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Can You Sleep With an Ankle Brace on?
Ankle injuries are no fun, that’s for sure. I know.
Depending on the severity, they can keep you from doing the things you love – like playing sports or going for a run.
But even if your ankle injury is mild, it can still be painful and annoying. And one of the best ways to deal with an injured ankle is to wear an ankle brace.
But can you sleep with an ankle brace on?
Here are some things to consider before you decide:
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What are the benefits of sleeping with an ankle brace?
1. Helps with pain and swelling
An ankle brace helps to support and stabilize the ankle by limiting certain motions. It does this by providing external support and compression to reduce swelling, decrease pain, and improve blood flow. For example, an ankle brace can help athletes to prevent future ankle injuries by providing extra stability during physical activity. It can also be helpful for those recovering from a sprained ankle. Wearing an ankle brace can help reduce the pressure on the recovering ankle, allowing for a more sustainable return to activity.
2. Helps you recover faster from an ankle injury
Sleeping with an ankle brace is beneficial for those recovering from an ankle injury, as it helps the healing process by providing stability and compression. By keeping the ankle in a neutral position and applying compression, ankle braces reduce inflammation and pain. By wearing a brace while sleeping, the ankle can rest while simultaneously being supported and protected. This helps reduce the risk of re-injury and can help speed up recovery time.
3. Prevents re-injury and instability of the ankle
Wearing an ankle brace can help to decrease the pressure on the recovering ankle and reduce the likelihood of re-injury. An ankle brace also helps to limit certain motions of the foot and helps to maintain a neutral position, which reduces the risk of sudden twisting or rolling of the ankle. An ankle brace can also reduce pain if you have chronic ankle issues, such as osteoarthritis, by providing compression and heat to the bones.
What are the risks of sleeping with an ankle brace?
1. Decreased Comfort and Quality of Sleep
Sleeping with an ankle brace can cause disruptions in comfort and quality of sleep. The added pressure and restriction of the brace can make it difficult to move the joint and may cause pain in the affected area, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Additionally, the brace can shift during the night, leading to further disruptions in comfort and quality of sleep as the joint is not able to move freely and the brace could interfere with blood flow. With a comfortable antimicrobial memory foam mattress, however, users can maintain comfort and support as the mattress will cradle the body throughout the night, while allowing the joint to remain elevated to reduce swelling and minimize movement.
2. Risk of Developing Skin Irritation
The risks of developing skin irritation from sleeping with an ankle brace include:
- Sweat accumulation: The brace may absorb sweat, leading to uncomfortable skin irritation.
- Allergy reactions: The materials used in the brace may cause allergies, leading to skin irritation.
- Poor fit: If the brace doesn’t fit properly, it may create friction on the skin and cause irritation.
- Odor: The brace may generate bad smells, leading to discomfort and possible skin irritation.
- Humidity: The brace may trap sweat and humidity, resulting in skin irritation.
- Inadequate breathability: The brace may not provide enough breathability for the skin, leading to irritation.
3. Difficulty Moving Around While Sleeping
The difficulties of moving around while sleeping with an ankle brace include increased pain, difficulty with mobility, and swelling. Additionally, if the brace is too tight, it could also restrict blood flow, which can lead to added discomfort and increased inflammation. The best and most comfortable way to sleep with an ankle brace is to rest the joint as much as possible for the first 48 hours and lay flat on your back with the affected joint elevated.
4. Potential Stiffening of the Ankle
The risks of sleeping with an ankle brace include reduced range of motion, decreased muscle strength, reduced blood flow, and increased swelling.
Sleeping with an ankle brace can lead to decreased mobility, pressure sores, and skin irritation. It can also cause the ligaments of the ankle to become weaker, leading to an increased risk of sprains and strains.
5. Increased Risk of Developing a Hallux Valgus
Sleeping with an ankle brace can increase the risk of developing a hallux valgus, a bony bump on the side of the big toe joint. This is due to the band across the top of the ankle brace compressing the tissue in the upper foot and creating excessive pressure on the big toe joint. This pressure can cause the joint to become misaligned and form a bunion. To prevent this from happening, it is best to take off the ankle brace before going to sleep or only wear it for a few hours at a time.
6. Decreased Circulation and Increased Swelling
The risks of sleeping with an ankle brace include decreased blood circulation, decreased muscle warmth, and a decrease in the ability of the ankle to move freely. Additionally, you may experience increased swelling, increased pain, decreased range of motion, and increased risk of skin irritation. It is important to adjust the ankle brace to the appropriate level of tightness so that it provides the necessary amount of support and compression but does not cut off blood circulation.
