Should You Walk On A Sprained Ankle?

Last updated: 11-09-2020

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Should You Walk On A Sprained Ankle?

When researching the web to come up with a blog topic for today, we noticed that one of the most common questions on Google when searching about ankle sprains was whether or not you should walk on a sprained ankle. There was also a lot of discussion on how to “walk off” an ankle sprain. We’re going to tackle both of those topics below and explain how you can safely manage your sprained ankle.
Walking On and “Walking Off” an Ankle Sprain

Before we dive into an explanation for both, we just want to clarify what we mean for each. When asking if you can walk on a sprained ankle, we’re simply asking that – Can you safely walk like normal while dealing with a sprained ankle. When discussing “walking off” an ankle sprain, we’re tackling the subject of continuing to perform physical tasks or sporting activities with a sprained ankle. Walking off, in this sense, means trying to walk around and let the injury get to a point where you can tolerate more activity despite still having discomfort in the ankle.

Walking On A Sprained Ankle – There’s no direct answer here. It depends on a number of factors, most notably the severity of your ankle sprain. For some patients with a Grade III ankle sprain, bearing weight and walking on the ankle may simply be too painful. With a Grade I sprain, you can generally walk on the ankle, but you may want to consider a walking boot or at least a supportive shoe to help protect the ankle from rolling. Grade II sprains fall somewhere in the middle, and although you may be able to physically tolerate walking on them, you may be risking further ligament tears. Unnecessary walking should be minimized or eliminated, while necessary walking should be performed with care or a walking boot. For questions about the extent of your ankle sprain, or how to best manage it, consult a physician.

“Walking Off” An Ankle Sprain – You should not try to “walk off” a sprained ankle if it occurs during manual labor or athletic activity. During a sprain, your supportive ankle ligaments suffer microtears, but these tears can get bigger and damage can become more severe if you try to play through the injury. If you roll your ankle, you can get clearance from medical staff to continue the game, but for sprains, especially ones that feel uncomfortable when you try to continue, you need to take a break from activity. Oftentimes you can get back on the field with a few days off and some physical therapy, but playing through the injury can lead to ruptures and ankle fractures, so we advise against trying to “walk it off.”

In either situation, we recommend getting an evaluation by a foot specialist if you have concerns about the best ways to manage your sprain. For more information, or to have your questions answered, reach out to Dr. Silverman’s office today.


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