In today's episode, coach Jessica Marie Rose Leggio offers up pearls of wisdom for any runner who suffers from sprained ankles. She explains why ankles roll and why looking at your feet isn't the answer. 

Why ankles roll

Sprained ankles are a common problem for runners. Yet, most runners don't know that the underlying cause has nothing to do with your ankles. The primary reason relates to your hips. This reasoning is because your ankles and your hips are synonymous in terms of movement. If your hips are out, so too are your feet. 

"Pain is never where it is coming from. It is the result of dysfunction; the root cause is somewhere else.

The good news is that this injury is easy to fix with the right conditioning work. However, the bad news is most runners don't do this. Instead, the most common response is to go to a running store and get fitted with a stability sneaker.

Newsflash! In "stability" sneakers, your ankles are still wonky, and your hips are still unstable. 

In "stability" sneakers, none of the underlying causes for your wobbly ankles have been addressed. The condition a dysfunctional movement. Despite the advertising, a stability sneaker will never support you, and your ankles will never learn to stabilize themselves.  

The real problem is your hips. Hip dysfunction disallows ankle flexion and extension. Often runners are sold inserts to solve a pronation problem. 

"A stability shoe with an insert is the biggest, most expensive band-aid you are going to put on your foot. They cause injury."

 If you run with hip dysfunction, you will condition muscles around that dysfunction. Consequently, you will develop muscles that support the conditioning of a dysfunctional movement. 

To address this, you need to correct how the muscles are firing to support your hip joint. This action doesn't happen overnight, but by guiding the hip through training, you can condition a functional movement. 

How to stop your ankles from rolling 

The short answer is there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Fitness is not general; it is person-specific. However, if your ankles are rolling, it is a clear indicator your hips are in dysfunction. Still, it originates from precisely what needs to be identified by a professional to be treated. 

Start taking notes after each run; The good, the bad, and the ugly. When you feel a twinge, write it down. If you smashed a run and feel great, write it down. Include the specific details. Was it hilly, flat, long, or fast? These details will start to indicate what is going on with your body.

#RunPainFree hot tip (yet again): Start foam rolling today. No, not your ankles, your hips! 

Your Running terrain and its impact on your hips.

While flat terrain may be more comfortable for the heart and lungs, it is much harder on your body than hills. Your hips are cooking the entire time on a flat course because you are always in knee drive. The terrain doesn't require you to open up your stride and ignite your glutes as a hill does. It would be best if you had your glutes to fire to relax your hips. 

"As soon as the hip flexors engage, they release your glutes. When this natural exchange isn't happening, you tank."

Conversely, hills make everything fire like a well-oiled machine. They open up your gait up and ignite your glutes. They extend your hamstrings and force you to use core torque. In essence, you move as you are naturally meant to as you run up a hill. 

Take-home lesson

When you condition for a range of motion, you prepare to withstand a role or a sprain. That is what correction is about. It allows you to build muscle that supports a specific range of motion, so your muscles don't strain, tear or rip.

This explanation is why it is common for runners to roll their ankles because no one is conditioning their ankles or hips.

To be a long-distance runner, first and foremost, you need to condition for athletic endurance. If you don't have the endurance for conditioning, you don't have the endurance for long-distance running. Sorry, that that's the truth. 

#RunPainFree knows you can enjoy running; you can run pain-free, you can run whatever you want when you want. But the caveat is, you need to condition for it. 

If you want to learn more about conditioning your hips and ankles for long-distance running, head to #RunPainFreeNow for a free consultation. 


1:00 – Why ankles role

13:00 – How to stop your ankles rolling

15:29 – Running terrain and its impact on your hips

27:00 – Take home lesson


·     Rolling ankles are the result of a dysfunction at the hips

·     Stability sneakers disallow the conditioning of your ankle because it restricts your ankle's range of motion

·     Start conditioning your hips with mobility and stability exercises, such as bridges and donkey kicks

·     Alleviate the stress on your hips by running hills to activate your glutes


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