How to Ski With a Sprained Ankle

How to Ski With a Sprained Ankle
A nightmare for many skiers is to go to a lot of time and trouble getting to a backcountry location or to spend a lot of money on a ski holiday only to suffer a bad ankle sprain on the first day of skiing. However, a slightly sprained ankle need not end your trip. With some basic treatment and caution, you can be back on the slopes the next day and may completely recover by the end of your trip.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Ice pack
  • Elastic bandage
  • Rigid ankle brace (recommended)
Step 1
Treat the sprain using the R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method as soon as possible after the sprain has occurred. Elevate the ankle and pack it in ice for 15 minutes every hour. Also stay off the ankle as much as you can for the rest of the day.
Step 2
Compress the ankle whenever you are not icing it, as well as overnight while you sleep. Wrap an elastic bandage from your heel over the top of the foot three times. Then wrap it from the foot to above the ankle twice. Then alternate wrapping the bandage under the heel and over the ankle until you have used all of the bandage. Secure it with two or three elastic bandage clips.
Step 3
Evaluate your sprain the next morning. A Grade 1 sprain will present you with some swelling, stiffness and tenderness, as well as discomfort when you walk. You can ski on a Grade 1 sprain. However, you should not be in serious pain when you walk--or require crutches or a cane. If walking or bearing weight is truly painful, you have a Grade 2 or 3 sprain--or perhaps a broken ankle rather than a sprain. Consult a doctor and do not attempt to ski.
Step 4
Brace the ankle to help prevent further injury. A rigid brace is best, but you can use the elastic bandage and procedure from Step 2 instead.
Step 5
Stick to beginner trails for the first post-sprain day, and work your way up as the ankle heels and you become more confident. A Grade 1 ankle sprain does not have to end your ski trip, but it is definitely going to limit your freedom of action for at least a few days.
Step 6
Re-evaluate your ankle every morning of your ski trip. It should take at least 5 to 7 days to recover to the point where you can pursue the most challenging trails in the ski area, but barring further injury you should be able to go back to intermediate trails after 2 or 3 days.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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