Can You Walk with an Ankle Splint?

Reviewed on 4/16/2021

An ankle splint is used to support the foot and ankle if you have a sprain, fracture, or dislocation. Your ability to walk with an ankle splint depends on your injury and your doctor's recommendations.
An ankle splint is used to support the foot and ankle if you have a sprain, fracture, or dislocation. Your ability to walk with an ankle splint depends on your injury and your doctor's recommendations.

Ankle splints may be used for sprains, fractures, and dislocations. You may be able to walk with an ankle splint, but often not right away.

After injuries such as sprains, fractures, and dislocations occur, they usually need time to heal before weight-bearing. Walking or weight bearing too soon may slow healing or cause further damage. 

It is important to have a diagnosis of your injury and to talk to your doctor to find out when you can walk with an ankle splint. 

What Is an Ankle Splint, and What Is It Used For?

An ankle splint is a type of immobilization for the ankle that is more flexible than a cast and can allow room for swelling. Splints help to immobilize and protect the injured ankle, aid in healing, and lessen pain.

An ankle splint is used to treat musculoskeletal system abnormalities in the ankle, especially when swelling is expected.

Ankle splinting may be used:

  • For temporary immobilization of sprains, fractures, reduced dislocations, severe soft tissue injuries, and post-laceration repairs
  • To control pain and spasm
  • To decrease swelling
  • To prevent further soft-tissue or neurovascular injuries associated with contusions, sprains, lacerations, fractures, dislocations, or painful joints due to inflammatory disorders

What Are Complications of Using an Ankle Splint?

Splints are generally recommended for short-term use to maximize their benefits while avoiding complications. Complications of excessive immobilization from continuous use of a splint may include: 

  • Chronic pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Complex regional pain syndrome

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Reviewed on 4/16/2021
References
https://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/0901/p491.html