Sprained ankles can be one of the more frustrating injuries to sustain. Though they do not typically pose a serious medical issue, they can render you immobilized for several days or even weeks at a time. You may need to use crutches or a wheelchair just to get from point A to point B. Additionally, many people who want something extra to help a sprained ankle recover faster turn to compression socks.
That said, you should always consult your doctor before trying compression socks or similar garments to treat an injured ankle. While it is unlikely that compression socks would worsen your injury, they could make you feel as though you are healing faster. This, in turn, could result in you trying to use your swollen ankle too soon, resulting in pain, discomfort, and potentially even complications to the injured area. So, always talk to your doctor first to see if compression socks are the best solution for your sprained ankle.
Even if you have already talked about the possibility of compression socks with your doctor, you may still have questions. For example, what kind of ankle sprain are you experiencing? Are compression socks good for sprained ankles? Can you wear a compression sock at night with a rolled or sprained ankle? How long should you use compression socks for your ankle injury?
In today’s guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s look at the different types of sprained ankles:
Types Of Ankle Sprains
Injured ankles can be categorized and defined in multiple ways, which can make it a little confusing to determine the exact type of ankle sprain you are experiencing. First, it is important to note that there are two primary types of ankle sprains: eversion and inversion. An eversion ankle sprain occurs when your ankle rolls outwards, causing damage to the deltoid ligament. Alternatively, an inversion ankle sprain happens when your ankle rolls inward and injures the ligaments that help prevent your ankle from rolling inward toward the arch of the foot.
But it doesn’t stop there. Your doctor will also look at exactly where you are experiencing pain after a rolled ankle to determine the specific type of sprained ankle. Here are the three most common types:
- Lateral ankle sprains - This is essentially another way to refer to inversion ankle sprains. These are by far the most common type of ankle sprain, as it is easy for the ankle to roll inward, potentially leading to a torn ligament.
- Medial ankle sprains - This is another way to refer to eversion ankle sprains. Medial sprains are less common but can cause greater damage to the ligaments that prevent your foot from rolling outward.
- High ankle sprains - This type of sprain is distinct from both eversion and inversion sprains. High ankle sprains occur when you injure the ligaments located at the top of the ankle bone.
Finally, once the location of the hurt ankle has been determined, your doctor will likely categorize the type of sprained ankle based on its severity (i.e. how much damage has been done to the ligament). There are three standard categorizations:
- Grade 1 (Mild) - With a Grade 1 injured ankled, you can expect stretched fibers of the ligaments or potentially a very small tear to one or more ligaments. This type of sprained ankle can usually be treated in a matter of days with rest, pain medication, and potentially compression wraps or garments.
- Grade 2 (Moderate) - A Grade 2 sprained ankle indicates that there is definitely a tear in the ligament, but the ligament still has fibers keeping it in one piece. These injuries typically take longer to recover because the ligament needs to rebuild more.
- Grade 3 (Severe) - Grade 3 sprained ankles refer to complete tears of a ligament. This means that the ligament has been completely torn into separate pieces. This is the most severe kind of sprained ankle and, consequently, may even require surgery or more invasive treatment options. Like a Grade 2, a Grade 3 may take several weeks or even a few months to completely heal.
Are Compression Socks Good For Sprained Ankles?
The short answer is that compression socks can be good for sprained ankles. However, you will definitely need to consult your doctor before pursuing a specific treatment plan, with or without compression socks. If you and your doctor determine that compression socks are the best solution for your condition, Compression Health offers the best products to get you back on your feet as soon as possible.
Compression socks work by applying consistent pressure to the foot, ankle, and leg. Not only can this reduce the risk of rolling your ankle again, but it also helps increase blood flow to speed up recovery, reduce inflammation, and ease any pain. Consequently, compression socks are a very good option for sprained ankles, as long as your doctor believes that they could be helpful for your specific condition.
Compression socks also offer varying degrees of pressure based on your needs. Light socks provide less pressure, while firm and extra firm socks provide the highest degrees of pressure. If your doctor believes that compression socks could help you recover faster and more comfortably, then you will need to find out which compression level is right for you.
Just remember: wearing a compression sock might make your ankle feel a lot better, but it will not immediately heal damaged or torn ligaments. In other words, you should not try to walk on a sprained ankle just because you have the support of compression socks, especially if you are early in the recovery process. Instead, treat compression socks like any other treatment solution; they can help you recover and feel better, but they cannot completely protect you from exacerbating your injury.
Wearing Compression Socks At Night With A Sprained Ankle
The amount of time you can or should wear compression socks generally depends on the compression level. For example, light compression socks that apply low amounts of pressure can generally be worn for multiple days in a row without any issues. However, as the compression level increases, the amount of time you should wear them continuously decreases. For instance, it is not recommended that you wear firm or extra firm compression socks (20 mmHg or higher) for more than 8-12 hours at a time.
Fortunately, this means that you can wear most compression socks during sleep to help ensure that your ankle stays supported throughout the night. You are far less likely to reinjure your foot while sleeping if you are wearing a compression sock. Just be aware of the compression level and how long you are wearing your garment. If you end up wearing high compression level socks for too long, it could end up reducing circulation to the area, causing numbness and slowing the recovery process.
Best Compression Socks For An Ankle Injury
If you have a sprained or injured ankle and your doctor recommends compression socks as part of your treatment plan, we can direct you to the best products to meet your needs. Here is a list of some of the top brands that produce compression socks for ankle injuries:
We hope you found this guide on compression socks for sprained ankles both useful and informative! Are you currently in the market for compression socks or other compression wear? If so, be sure to reach out to Compression Health today!