I used to run regularly (15-18km on the long run day) and then had to take a 3 month break in between. This time, I started running in the minimalist shoes (since I suffer from over-pronation and wanted to correct my landing/form etc). I also wanted to explore this style of running.

Anyways, I got the vibrams bikila and started out with less distance/ slow speed / trying to absorb the change. I kept my distance to under 5 kms for about 3 weeks. However, after my last run of about 3kms, I noticed I have pain in the lower part of my (inner side) ankle on the right foot, below the bone. I gave it a day's rest and the next day when I went running again, I could barely complete 1 km. I have stopped running after that and giving it some rest now.

Here is the situation: - I have pain in my ankle only when I wake up in the morning ? Is that common - do any of you folks have also gone through this ? - During the day, the ankle doesn't hurt unless, sometimes when I am climbing up or down the stairs.

I am wary of injuries and hate it when I can't run for days due to injuries. I am trying to figure out if I should run or not ? If so, how much is "ok" ? Is there anything I can do to help my ankle (and in general, barefoot running).

  • This is asking for general health/medical advice, and is off topic. Please see a medical professional.
    – JohnP
    Jun 5 '14 at 19:54
  • @JohnP Intent of my question is towards: How can I help my running cause, even with the ankle pain lingering around Jun 6 '14 at 19:35
  • Brainy, I understand that. But nobody can look at your words and say why you have ankle pain. So, anything we can recommend might make it better, might make it worse, might not have any effect. A medical professional needs to tell you what you can and can't do.
    – JohnP
    Jun 6 '14 at 22:42

No, I don't think it's ok to continue running barefoot or minimalistic. The ankle pains are a clear indication you still need better footwear at this point. It could be that your calf muscles aren't strong enough, or even that you don't have the build to run without proper protection of conventional running shoes.

My advice is to temporarily stop all running until you don't experience any discomfort climbing up and down the stairs. If the cause was weak calf muscles, try and work on that first. Go stand on one leg for a period of time (say 30 s), then the other leg; repeat daily. If that's not a problem anymore, do 20 - 40 reps of standing on your toes, then back on your flat foot (one-sided), also daily for each side. Only then return to jogging short distances, recovering with walk breaks in between, on proper running shoes.

This will ease you back into running without any nasty injuries, like ankle pains. After that, you might try some barefoot running, but no more than a few hundred meters/yards per sessions at first, and gradually increase the distance to a mile or so over the weeks (or months). If you are able to run continuously for 3 miles (5 km) barefoot or on minimalistic shoes after half a year of gradually increasing your running distance, you are doing very well indeed.

Remember, it all takes time, and you need to be very patient with your body and its lack of strength.

Good luck!

  • One small addition: It might be beneficial to start running on a soft surface (grass, forrest floor, beach etc.) once you've healed, as those offer 'built-in' cushioning that your shoes no longer provide.
    – user8119
    Jun 5 '14 at 11:41
  • Good point! Even so, take your time, don't rush things. Jun 5 '14 at 11:52
  • What's a good indicator to increase your distance ? I want to avoid over-doing the distance bit and end up injuring myself again Jun 6 '14 at 19:36
  • 1
    Basically, you can only feel that you've done too much through symptoms you want to avoid, like pain in the ankles, knees, etc. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, it's better to be safe than sorry. Try increasing both your longest weekly run, and the total weekly distance by no more than 10 percent per week. I think 5 percent/week is even better if you want to keep increasing your weekly mileage over the months. Jun 7 '14 at 11:40

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