Skip navigation

3539 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Jan 25, 2011 9:10 AM by Johnny Webb
Johnny Webb Amateur 26 posts since
Feb 3, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Jan 21, 2011 3:17 PM

Should I continue to run after a sprained ankle?

November, 2009, my son challenged the family to run a marathon. As I had run 10Ks before I said, "Sure, count me in". After a year of training (you have to consider I was 60 years old and over 200 lbs when I started this) I felt I could do it. The long runs were hard, but anything under 15 miles seemed easy (relatively speaking). Well, I had one week to go before the marathon and my son and I went to do our last tapered-down long run of 8 miles. At about the 1.5 mile mark and stepped on a stick, twisted my ankle and fell. I got up and continued to run. It hurt, but I continued. After about 2 more miles I thought I ought to check it out as it was starting to "pound" a little. To my disappointment, it was starting to swell quite a lot. After a few days of RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) my ankle felt better but was still black and blue, swollen, and hurt. Do I do them marathon. After running 3 miles on the treadmill I decided I could do it. Well, I completed my first marathon at age 61 in 5:22. After 2 more months, my ankle still hurts but I can still run and my ankle is getting stronger, but my questions are: Should I get this checked out? Does a sprained ankle heal with surgery? Can you tell if it is a tear or just a strain? I have a half marathon coming up in 6 weeks. Should I cancel out or should I just "Grin and bear it?" I do have a physical scheduled in 2 weeks so I'll get my doctor's opinion on this, but wanted your advice and experience as well.

PR - 5K = 27:45

PR - 4M = 38:50

PR - 10K = 58:30

PR - Half Marathon = 2:01:05

PR - Marathon = 5:22:32

  • ultimatehlth Pro 118 posts since
    Jul 13, 2009

    Sprains don't generally require surgery unles it is a stage 3 tear (complete tear). If you still have pain after all this time then your body telling you to back off, continued use could lead to greater long term problems. Live to fight another day. I would recommend commencing on rehab exercises for strength, range of motion and proprioception. Once pain is gone gradually add running back in.


    Personal Trainer Los Angeles

  • JamesJohnsonLMT Legend 1,282 posts since
    Aug 23, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jan 21, 2011 11:55 PM (in response to Johnny Webb)
    Re: Should I continue to run after a sprained ankle?

    I agree with Ultimate that it's time for a break from impact sports.  Look into pool running, which will preserve your aerobics while giving  that ankle a chance to tighten up with less internal scarring. Bad  healing can result in impaired circulation and nerve damage, but a break  with proper rehab can get you where you want to be, faster. The half  marathon, even if completed, may delay your progress. Trust your ankle to heal. I've twisted mine badly within the last few years, and recovered.


    I am close to your age and know the impatience thing.  As we age there is a temptation to think we can only get slower, but I  know guys in their 60s who are getting faster. The important thing is to  stay injury free, and to manage injuries constructively when they  happen. I used to race constantly. Even if I had to limp through a race I  would compete, but I've learned the patience to play a long chess game  with my body, training sometimes for several months between  competitions. The healthy body wins over the compromised one, every  time.


    A little over a year ago, I started a marathon  after training hard for a year. I cramped badly within a couple miles  and dropped out. It was the first time I did not finish, even though I  could have toughed it out. A few months later I ran another one with  some of my best splits ever, and a year later I had my second best time  to date, the best being a few years ago. Patience can bring rewards, no  matter what your age.


    You've come a long way and have a lot to be proud of. You can preserve it, or jeopardize it as you wish. I went into my last marathon with a slightly sore hamstring that continued to bother me for months, so I took time off from running. I only completed about 30 miles over the last month, massaging my hamstrings daily. I actually thought I was going to die a week ago, after only a half mile of huffing and puffing ended a week of rest.  The next day felt better, and a few runs later I feel great, as if I  hadn't lost a thing. Sore hamstring - gone. I challenge you to enjoy  your recovery, stage your comeback, and chop an hour off that marathon within the next year. I'll bet you can.

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...