If you have ever experienced an ankle sprain, healing can take a while. How long your recovery period takes depends largely on how badly the ankle is sprained and what treatment strategies are used to fix the injury. You should never play it safe when recovering from a severe sprain or if you feel a sharp pain in your ankle after activity. But less serious injuries may not need to be treated the same way, so we're here to teach you how to walk after an ankle sprain while keeping things as safe and simple as possible.
Is it OK to Walk on an Ankle Sprain?
Sprained ankles are common injuries. The most important thing after you sprain your ankle is to seek proper medical attention to ensure no damage is done to the area. Injuries such as broken bones, torn ligaments, and damaged tissue may go unnoticed by a regular doctor but could be more severe than you think. Why would you risk it and neglect to make an appointment with a healthcare professional? It would be best to have all the facts from a medical professional to safely return to walking on your injured ankle.
After you are out of danger and your ankle feels better, the next step on the road to recovery should be attempting to start walking again to regain your mobility. You may wonder when is the proper time for this big step, but you should listen to your body more than anyone else. It sounds so logical and simple, but some people don't do it. They ignore their needs and continue to push their bodies in all kinds of unreasonably extreme ways, which only cause further damage. If there's any advice we would give in this particular case, it's to wear an ankle brace or kinesiology tape to protect yourself from re-injury as you start improving your overall health.
The Right Way to Walk on a Sprained Ankle
To avoid re-injury and needless pain after a moderate to mild ankle sprain, you must learn how to walk properly for the first few weeks. Ankle instability will continue as you try to recover from your injury. There are ways to give your ankle extra stability, so you can take on daily activities without worrying about hurting yourself further. Some of the best ways to support your healing ankle are Kinesiology tape, a brace, or a custom-made walking boot. We also have suggestions on which physical therapy exercises can effectively promote recovery.
Start slowly by gradually reintroducing weight-bearing activities on your foot. A tightening or tensing of the ankle is not a good sign and can indicate you're compensating for damage to your ligaments, but that doesn't mean you have to call it quits. Take care of yourself, but don't overdo any physical activity to avoid further injury. Sports medicine professionals are perfect occupational health resources, as they can recommend exercises and stretches that will help your flexibility but won't cause further strain on your ankles, as reparative ligaments heal faster than you may think!
Steps to Walk on a Sprained Ankle
Getting injured isn't the end of all hope. With the guidance of a trained professional and some basic means, it's not so hard to get on your feet again once you've sprained your ankle. Ensure you follow the physician's orders when recovering from badly sprained ankles. Follow these steps:
Apply Heat After Initial Injury
Heat helps improve blood flow but shouldn't be used immediately. After the initial injury, you'll want to use a cold pack to reduce swelling for the first few days before slowly applying a herbal heating pad, which will help loosen stiff joints and ease pain, as it improves blood flow and mobility.
SACKSY THYME Hot & Cold Therapy pad for Sprained Ankle:
The Hot & Cold Therapy pad is incredibly easy to use, and can be applied directly to the Sprained Ankle. When using the pad for cold therapy, simply place it in the freezer for a few hours before use. The pad will then stay cold for up to 30 minutes, providing soothing relief to the ankle. For hot therapy, simply place the pad in the microwave for a minute or two, and it will stay warm for up to 20 minutes. This is perfect for increasing blood flow to the affected area and reducing pain.
Take Small Steps
The first time you walk, take your time. Walk with small steps and allow yourself to adjust to the feeling of balancing on a sprained ankle. Before you start moving, incorporate some easy ankle stretches.
Taking ibuprofen or naproxen after an ankle sprain can help reduce pain and inflammation in the long term. This will also help the healing process, enabling you to move as soon as possible without discomfort.
We all know that overuse injuries can occur from various sporting accidents, etc., and treating them immediately with Rest, ice, compression, and elevation is vital. Rest for the first few days of your sprain, apply an ice pack directly onto your ankle for 20 min intervals, use an elastic bandage to wrap around your foot and ankle to compress the affected area, and elevate it above your chest level as often as possible.
Kinesio tape is like that extra security blanket your mom gave you that you insisted on carrying everywhere. But instead of being a blanket, it's a piece of medical bandage-like material that people can stretch and stick to their bodies for good measure. A kinesiology tape is an excellent way to help naturally heal injuries by increasing one's body's awareness of the injured area. Not only does it increase sensory perception, but it also helps those injured, but they are not ready to give up their love for sports or physical activities yet!
It is best to wear an ankle brace when you have a sprained ankle. An ankle brace will stabilize the ankle to reduce swelling and promote healing. Ankle braces vary in their stretchiness or tightness and how much immobility they offer, so choose a brace that's right for you.
How Long Should You Wait to Walk on a Sprained Ankle?
Generally speaking, the sooner you can walk on your ankle after injuring it, the better. If you can walk right after sustaining the injury, and the pain isn't too bad, it's usually a good sign that severe ligament or bone damage hasn't occurred. It's recommended to take it easy for the first 24 to 72 hours by increasing Rest and modifying exercise routines to accommodate any limitations that may be enforced due to your injured ankle. A compression bandage will also help reduce ankle swelling when trying to heal maximum mobility.
Also, ensure you follow the RICE protocol, in which Rest is given priority over everything else; followed by Ice; Compression with an appropriate compression bandage; and Elevation if needed to ensure maximum results for optimum recovery time.
Tips to start walking on a sprained ankle
Here are some things you need to know about how to start walking on a sprained ankle:
- Start slowly and gradually increase the weight you put on your ankle. Do not try to walk too much too soon, as this could further injure your ankle.
- Use a walking aid, such as crutches or a cane, to help you bear weight on your ankle. This will take some of the pressure off your ankle and make it easier to walk.
- Wear supportive shoes. Shoes that provide good arch and ankle support can help prevent further injury.
- Avoid uneven surfaces and walking on soft ground. These surfaces can make it more difficult to walk and put more stress on your ankle.
- Listen to your body and stop walking if you feel pain. It is important to rest your ankle and give it time to heal.
Here are some additional tips for walking on a sprained ankle:
- Take small steps. This will help you to maintain your balance and avoid putting too much weight on your ankle.
- Lean slightly forward. This will help to keep your weight off your ankle.
- Use your arms for balance. Swing your arms naturally as you walk to help you maintain your balance.
- Walk on a soft surface, such as a carpet or grass. This will help to cushion your ankle and reduce the risk of further injury.
- Avoid walking on uneven surfaces, such as stairs or sidewalks. These surfaces can make it more difficult to walk and put more stress on your ankle.
- If you feel pain, stop walking and rest your ankle. It is important to give your ankle time to heal.
The amount of time it takes to start walking on a sprained ankle depends on the severity of the injury. Mild sprains may take a few days to heal, while more severe sprains may take weeks or months.
If you are unsure how to start walking on a sprained ankle, it is best to consult your doctor or physical therapist. They can help you develop a safe and gradual plan to return to walking.
Walking on a Sprained Ankle Safely
While a sprained ankle is a common injury, and treatment historically has been to "walk it off," unfortunately, people often ignore the pain and continue the activity. We now know that continuing to walk on an ankle in this state of injury is not the ideal plan, especially during the acute phase. If you have recovered from this phase of your sprain, then don't worry too much about walking on an ankle that has previously been injured. However, using a support brace as calculated by a doctor will help protect against further injury, and knowing when and how to walk properly can make all the difference in recovering properly.