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Ankle pain caused by a treadmill is no light matter.
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Any exercise program comes with risks as well as rewards. Though treadmills are often safe and reliable pieces of exercise equipment, injuries to the feet or ankles may still occur due to factors such as overuse, a misstep or a pre-existing injury or condition. Don't ignore a swollen ankle, as it may be a symptom of a larger problem.
Swelling is a common signifier of an ankle sprain, a tear of the ligaments of the ankle. A mild sprain causes microscopic tears, while a severe sprain causes the ligament to be torn from the area where it attaches to the bone. A mild or moderate sprain can often be treated at home by compressing and resting the sprained ankle, elevating it above the heart and icing it to reduce swelling. A more serious sprain will require a doctor's attention and guidance.
Achilles tendinitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon of the ankle. Symptoms may include swelling that gets worse throughout the day and pain along the back of the heel. The pain often gets worse after exercise, so you may notice it after stepping off a treadmill. It can also be caused by a sudden increase in exercise, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. See a doctor if you suspect you have this condition. Your doctor may order an X-ray in order to diagnose tendinitis.
Walking or running on a treadmill with an incline can eventually stress and cause pain in your dorsiflexor muscles, the muscles that travel from the front of the ankle to the front of the shin. Weight Watchers recommends slowing down your speed and incline to start and gradually increasing the speed as your muscles warm up. You may also want to stretch your calves before stepping on the treadmill, as they resist movement in the dorsiflexor muscles.
If you're prone to distraction, avoid watching TV or listening to headphones while running on a treadmill, as you may take a misstep that leads to an injury. If you use a home treadmill, make sure you have at least 6 to 8 feet of clearance behind the machine so if you fall you don't hit something. Unlike the outdoors, treadmills provide unvaried terrain. This uninterrupted surface can cause overuse injuries over time. You may find it helpful to add outdoor walks or hikes to your exercise routine, as this will prevent you from falling into the same movement pattern.