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How to Ski With a Sprained Ankle

By Steve Silverman

You've been looking forward to your ski trip for the last two weeks. You get to the mountain and you are prepared for five days of skiing. The mountains have snow, the weather is crisp and cold without being brutal and the winds are calm. In other words, you have almost perfect conditions. However, on your second trip down the slope, you fall and sprain your ankle. Now what do you do?

Get yourself off the mountain immediately and get yourself checked out. You know your ankle hurts and by rolling over it, you may have done some significant damage. You have to get it checked out. The ski resort may have a doctor on location to check your ankle. The doctor may decide you need an X-ray. If the ankle is sprained and not broken, you will need to ice the ankle and keep it elevated. When you go to sleep, put the injured ankle on top of two pillows. This will help circulation. Forget about skiing the rest of the day. You are trying to prepare for the rest of the week.

Wrap your ankle with an Ace bandage the next morning as you prepare to go skiing. Your ankle will be sore, so you may need to take over-the-counter painkillers to help you get ready for skiing. By wrapping the ankle, you will give it extra support. Since you will be putting your foot and ankle in a hard, plastic ski boot, you will need some foam padding to go outside of the ankle in order to make the experience at least somewhat enjoyable.

Get back out on the mountain once you have your boots and skis on. You will notice that you don't have much flexibility with your ankle. That's not because of the ankle sprain. That's the nature of the ski boot. Once you have the boot on with the proper wrap and padding, you should think about your skiing and not your injury.

Take a break after an hour or two on the first day of skiing after suffering a sprained ankle. If you have a chance to get back to your room and ice the area again, that's advisable. Many people are hesitant to do this because they will find it difficult to put the ski boot back on after taking it off. However, if you can treat your ankle with ice for about an hour midway through your day, you will be helping yourself enjoy your skiing vacation that much more.

Treat your ankle with ice and massage after skiing. Put an ice pack on your ankle for 15 minutes of every hour. This will reduce swelling after a full day of skiing. After two to four hours of this, you may also want to mix in a heating pad for 15 minutes of every other hour. A heating pad will help promote circulation and healing.

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