Life is full of miracles. It is so wonderful when swimming in the sparkling pool, isn’t it? Bang! Your world almost collapses for an accident one day. The sprained ankle comes. You don’t know what to do as a swimming lover. You are keeping asking, can I continue swimming with a sprained ankle? It is OK to go swimming with a sprained ankle under some condition. It depends on the severity degree of the sprain.
Sprained ankle varies in severity. Make sure that have your ligaments been stretched or torn? If it is a minor twisting ankle, just go ahead. It will be helpful for your rehabilitation, which is no weight-bearing.
Sprain Severity Level
A sprain of an ankle usually comes after the wrong twisting and turning which is beyond the normal range of motion. This improper use of the ankle results in a sprain. Thus it is important to know what severity decree level your sprain is.
Of course, going to the doctor or physical therapist for judgment isn’t a bad idea. Knowing the sprain level will be convenient for you if you are planning to swim. Here are five factors you could check by yourself.
- How many ligaments are hurt?
- What the amount of the swelling is?
- Do you need a surgery?
- How much the tearing situations of the damaged ligaments are?
- How much the force is put on the sprained ankle?
First Level Sprained Ankle
It is the least severe level for ankle sprain. The ligament is just torn slightly and the damaged part is minor. Maybe you get swelling and a bit painful when walking, but it results in the smallest effect on your life. With a pull buoy, you can try swimming in the pool.
Second Level Sprained Ankle
It involves a bit of ligament tearing. You are not as free as the first level. The motion range will be limited. You will feel pain when walking. Going to your therapist for rehabilitation advice is necessary. In general, their advice for you is not better to swim.
Third Level Sprained Ankle
Here comes the most serious grade of an ankle sprain. There are terrible swelling and bruising. The ligaments are seriously and completely torn. You must go to the doctor or therapist for the treatment. Maybe, they will request surgery. So swimming in this level sprain ankle is of course banned. A big motion will add a new injury to the ligament.
What to do When Swimming with a Sprained Ankle？
When the sprain comes to be a minor one, as the first level, RICE principles will be helpful to heal. They are recommended by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
1. Rest Your Ankle
The general rule for rehabilitation is the more you rest, the sooner you will get recovered. Stop or the weight-bearing sports and make your ankle get a rest. Usually, you need to heal the injury in the first week. And then in the next several weeks, go back to some non-weight bearing sports, like swimming, and riding a stationary bike.
2. Ice the Ankle
It is very crucial to apply ice on the sprained part of your ankle during the first 48 hours. It can keep swelling and inflammation to a minimum effectively.
Get an ice pack. Apply it on the leg for 10 minutes, and with 10 minutes rest. Do it on and off for 3 or 4 times one day, 6 or 8 times in the 48 hours. And you could also try the therapy of soaking the injured ankle in the icy water for 10 minutes, and with 10 minutes off.
Besides the ice, compression also performs well in decreasing swelling. A compression wrap or sock will be a good choice.
4. Elevating Your Ankle
When your ankle is elevated higher than the heart, the blood will return to it. This will help resist the swelling. A pillow will be a good tool to elevate the leg.
Using a Pull Buoy When Swimming
After a week’s rest, you can go back to the pool for swimming with a pull buoy. A swimming pull buoy is a good assistant, which supports the legs. You don’t have to kick with it. Just using the arms and bilateral breathing to stroke in the water.
Using a Brace or a Tape While Swimming
You can wear a light ankle brace, which can be used in the water. With the brace, your foot gets the minimum rotation. And another option is to buy some medical waterproof tape. Then Wrap it before entering the pool. It also reduces the chance to roll.
Tips for a Swimmers with Sprained Ankle
Do Not Kick
Try your best to avoid kicking when swimming with a sprain in the foot. Breaststroke kick whip kick and any kind of kick are absolutely not good for your recovery during the first week at least. Kicking needs flection and notation of your foot. Your ankle will be inverted by kick motion. And there is more pressure put on the damaged ligament.
Your rehabilitation plan will be delayed. And you may gain some new injures. In addition, diving is not suggested as well. because it needs your foot push off the wall. This will trigger pains and make your ankle twisted significantly.
Stop Swimming at Once When It Is Painful.
Get out of the water at once as soon as you feel a bit painful or uncomfortable. If your ankle sprain doesn’t get proper rest, care, and heal, one of the bad results is a fragile ankle with chronic instability. Although, swimming is good for the rehabilitation for its amazing buoyancy to hold the weight, excess amount of stroke and improper motion trigger more damage on the ankle
Give a couple of week’s Leave for your sprained ankle, before it steps on the water freely, if it is not really for swimming.