots but as a last resort. I’ll keep in mind about the toes. My options are limited unless I buy online. If I do that I want to be sure..
Some of the symptoms you describe seem to indicate a trip to a free doctor might be worthwhile.
Before you go, take a look at this webpage. Print the page and mark exactly where you feel the pain and log the conditions under which you feel the pain.
Maybe I'm not the best person to talk to about these things because I don't have any chronic pains. Maybe I am the best person to talk to because I manage to avoid them. Who knows? If this were me, I'd rest until the pain was gone and start over. It would probably only take a couple weeks unless you have badly messed up something.
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
It could very well be a newbie thing.
If you your shoes are too small, or even too tight, it can hurt your feet and ankles. Your feet get bigger as you get older, and they get bigger as you walk throughout the day, so you might try double checking the fit and adjusting your laces when you start feeling some pain.
Some decent aftermarket insole might help. New shoes these days are coming with some pretty junky insoles, so that may be well worth a try too.
Finally, if you've not walked much lately your ankles could be just plain old weak. Walking will strengthen them up.
the reason why I typically avoid the doctor is because I have chronic neck and back, and I’m not sure how helpful he’ll be..
The more I read about it, I think my shoes are just not suited for hiking.. I will price some insoles this weekend.. worse case, I can use them in my regualar shoes..
I printed off the diagram for reference.. In between the doctor, and insole I hope I can get some fall hiking done.. worse case.. I’ll have winter to strenghten my legs/ankles, and maybe I’ll get some boots for xmas…
to be honest, I did hit the treadmill a bit (without incident).. this week I hiked the farthest I have done (8 & 9km). I was careful and came home with sore feet but my ankles didn't hurt like they did before. I know it would be easy to re-injure myself but I think that's a good sign.. taking a couple smaller hikes and keeping my fingers crossed.
Thanks for the advice.. I'm still shopping for some good boots.. I need something with better treads, and water resistant..