A sprained ankle is actually an injury to the ligaments that support the bones in your ankle joint. To help stabilize the joint, while the ligaments heal, you may need to wrap the ankle.
There are a few different types of tapes, bandages, and braces that are effective and easy to use.
Wrapping an ankle too tightly can restrict circulation to the injury, which will interfere with healing and may cause tissue damage in your foot.
Wrapping the ankle too loosely will allow too much movement and keep the ligaments from getting the support they need to recover.
If you have difficulty starting wrapping at the ball of your foot, you may start by wrapping your leg a couple of inches above the ankle and working your way down to the ball of your foot in a figure-eight pattern.
It gently pulls or lifts the skin, possibly reducing inflammation and giving light support to the ankle. Attached to KT is paper that you will peel off as you apply the tape to your skin.
The brace is designed so that you can slip your foot into it and pull it up over your ankle.
Some have Velcro straps to adjust for comfort. Others have laces or are made with an elastic, form-fitting material that fits snugly around the ankle.
Usually, braces are meant for supporting an ankle when you’re getting back into a sport or if you’re doing a lot of walking after your sprained ankle is mostly healed.
Here’s a video that demonstrates how to use an ankle brace to stabilize your ankle and provide support as it heals.
If one or more of the ligaments supporting the bones in your ankle stretches too far and starts to tear, you have a sprained ankle that will require treatment.
A sprain is simply an abnormal stretching of a ligament. If a ligament tears completely, it’s a much more serious injury that often requires surgery to repair.
A sprained ankle is a very common injury. It can happen if you trip and fall or jump and land with your foot at the wrong angle.
Runners sometimes sprain an ankle if they step on something that causes their ankle to roll over. Playing any sport where you might step on someone’s foot and turn your ankle is a risk for this injury.
Diagnosing a sprained ankle doesn’t always require a doctor’s examination. The following are symptoms of a sprained ankle:
For serious ankle injuries, an imaging test, such as an X-ray, MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound may be ordered to allow a doctor to see the extent of your ligament damage and to check for broken bones.
Wrapping your ankle is also known as compression. It’s one of several steps you can take to treat a sprain. It’s actually part of an easy-to-remember acronym: RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
Ice should be used immediately after spraining an ankle to reduce swelling. In the days after spraining your ankle, try to rest it and keep it elevated until you’re ready to start using it again.
Using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) may help reduce inflammation and swelling, as well as relieve some pain.
NSAIDs and gentle exercise a few days after the injury are often enough for a healthy recovery.
The time you need to keep your ankle wrapped depends on the severity of the injury and your activity level. Mild sprains may heal in a few days, but it may take a month or more for a severely sprained ankle to heal completely.
When you’re ready to start rehabilitation, it’s beneficial to do a range of exercises that focus on:
This will help restore the health and function of your ankle and help you back on your feet soon.
With proper care, a sprained ankle ligament will usually heal rather quickly. Knowing how to wrap a sprained ankle firmly but safely will help with healing.
Just remember not to keep the joint immobilized too long or wrapped too tightly or too loosely. And look out for signs that the injury may be more serious than you originally thought, such as pain that lingers or gets worse.
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Why You Shouldn’t Sleep with a Compression Bandage On
In general, you should avoid sleeping with compression bandages whenever you injure your ankle. The reason is that these bandages serve to remove fluid that has built up because of the injury.
These bandages are called compression bandages because they do exactly as the name implies, they compress. Aside from pushing fluid out of the area, they also limit fluid that can come in, which is why they reduce swelling. This is the reason why you shouldn’t have them on for too long. Even though they have a positive role in healing, this can turn into a negative thing if not utilized properly.
Compression bandages are usually cheap and can even be found in supermarkets. The NexSkin Elastic Compression Wrap (view on Amazon) is one of the great brands that you can get, especially for sensitive skin with its latex-free and cotton-made material. Its velcro grip at the end is also very convenient as you don’t have to worry about the metal clasp versions.
When an ankle injury occurs, the cells in the affected area become damaged. This, therefore, results in a weak structure. Just imagine a table breaking one of its legs. If there is no full support, the rest of the legs will struggle to hold the table up.
When we hurt our ankle, our brain responds by sending a lot of fluid to the area to remove the damaged cells, as well as to restore new ones. Because the structure would have been compromised, fluid leakage will also result, as in fluids would flow in different directions that they’re supposed to. This is why ankles swell up.
