Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sprained Ankles

Sprained ankles remain one of the most common wilderness injuiries--and if you're surprised, you haven't been paying close attention. A recent study strongly suggests that severely sprained ankles recover more quickly when the ankle is completely immobilized in a rigid cast that keeps the ankle in the position of function--for a short time. The study does not specific exactly what a "short time" is, but you can read more about it at In the meantime, we can rest assured that properly applied elastic wraps fall far short of immobilization. Elastic wraps, however, are far better than nothing. And if you've mastered, or at least partially mastered, the art of "immobilizing" a sprained ankle with athletic tape, we can extrapolate and say that a great ankle-taping job, a job often performed by athletic trainers and less often by Wilderness First Responders and WEMTs, will speed healing and promote usefulness far better than an elastic wrap. Sprained ankles are going to remain common for a long time, but we can add even more weight to the skill of taping a sprained ankle in the wilderness.

1 comment:

Michael Bresnahan said...

Good post, I was out over Labor day with my Boy Scout Troop backpacking in the Porcupine Mountains in the U.P. of Michigan and we had one boy fall and twisted his ankle; we immobilized it pretty well but he still had 1/2 mile to make it to camp; good news was after dinner and a good ankle soak in the river he was 100%. But it makes you think and look at the supplies you carry with you