A lot of received wisdom floats around in groups of athletes. Most of us have been around enough to see the inside of the doctor’s office, usually more than once. Athletes in groups will trade war stories and tips. Some of these tips are fine, some are partly true but not best practice, and some are just plain inaccurate. Let’s take a look at some of the ankle injury advice that falls in the third category.
First, just because you can move your foot after an injury, that does not mean it isn’t broken. You could have a hairline fracture, which feels more like a sprain than a broken bone. Any time your ankle hurts enough that you can’t put pressure on it, go get an X-ray.
While we’re at it, don’t underestimate a sprain. In sports, even a minor injury can take a turn for the worse, probably too fast to be stopped. A sprain is a serious injury, and failing to provide aftercare could cause permanent loss of performance.
Finally, one of the most prevalent myths we have seen is that you should submerge your freshly hurt ankle in warm water. We really have no idea where this one came from, or why it still persists. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are still the best first aid for an ankle or foot injury. The acronym is RICE, not WARM.