If you frequently experience ankle pain, you’ll need to be cautious when doing any kind of cardiovascular exercise. Similar to back pain, ankle pain can severely limit the kinds of exercises you can do. Since most forms of cardiovascular activity require use of your legs–or bare weight on your legs at the very least–you need to avoid many of them. Here are some cardio exercises you should definitely avoid. You’ll notice that all of them are high impact.
Running is one of the hardest exercises on the body, especially if it’s done outdoors on hard surfaces. You’ll put too much pressure on your joints. The impact of the surface on your foot and ankle can result in increased pain. Steer clear of any kind of running–even if it is on a soft surface.
2. Kickboxing Classes
Kickboxing classes are filled with many high impact moves like jump squats, jump rope and jump kicks. The impact of these moves on you ankle will not be pleasant. As a general rule, with an ankle injury or ankle pain you should avoid any kind of exercise where jumping moves are involved.
3. Stair Stepper, Step Aerobics and Climbing Steps
If “step” is in the name, stay away! If you’ve taken the stairs at home or at work, you’ve probably noticed a bit of ankle pain. Obviously, if the pain is present during non-cardiovascular exercise moves, it’s only going to be intensified when you do similar moves at the gym. Stay off of the stair stepper machine and don’t use stair climbing as a form of exercise. Step aerobics could be dangerous. You could potentially roll your ankle and lead to an injury. Any kind of stepping is too high in impact.
4. Stationary Bike and Biking
While biking isn’t high impact, it does require that your ankles do a fair amount of work. The flexing and contracting of your foot could intensify any ankle pain you’re feeling.
After reading that list, you’re probably thinking there isn’t any kind of exercise you can do. While your options are limited, you’re not without any. Try to look for cardiovascular exercises that take the focus away from your legs. If you have access to a punching bag, consider doing some boxing. Punching is a great exercise for those with any kind of leg injury since all of the work is done by the upper body. You can also swim. Doing laps at the pool will give you a fantastic all-over body workout. You’ll get your cardio and strength training in one workout. Not keen on swimming laps? You could always take a water aerobics class.
While not strictly a cardio workout, Pilates is another great option. Since most moves are done on you back or side, you put very little pressure on your ankle. If you have severe pain, see your doctor to make sure it isn’t due to an injury. The sooner you begin to remedy your ankle, the sooner you can get back to doing a variety of cardiovascular workouts.