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Harper Phillips - Aug 9, 2023 - 7 min read - 1k Likes

Can Walking on a Sprained Ankle Make It Worse?

A sprained ankle is a common injury that can occur during physical activities, leading to ligament damage and pain. Many individuals wonder can walking on a sprained ankle make it worse? the injury or hinder the healing process.

In this  article, we will delve into the impacts and risks of walking on a sprained ankle, providing valuable insights into the proper management and care required for a successful recovery.

What is Sprained Ankle

Can Walking on a Sprained Ankle Make It Worse

A sprained ankle occurs when the ligaments supporting the joint are stretched or torn due to sudden twists, turns, or falls.

The affected ankle may swell, become tender, and limit mobility. The ligament damage can lead to instability in the joint, making it challenging to bear weight and engage in regular activities.

Can You Walk With Sprained Ankle?

Walking is a weight bearing activity that places stress on the injured ligaments of a sprained ankle.

Every step taken can cause additional strain on the already damaged ligaments, potentially delaying the healing process and causing more pain and discomfort.

Risks of Walking with a Sprained Ankle

Walking on a sprained ankle comes with several risks that individuals should be aware of:

1. Increased Pain and Discomfort: Walking with a sprained ankle can lead to heightened pain and discomfort, making it difficult to perform daily tasks.

2. Potential Worsening of the Injury: Continuous walking on an injured ankle may cause further damage to the ligaments, leading to a more severe sprain.

3. Long-term Consequences: Ignoring the injury and walking without proper care can result in long-term consequences, such as chronic ankle instability or recurrent sprains.

Factors to Consider Before Walking

Before deciding to walk with a sprained ankle, individuals should consider various factors, including the severity of the sprain, the advice of a healthcare professional, and the proper use of assistive devices like crutches or ankle braces.

Tips for Walking Safely with a Sprained Ankle

Tips for Walking Safely with a Sprained Ankle

For those who receive medical clearance to walk with a sprained ankle, following specific guidelines is essential for safe mobility:

1. RICE Protocol: Rest the ankle, apply ice to reduce swelling, compress the ankle with a bandage, and elevate the foot to minimize inflammation.

2. Use Ankle Braces or Supports: Wearing a brace or support can provide stability and reduce the risk of further injury during walking.

3. Gradual Reintroduction of weight bearing Activities: Slowly reintroduce weight-bearing activities, starting with partial weight bearing and gradually increasing as the ankle heals.

Alternative Approaches to Mobility

For individuals advised against walking on a sprained ankle, alternative approaches to maintain mobility and fitness can be considered:

1. Non-weight bearing Exercises for Strengthening: Engaging in exercises that don’t put weight on the injured ankle can help maintain muscle strength and prevent atrophy.

2. Low-impact Activities: Activities such as swimming or cycling can provide cardiovascular benefits without excessive strain on the ankle.

3. Importance of Physical Therapy: Working with a physical therapist can be highly beneficial in designing a customized exercise plan to aid recovery and enhance overall joint stability.

Walking: Helpful or Harmful?

During the recovery process, it is crucial to pay attention to signs that walking may be exacerbating the injury.

Increased pain, swelling, or a feeling of instability in the ankle are indicators that walking should be avoided or minimized until the symptoms subside.

Managing Pain and Discomfort

Managing pain is essential for individuals with a sprained ankle. Rest and elevation can alleviate pressure on the ankle, while over-the-counter pain relievers can provide temporary relief.

Adhering to a physician prescribed pain management plan is critical for a smoother recovery.

Balancing Mobility and Healing

Finding the right balance between mobility and healing is paramount during ankle sprain rehabilitation.

Striking a balance between gentle movements to maintain joint flexibility and adequate rest to promote healing is crucial.


Walking on a sprained ankle can exacerbate the injury and hinder the recovery process, leading to long-term consequences. Proper care, including the RICE protocol, ankle braces, and gradual reintroduction of weight-bearing activities, is crucial for a successful recovery.

For individuals advised against walking, alternative approaches to maintain mobility, such as non-weight-bearing exercises and low-impact activities, can be beneficial.

Understanding the risks and impacts of walking with a sprained ankle and listening to the body’s signals are essential steps toward a full and safe recovery.

Seeking medical attention and adhering to professional advice will significantly contribute to restoring ankle health and preventing future injuries.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I walk immediately after spraining my ankle?

No, walking immediately after spraining your ankle is not advisable. Rest and immediate application of the RICE protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) are essential in the initial phase of recovery.

2. How long should I wait before walking on a sprained ankle?

The duration of rest and non-weight-bearing activities depends on the severity of the sprain. Mild sprains may require a few days of rest, while more severe sprains may need several weeks of reduced weight-bearing.

3. Can I use ankle braces while walking with a sprained ankle?

Yes, using ankle braces or supports can provide stability and reduce the risk of further injury during walking.

4. Is physical therapy necessary for a sprained ankle?

Physical therapy can be highly beneficial in ankle sprain rehabilitation. It helps strengthen the surrounding muscles, improve joint stability, and prevent future injuries.

5. When should I seek medical attention for a sprained ankle?

If you experience severe pain, or swelling, or are unable to bear weight on the injured ankle, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly.

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Harper Phillips - Author

Greetings! I'm Harper Phillips, a dedicated Podiatrist specializing in the comprehensive care of the feet and ankles. With a deep commitment to promoting foot health and mobility, I bring 15 Years of experience in diagnosing, treating, and preventing a wide range of podiatric conditions.

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