There’s nothing more frustrating than an injury. Especially when it prevents you from hitting the slopes!
Unfortunately, one of the most common injuries among snowboarders is a sprained ankle. But, can you snowboard with a sprained ankle?
Yes, you can snowboard with a sprained ankle, but it’s important to take extra precautions to avoid making your injury worse. Consult with a doctor, use supportive equipment, take it slow, and listen to your body.
Of course this all depends on your own specific injury.
Read on to see whether you’re safe to ride…
Disclaimer: Whilst I am a qualified medical doctor, this article does not constitute individual medical advice. It has been written for entertainment purposes. Individual medical advice should be sought from your own medical practitioner.
Understanding An Ankle Sprain
Before we delve into whether or not you can snowboard with a sprained ankle, let’s discuss what it means!
A sprain is basically an injury to your ligament (the structure that connects your bones together).
In the case of a sprained ankle, the ligaments connecting the bones in your foot and ankle have been stretched or torn. This is pretty darn painful!
Symptoms will include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty walking or weight-bearing.
But the severity of a sprained ankle will vary from a mild sprain to complete ligament tears. Let’s take a look…
How Severe Is Your Sprained Ankle?
Whether or not you can safely ride on it will of course depend on the severity.
There are generally three grades of ankle sprain:
Grade 1: The mildest form of ankle sprain. The ligaments have been stretched but not torn. There may be some swelling and tenderness, but walking is usually okay.
Grade 2: This is a moderate sprain. The ligaments are unfortunately partially torn. This usually causes moderate pain, swelling, and bruising. Walking may be difficult, and the ankle may feel unstable.
Grade 3: A severe form ankle sprain. The ligaments are completely torn, resulting in severe pain, swelling, and bruising. Walking is usually not possible, and the ankle may be very unstable. In some cases, surgery may be required to repair the torn ligaments.
Remember. It’s important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have sprained your ankle, particularly if the pain and swelling are pretty severe.
Neither myself or the internet can fully exclude more serious injuries – such as fractures. Get checked out!
Can You Snowboard with a Sprained Ankle?
The short answer is yes, you can snowboard with a mild sprained ankle. However, it’s important to note that snowboarding with an injury is not without risks. If you decide to hit the slopes with a sprained ankle, you’ll need to take extra precautions to avoid making your injury worse.
You usually cannot snowboard with grade 2 or grade 3 ankle strains. The pain will be too severe and there is a high risk of provoking further injury.
Tips for Snowboarding with a Sprained Ankle
Here are some tips if you do decide to snowboard with a sprained ankle:
Consult with a Doctor: They can help you determine the severity of your injury. They’ll also provide advice on whether or not it’s safe for you to snowboard.
Take it Slow: Avoid tricks or jumps for now. You don’t want any extra stress on your ankle.
Use Ice and Heat: Ice can reduce swelling and pain after snowboarding. Using heat before snowboarding can help loosen up your ankle and reduce stiffness.
Stay Hydrated: This isn’t specific strain advice, just good practice generally.
Take Breaks: Take frequent breaks to rest your ankle and prevent overuse. Consider taking a day off if your ankle starts to feel particularly sore or swollen.
Know Your Limits: Listen to your body. Be honest. If the pain is progressively worsening, please stop riding for the day!
Stretches for Ankle Strains
I won’t go into too much detail here. But exercising and stretching before snowboarding can reduce both the risk of injury and heal existing ones.
I wrote a separate article on snowboarding stretches. Check it out!
Which Snowboard Boots Help With Ankle Strains?
The short answer – go stiff and supportive.
If your boots have too much give, your ankles will take the strain. A nice supportive boot will take the weight off your joints.
But don’t go too stiff as this can cause pain in itself.
Stiffness ratings of 6-7 are a good starting point.
My recommendation is the DC Judge (link to my full review).
Preventing Ankle Sprains While Snowboarding
If you’ve had previous strains and are keen to avoid another, here’s some pointers:
- Invest In Proper Snowboard Boots
- Warm-Up Before Hitting the Slopes
- Learn Proper Technique
- Ride Within Your Abilities
- Wear A Brace
- Stay Mobile and Strong In The Off-Season
In conclusion, it’s possible to snowboard with a sprained ankle… at your own risk.
Be sure to take extra precautions to avoid making your injury worse. Always consult a doctor before attempting to snowboard. Invest in supportive equipment. Take it slow, stay hydrated, and listen to your body.
With the right mindset and safety measures, you can still enjoy snowboarding even with a sprained ankle.
Happy riding and a speedy recovery!