Can you walk after an ankle sprain?
What are ankle sprains or ankle rolls and what you can do if this happens to you? Let’s define what an ankle sprain or ankle roll is and how it happens. An ankle sprain will happen when you are stepping down or you are walking on an uneven surface and your ankle will roll to the outside. Most, about 90%, ankle sprains happen when the roll is to the outside (toes go in), and about 10% happen when you roll your ankle to the inside (toes go toward outside). So what is the result? Your ankle has 3 main ligaments on the outside, one on the top front, one on the bottom and side, and one on the back. When you have a sprain 1 or all 3 ligaments get overstretched which causes pain and swelling. It can also cause blood accumulation and bruising as well. In some cases, there is a fracture of the ankle bones, but this is less common. The second thing that happens are the muscles which are attached to your ankle, and top of foot, also become over stretched and quite painful.
What can you do about your ankle sprain? The research says that trying to move your ankle early is one of the most beneficial things you can do. Walking boots and even x-rays are not always necessary. However, if you need a walking boot that is something that we can help you out with. If you can walk on it, then you most likely don’t have a fracture. If in doubt, get it checked out at your urgent care.
If everything checks out that you don’t have a fracture, then the most helpful thing you can do for your ankle is to move it early and often. Here are some very basic and simple exercises you can do to help with the recovery of your ankle pain. The first thing you should do is use ice. Ice your ankle and the painful area, which will help decrease the pain and swelling, for 15-20 minutes at a time. The second exercise is a very easy and simple one. Start by lying on your back, on the floor or on your bed, lift your leg to a 45-degree angle (you can rest on the opposite knee if you want) and pump your foot up and down. For the third exercise, which is the simplest exercise of the three, you are going to simply walk as normally as possible. Make sure there is no sharp or stinging pain while walking, a little discomfort is fine.
If you have tried these exercises for a couple of weeks and are not seeing progress, or you have questions and would like more guidance, please give us a call or come in. We would love to help you out and can also get you on the schedule if needed. We look forward to seeing you next time!
-Dr. Jordan Williams
Treatment of acute ankle ligament injuries: a systematic review Arch Orthop Trauma Surg 2013 Aug; 133(8): 129-1141
Ankle Sprains: Combination of Manual therapy and Supervised Exercise Leads to Better Recovery J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2013;43(7):456. doi:10.2519/jospt.2013.0504
Diagnosis, treatment and prevention of ankle sprains: update of an evidence-based clinical guideline Br J Sports Med 2018 Aug;52(15):956. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2017-098106. Epub 2018 Mar 7