Should I wear an ankle brace to bed?
An ankle brace is typically used either to treat OR prevent an injury, so the answer depends on which reason you’re using one.
It also depends on the type of sprain injury you’re dealing with.
Below, we’ll go over the most common ankle injuries that may require wearing a brace to bed.
Don’t forget to also check our review on the best ankle brace for pronation!
Should I Wear an Ankle Brace to Bed?
As I said above, ankle braces serve different purposes, including both stabilizing an injured foot or preventing an injury in the first place.
So, lets go over each type of sprain and discuss whether you should wear a brace to bed with it.
Different Grades of Ankle Sprain
A sprain has three grades, all of which vary based on severity (minor pain, moderate pain, and severe pain). Let’s get into it!
It’s the least severe case. Some minor swelling is to be expected, as your body readies itself for the worst.
During Grade 1 mild sprains, the ankle has been stretched beyond its normal range of motion.
Even if the ligament hasn’t been torn, this can still do damage, and as such, it’s still recommended that you lessen movement from your normal activities for a couple of days.
Your doctor may recommend wearing a brace to bed with a grade 1 sprain, but it’s not always necessary.
Grade 2 moderate sprain is defined as a partial tear in one of the ligaments in the ankle. These ankle sprains are very prevalent, particularly when you turn your ankle outwards.
For more than a week, you may have a difficult time walking without a brace on your ankle.
Your doctor is much more likely to recommend a brace even at night for this type of sprain, especially if you frequently get out of bed to use the bathroom.
Grade 3 severe sprains are described as a complete tear of the ligament. It is common to hear a popping sound at this grade.
It is important to protect your torn ligament with an ankle splint as soon as possible and to seek medical attention for an immediate treatment plan.
At grade 3 sprain, you may experience the following:
- Immediate and severe swelling was observed
- Popping sound at your ankle bones
- Losing of balance and stability
- Severe and pervasive pain
Again, you’ll most likely have to wear your brace to bed to prevent further injury when you get up to use the bathroom.
Advantages of Wearing Ankle Brace Overnight
Physical therapists recommended that you still brace your ankle at night. However, you should loosen the belt on the sprained ankle to avoid tight placement that can result in swelling.
Here are three good reasons why you still need to brace your ankle in bed:
- To secure your ankle movements
- To reduce ankle swelling
- To prevent future injuries
Tips for Sleeping with an Ankle Brace
It is common for people who have sprained ankles to lose full mobility function as the body requires enough recovery time. Here are a few tips for sleeping with an ankle brace.
#1 Choose Your Appropriate Fit (and is adjustable)
Make certain that you have an ankle brace fit and is adjustable. You should take measurements of your ankle and get a splint that fits properly.
The majority of people attempt to purchase their braces based on the size of their feet, however, the size of their ankles and the length of their shoes are two completely distinct measurements.
Wearing an ankle brace with a compression clip design will provide you with the most support and comfort possible.
It is important to make sure that your adjustable ankle brace straps are snug, but not so tight that the clip becomes a hindrance to your blood flow.
After you have tightened the straps, you should be able to insert one or two fingers inside the splint without difficulty.
While sleeping, you may need to change the tension of your strap so that it is comfortable and well-supported throughout the night.
Check: Ankle Brace Won’t Fit in Shoe: How to Wear Correctly
#2 Sleep in Optimum Condition and Cool Temperature
You should sleep at the coldest temperature you can handle. Many people have overlooked doing this as a part of their ankle recovery time.
Keep in mind that it is best to keep a cool temperature to avoid having your ankle warm and put in uncomfortable condition while you are sleeping.
If possible, sleep with the ankle that is attached to the device out from the blankets. The affected foot that is wearing the ankle brace will be much cooler and more comfortable by doing this.
While in terms of reducing skin irritation, you may also try applying talcum powder to your foot before putting the brace.
Ensure that you have a pillow nearby so that you can lift your wounded ankle when you are sleeping.
The elevation helps to reduce swelling even more, and it may also help to lessen some of the discomforts you are experiencing at night.
#3 Sprained Ankle Rehabilitation
As per the degree of your sprained ankle, this could occur at a varying time for every person experiencing pain.
So whether you are sleeping or not, you should always wear your ankle brace until your recovery period ends.
Once the swelling has subsided and you have a clear grasp of the degrees of ankle sprain, you can begin planning an ankle rehabilitation program.
Initial recommendations include practicing weightless movements with the ankle until you are more comfortable moving it.
Simple exercises can strengthen the ligament and reduce the amount of time it takes to recover.
Your recovery stage is critical because it will help you become more resistant to future injuries and ensure your safe return to activity.
Choose the best ankle brace that provides external support as well as comfortability during exercise performance or in heavy activities like sports and weight-bearing tasks.
Is it bad to wear an ankle brace all the time?
Yes and No. You should wear an ankle brace all the time until the recovery period ends as prescribed by a medical professional. However, overuse of an ankle brace can weaken your ankle stability and muscle strength.
Do I wear ankle brace over or under sock?
It is recommended to wear it under the sock for maximum compression, heat retention, support, and stability.
Since the brace provides support, most medical practitioners recommend utilizing one if you have a sprained ankle.
While an ankle brace may help prevent ankle injuries, it does not promise total success or prevention. A smart choice can be made when consulting with your health care professional about whether or not to use an ankle brace.
- “Brace for It: When to Use an Ankle Brace.” 2017. Mayo Clinic Health System. 2017. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/brace-for-it-when-to-use-an-ankle-brace#:~:text=For%20maximum%20effectiveness%2C%20ankle%20braces%20should%20fit%20comfortably,consider%20rehabilitation%20as%20part%20of%20your%20treatment%20plan..
- “Fit and Sizing | How to Wear Your Ankle Brace | Ankle Braces for Performance, Prevention & Injuries | Ultra Ankle.” 2018. Ankle Braces for Performance, Prevention & Injuries | Ultra Ankle. December 19, 2018. https://www.ultraankle.com/resources/customer-support/fit-and-sizing/.
- “Varying Degrees of Ankle Sprains.” 2021. Rush.edu. 2021. https://www.rush.edu/news/varying-degrees-ankle-sprains.
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