When you apply a compression bandage, the affected area squeezes out excess fluid and helps it to flow away from the injured site and preventing an unnecessary build-up of fluid.
How Long Compression Bandages Should Be On
Leaving a bandage on for an extended period may sound like a very beneficial thing, but, like with most things, too much of something can become a negative. While compression bandages reduce swelling, in turn, they also restrict fluid from coming in. This is the reason why medical experts advice to not have them on for a long time and to take them off when it’s time to sleep.
Exactly how long they should be on for is dependent on the severity of the injury. Typically, you leave the bandage on during the times you’re not applying ice. You need to make sure that you pay attention to how your toes feel and look like while the bandage is on. If they start to feel numb or begin to look blue, then you might want to loosen the wrapping or remove it for a moment to let the blood flow through properly.
Most often, ankle injuries are not fatal or severe. After all, an ankle injury is so common that people don’t think much about them anymore. But, if they do happen, there is a simple DIY technique that anyone can apply at home and that even children can learn easily.
The first thing that you should always do after hurting your ankle is to stop what you’re doing. Taking pressure off is to prevent it from receiving further damage. If possible, you should find a spot to sit or lay down at so that you can rest the ankle comfortably.
Rest your ankle by not placing any load or burden on it for at least two days. You should also find a way to protect it from being bumped into or hit. The NYOrtho Boot Heel Protector Cushion (view on Amazon) is a perfect item to give your ankle injuries the protection it needs, as well as the healing it requires as it is made of materials and is designed to promote the healing process. It is very adjustable to any size feet and comes with a free gel pack for extra comfortable support or to act as an ice pack.
Applying ice or something cold on the ankle injury will help to reduce the swelling. A cold compress will also prevent the ankle from swelling any further. Cellular activity within the ankle is slowed down by the cold temperature.
You can utilize an ice pack or a cold pack of vegetables, but usually, anything cold can work just as well. If you’re going to use ice, you should wrap it in a towel first; otherwise, the ice directly on the skin will be too cold and may cause more damage, even frostbite.
When you’re applying the ice, only do it for 10-20 minutes within a 2-3 hour interval, which you continue to do for up to two days. Of course, you can stop earlier if the swelling goes down or keep going if the swelling continues. You should always observe the progress of your injury so that you can adapt according to your needs.
The next step is to add compression by placing a compression bandage around the ankle. Whenever you’re not applying ice, your ankle should be wrapped up tightly, though comfortable. You want the bandage to be firm, and it should be too firm than too loose because you can always adjust the pressure later on.
Remember, pay attention to your toes and how your ankle feels so that you can know when to remove the bandage to give sufficient blood flow to the area. You want to leave the bandage on for as long as you need to control the swelling or reduce the ankle’s movement. When applying ice, you don’t always have to remove the bandage first. It depends on the material and the ice.
Finally, the last step is to elevate your affected leg. You can rest your leg on anything, such as a table, desk, or chair. What’s important is that your leg raises above your heart level. The pressure reduces from the area, which can result in reduced pain, throbbing, and also swelling.
When you go to sleep at night, find a way to elevate your leg, such as placing a comfortable pillow under the calf or heel if this doesn’t feel too painful. Elevation alone should be enough to keep swelling at bay during the night so that you can take your bandage off at this point until the next morning.
Having a first-aid kit nearby can be a useful thing, especially if things ever go south. You never know what kind of treatment you’d need after an accident, especially if you have children who play sports often.
The Delta Provision Waterproof First Aid Kit (view on Amazon) is a top choice, mostly due to it being waterproof. So, you can take it literally wherever you go. In fact, the bag can even float on water, which can be very convenient if an injury happens in the pool. It also has three separate compartments that easily folds out to give you a straightforward display and access to your first-aid supplies.
If you’re just after a first-aid bag and want to pack your own supplies, then the Jipemtra First Aid Bag (view on Amazon) is handy and straightforward. It is meant for hand-carry and light-travel with its two separate compartments on each side having multiple slots.
Ankle injuries are, unfortunately, common and can be very painful. Whether you sprained your ankle playing sports or suffered a more serious ankle injury during a work-related accident, these injuries can take some time to heal. In order to help make sure that your ankle heals quickly and properly, you may want to wrap your ankle.
The right ankle wrap can help expedite the recovery process, provide stability, help manage the swelling, and prevent you from doing further damage to your injury. However, in order to take advantage of these benefits, it is important to know the right way to wrap an ankle, which means knowing what to do and what not to do as you wrap your ankle.
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