7. Risk of Developing a Constriction Band Syndrome
The risk of developing a constriction band syndrome when sleeping with compression bandage can cause an over-reliance on extra support, weaken the ankle muscles, and prevent complete sprain prevention. Furthermore, it can be uncomfortable and disrupt sleep quality due to the added pressure on the injured ankle. It is important to remove the compression bandage before going to sleep to allow for adequate blood flow and healing.
What are the 6 things to consider when trying to sleep with an ankle brace?
1. Type of Ankle Brace
The main difference between a flat and a curved ankle brace is the shape and design of the brace. Flat ankle braces are typically more flexible and lightweight and offer minimal support, while a curved ankle brace is more rigid and often has additional straps or stabilizers for added support and protection. Flat ankle braces are often worn during light physical activity such as walking or jogging, while a curved ankle brace is typically used for higher intensity activities such as sports, where the risk of an inversion injury is greater. Additionally, many curved ankle braces are designed with a reinforced side, which helps to limit lateral motion and provide more stability and protection. Flat ankle braces are also designed with more breathability and comfort, as they are less bulky and conform to the ankle’s contours better than curved braces.
When trying to find comfort with an ankle brace, there are several factors to consider such as product use, body part, support level, properties, performance zone category, product color, size and product type. Each of these factors can affect the comfort level of the brace.
For example, if you suffer from general soreness in the ankle, a mild-level brace can provide the necessary support to prevent further injury and reduce discomfort. On the other hand, if you have a sprained ankle, a moderate-level brace can provide additional stability and help control discomfort during the healing process.
You also can sleep with a brace on your knee that is a bit easier to do.
3. Straps and Closure Systems
When trying to sleep with an ankle brace, it is important to consider the type of straps and closure systems used. The straps should be adjustable so that you can customize the fit to your needs. Additionally, you should look for straps that are made of soft and comfortable materials such as cotton and nylon, with strong stabilizing straps that form a complete figure-eight to protect and support the ankle. Closure systems should be secure, allowing you to easily adjust the tightness of the brace while providing personalized support.
When choosing a size for an ankle brace, it is important to consider both the ankle circumference and the body part for which the brace is intended.
Similarly, if the brace is intended for the foot, then the one size fits most option should fit up to an 11″ foot arch circumference. Additionally, it is important to take into consideration the support level of the brace, as Mild supports are designed for general soreness, while Moderate and Firm supports are intended for sprains and strains, tendonitis, and/or recovery.
5. Nighttime Wear
What are the considerations for nighttime wear of an ankle brace?
- Consider your sleeping habits: If you are a sound sleeper who doesn’t move an inch, then it may not be necessary to wear an ankle brace at night.
- Compromise: Wear a light compression during the night, and keep your brace on during the day while you’re active.
- Let your body rest: Take off the brace and let your body recover during sleep.
6. Side Stabilizers
Side stabilizers are straps designed to provide extra support and stability to the sides of the ankle. These straps help to limit lateral motion, which can cause pain and discomfort from conditions such as plantar fasciitis. When sleeping with an ankle brace, the side stabilizers are particularly important, as they help to keep the ankle secure and provide additional stability. This can help prevent potential further injury, especially if the patient is prone to rolling in their sleep.
How to make sleeping with an ankle brace more comfortable?
Step 1: Choose the right fit (and it’s adjustable)
When choosing a fit for sleeping with an ankle brace, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, the size of the brace should be appropriate for the size of your ankle and the length of your shoes. Make sure the ankle brace is adjustable so that you can get a snug fit that’s not too tight. Secondly, compression clips can provide the most support and comfort. Finally, the tension of the straps should be adjusted before sleeping so that it’s comfortable and well-supported throughout the night. It is also important to consider the type of ankle brace, as some are designed with a multi-strap system which can offer beneficial compression, whereas others may have only one strap.
Step 2: Sleep in optimum condition and cool temperature
How can you sleep in optimum condition and cool temperature when wearing an ankle brace? [Step-by-step instructions and example]
- Keep the temperature in the room cool. Many people overlook this when trying to recover from an ankle injury.
- Try to keep the affected foot and ankle out of the blankets when the blanket hurts your feet
- Apply talcum powder to the foot before putting the brace on.
- Invest in an antimicrobial memory foam mattress.
