A logo features a bright green, abstract shape with "OrM" written in the center. Below the shape, the text "O r Mobility" is displayed in white, with "Physical Therapy & Performance" written in smaller, white text underneath. The background is black and emphasizes the importance of physical therapy.

Managing Ankle Pain: The Dos and Don’ts of Exercising Safely

ankle pain
Dr. Garrett Stroup. Physical Therapist in Roseburg Area.


Dr. Garrett C. Stroup

DPT, VRC - Owner and Founder

We help athletes and active adults regain control of their injury without expensive surgeries or medications, so they can keep going.


Ankle pain can be a significant hindrance to your daily activities and exercise routines. The question many individuals face is whether to continue exercising when their ankle hurts. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the nuances of exercising with ankle pain, providing insights into when to push through discomfort and when to pause. Understanding how to navigate exercise with a hurting ankle is crucial for both managing pain and ensuring your overall well-being.

Understanding Ankle Pain

1. Common Causes of Ankle Pain:

  • Discuss the various causes of ankle pain, such as sprains, strains, tendonitis, arthritis, or overuse injuries. Understanding the root cause helps in tailoring the approach to managing the pain effectively.

2. Types of Ankle Pain:

  • Differentiate between acute and chronic ankle pain. Acute pain often results from sudden injuries, while chronic pain persists over time. The type of pain influences the approach to exercise.

The Importance of Rest and Recovery

1. Allowing Time for Healing:

  • Emphasize the significance of allowing your ankle sufficient time to heal. Rest is a crucial component of the healing process, preventing further strain and promoting recovery.

2. Understanding Inflammation:

  • Explain the role of inflammation in the body’s healing process. While some inflammation is natural, excessive or prolonged inflammation can impede healing and exacerbate pain.

Exercise Modifications and Adaptations

1. Low-Impact Exercises:

  • Explore low-impact exercises that are gentle on the ankles, such as swimming, cycling, or water aerobics. These activities provide cardiovascular benefits without putting excessive strain on the injured ankle.

2. Range of Motion Exercises:

  • Discuss the importance of gentle range of motion exercises to maintain joint flexibility. These exercises prevent stiffness and improve circulation without aggravating the pain.

Seeking Professional Guidance

1. Consulting a Physical Therapist:

  • Explain the role of a physical therapist in assessing your condition and designing a customized exercise program. A physical therapist can guide you in performing safe exercises and monitor your progress effectively.

2. Importance of Proper Form:

  • Emphasize the significance of proper form and technique when exercising with ankle pain. Incorrect form can worsen the pain and lead to further injuries.
Plantar Fasciitis Causes and Risk Factors

Managing Pain During Exercise

1. Pain vs. Discomfort:

  • Differentiate between manageable discomfort and acute pain. It’s essential to listen to your body; if the pain is sharp and intense, it’s a sign to stop the activity immediately.

2. Using Supportive Footwear:

  • Discuss the benefits of wearing supportive footwear designed for your specific activity. Proper shoes provide stability and cushioning, reducing the impact on your ankles.

Incorporating Rehabilitation Exercises

1. Therapeutic Exercises:

  • Introduce therapeutic exercises prescribed by a physical therapist. These exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles around the ankle, improve balance, and enhance stability, aiding in the healing process.

2. Gradual Progression:

  • Stress the importance of gradual progression in exercise intensity and duration. Start with gentle exercises and gradually increase the intensity as your ankle becomes stronger and more resilient.

When to Pause and Seek Medical Attention

1. Signs to Watch For:

  • Educate readers about warning signs that indicate the need to pause exercising and consult a healthcare professional. These signs may include persistent or worsening pain, swelling, bruising, or difficulty bearing weight on the affected ankle.

2. The Role of Rest in Healing:

  • Reiterate the role of rest in the healing process. Ignoring persistent pain and continuing to exercise vigorously can lead to more severe injuries and prolong the recovery period.

Conclusion – Prioritizing Your Health and Well-being

Balancing Activity and Healing

Exercising with a hurting ankle requires a delicate balance between staying active and allowing proper healing. Understanding your body, seeking professional guidance, and prioritizing your health are essential steps in managing ankle pain effectively. If you’re uncertain about the right exercises for your condition, it’s always best to consult with a physical therapist or healthcare provider.

At OrMobility Physical Therapy & Performance, we specialize in providing personalized physical therapy solutions tailored to your unique needs. If you’re struggling with ankle pain and need expert guidance to resume your active lifestyle safely, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with us today. Let us be your partners in balancing activity and healing, ensuring your well-being and long-term mobility.

Contact us now to schedule your consultation and take the first step toward a pain-free, more active life.

OrMobility Physical Therapy & Performance

Scroll to Top