Boots for Sprained / Broken Ankle

BraceAbility offers a number of walking boots for sprained or fractured ankle care since both are relatively common injuries. You can find these sprained/broken ankle boots in numerous styles and heights, as the location, severity, and stability of one’s injury will dictate treatment and medical ankle boot selection. 

Causes and Symptoms of Ankle Sprains and Fractures

Generally speaking, both ankle sprains and fractures occur when an ankle is forced out of its normal position, which can overstretch or tear its supporting ligaments and/or break one or several of the bones that make up the ankle.

This might occur if the ankle is twisted, rotated or rolled, or if the ankle is subject to trauma, as might be the case in a car accident.

Whether it is a break or sprain, the symptoms typically consist of pain (especially with weight bearing… if bearing weight is even possible), swelling, the bruising and limited range of motion. If a break shifts the ankle joint out of position, a visible deformity may be evident. An audible pop may be heard if the ankle is sprained.

Treating a Sprained Ankle with a Walking Boot

How does a sprained ankle occur? This type of injury, which is one of the most common orthopedic injuries worldwide, happens when the ankle is suddenly tweaked or twisted sideways. Ankle sprains commonly occur during sporting events and frequently happen to people who play sports (such as volleyball, basketball, and similar sports) where a lot of jumping, running, or pivoting is done. Ankle sprains, though, can also happen to people who engage in more routine and everyday tasks.

Ankle sprains are classified into three grades depending on how severe the injury is: Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III.

Grade I
  • Grade I sprains only involve stretching of the ligament, without any tears, and the patient experiences symptoms that include swelling and pain. Most grade 1 sprain patients, however, are able to walk on their own without the help of a walking boot for a broken ankle.
Grade II
  • In the case of a grade II sprain, though, partial ligament tearing is often involved,  and there is partial bruising. Those suffering from this type of sprain are able to walk using a walking boot or cam boot walker. For this type of injury, a high-top walking boot is preferred.
Grade III
  • Lastly, a grade III sprain is the most severe and usually involves a full tear of the ligaments. Severe pain in the injured ankle is experienced, and walking can be difficult—even when wearing a sprained ankle boot.

A comfortable sprained ankle walking boot can help soothe the pain caused by ankle sprains. An ankle walking boot helps immobilize the injured area while still helping to provide just enough range of motion needed to stretch the injured ligaments in the ankle joint and expediting the healing process.

In many cases, following the steps of RICE—rest, ice, compress, elevate—is sufficient for treating a sprained ankle.

But in some cases where a sprain leaves a joint unstable, wearing a cast or sprained ankle walking boot that protects the joint for a period of time may be necessary so that it can heal properly. Crutches may be used for a brief period to reduce pain and stress on the joint.

One affordable sprained ankle boot option is BraceAbility’s stress fracture walking boot, which comes with a deluxe foam liner for user comfort and metal reinforced uprights for secure support. This is one of our most popular boots for an ankle sprain.

For even more comfort, ordering BraceAbility’s sock liner for CAM walker boots may be considered. The single sock offers a thick layer of protection against an ankle fracture or sprain boot, but the moisture-wicking, breathable fabric is comfortable against the skin. This circulation-enhancing sock can work with either a low or high-top ankle boot for sprains.

Once the swelling has gone down, physical therapy may be necessary to return the leg and ankle to their pre-injury level of function.

When gradually returning to athletic activity, a flexible ankle brace or sleeve can add a layer of protection against re-injury.

Role of a Broken Ankle Boot in Treatment for Such Injuries

Generally speaking, the more bones that are broken in an ankle, the more likely the ankle is to be unstable. Whether a walking boot should be worn for broken ankle care or if surgery is needed largely depends upon the stability of an ankle and where the break occurs.

If a broken bone remains in place or has shifted marginally, a doctor might recommend the use of a high-top shoe, a short cast or an ankle fracture boot to stabilize the ankle. Such items offer some extra support and protection to the ankle as it heals. In some cases, a doctor may also recommend a period of no or limited weight bearing for a stable ankle fracture.

This popular short air medical boot for a broken ankle or foot has inflation support and compression that can be adjusted.

We also offer a tall air boot for sprained or broken ankles. This orthopedic boot for broken ankles has a rocker-style bottom and a low-profile heel that encourages a more natural gait.

If the break is an unstable one, surgery to move the bone fragment(s) back into position and fix them in place via screws, plates, etc. will likely be necessary. It usually takes at least six weeks for broken bones to heal and that recovery period will likely be extended if ligaments and tendons are also damaged.

After a period of immobilization, a medical professional may recommend using an ankle walker boot when transitioning back to normal activity.

Another critical component of recovering from an ankle break is physical therapy to rehabilitate the ankle and leg to their former level of function. A removable ankle fracture boot makes it much easier to perform the necessary stretches and exercises than if one was confined to a cast for a broken ankle.

When getting back into sports, an ankle brace may be needed for added support. 

Using a Walking Boot to Treat Ankle Fractures

A fracture of the ankle happens when there is a break in one or several of the ankle bones. Treating a broken ankle, however, is not as simple as you think because it is usually determined by the stability of the ankle joint. For example, broken ankles that are relatively stable may be treated similarly to sprains. All other types of ankle fractures, however, usually need surgery rather than a walker boot. An operation for a fractured ankle usually involves permanently implanting a metal hardware that will help hold the ankle bones in place during the healing process.

Regardless of the severity of the broken ankle, though, a walking boot is usually used for treatment. In cases of minor ankle fractures, a high-top walking boot may be enough to serve as a splint as well as provide stabilization and to protect the ankle while the natural healing process takes its course. A short walking boot or low top walking boot may be used, depending on the type of ankle fracture. A good-quality walking boot also provides the user with a full range of motion in the ankle, thus allowing mobility while waiting for the ankle to heal fully.

For severe fractures requiring an operation, high-top walking boots can serve as post-operative walking boots, helping the patient in the rehabilitation of the ankle. A walker boot serves as a replacement for the splint or cast worn after surgery.

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