- If possible, lay flat on your back with the affected joint elevated.
Step 5: Apply Arnica lotion
Applying Arnica lotion before putting on an ankle brace can help make sleeping with it more comfortable. Arnica is a natural herb that has anti-inflammatory properties. When applied to the skin in a diluted lotion, it can help reduce the swelling and pain associated with a sprained ankle. Applying the lotion before wearing the brace can help relieve the discomfort of a tight fitting ankle brace, and make it easier to sleep with.
Step 6: Wear a night splint if necessary
Wearing a night splint when sleeping with an ankle brace is essential for those who have conditions such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. Night splints are designed to provide support and stabilization of the foot in a neutral position while you sleep. This helps to reduce inflammation, maintain flexibility, and strengthen the muscles and tendons in the foot. Additionally, the right size night splint can help prevent rubbing and discomfort.
Step 7: Keep your foot elevated
Elevating your foot when sleeping with an ankle brace can make it more comfortable because it helps to reduce swelling and can also lessen discomforts. When lying down, placing a few pillows beneath your foot and keeping the ankle elevated above heart height can help to provide relief and increased comfort.
Step 8: Don’t overdo it with the RICE approach
The RICE approach is one of the most well-known and effective methods of treating ankle sprains, and consists of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
- Resting the ankle is important in the initial stages of recovery in order to reduce the risk of further damage.
- Applying ice to the ankle can help reduce inflammation and provide joint pain relief.
- Compression, either with an elastic wrap, soft strapping, or an ankle brace, helps provide support to the joint and decreases swelling.
- Elevating the ankle above the height of the heart helps to reduce swelling and discomfort.
Step 9: Keep an eye on the signals your body is giving you
How can you monitor the signals your body is sending you when sleeping with an ankle brace?
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach or on your side, as this can cause the brace to move out of place and put extra strain on your ankle.
- When you first go to bed, take a few moments to check in with your body. Use this time to check for any areas of tenderness or pain in your ankle, as well as any other changes you may beexperiencing.
- During the night, periodically check in with your body and assess how you’re feeling. If you notice any areas of discomfort, use your hands to gently massage around the area or adjust the brace if necessary.
What types of ankle braces are available?
Ankle braces come in a variety of types, each providing different levels of support and protection. The most popular types of ankle braces are Aircast, Active Ankle T2, Light Weight Ankle Sleeves, Stirrup Ankle Braces, and Hybrid Ankle Braces.
Is it safe to wear an ankle brace overnight?
For mild injuries, most experts agree that it is not necessary to wear an ankle brace to bed, as the risk of further injury is minimal. However, if the injury is moderate or severe, it is recommended to wear a light compression brace during the night to support the ankle and help in recovery.
How do you know if an ankle brace is the right fit for you?
How do you know if an ankle brace is the right fit for you?
- Take measurements of your ankle and find a splint that fits properly. The size of the foot and the size of the ankle are two different measurements, so make sure to get the correct fit for your ankle.
- If you are buying a compression clip design ankle brace, make sure to adjust the straps to where they are snug, but not too tight that it restricts your blood flow. You should be able to insert one or two fingers inside the brace with ease.
- Lastly, make sure that you are purchasing the correct type of ankle brace for your specific needs.
Are there any alternatives to wearing an ankle brace?
For those looking for a more natural approach to ankle support and stability, physical therapy and exercises may be the solution. Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles and tendons that support the ankle, improving overall balance and stability. Additionally, exercises such as calf raises, balance exercises, and toe raises can help increase ankle strength and balance.
How can I stop ankle pain at night?
- Stretch your legs – Before getting into bed, take a few minutes to stretch your quads and calf muscles to reduce the tightness that can lead to ankle pain.
- Roll your arches – Place a tennis ball or other small ball under the arch of your foot and roll it from the ball of your foot to your heel. Focus on the painful spots and massage them to increase blood flow and loosen your tendons.
- Use a brace – Use a brace to secure your ankle movements and reduce swelling. Make sure to loosen the belt on the brace to avoid tight placement that can result in swelling.
- Elevate the affected ankle – Lay flat on your back with the affected joint elevated to avoid added pressure on the sprained ankle, reduce swelling, and minimize movement of the joint.
- Keep it cool – Keep the temperature of your bedroom cool to avoid having your ankle warm and in an uncomfortable condition while you are sleeping.
- Talcum powder – Apply talcum powder to your foot before putting on the brace to reduce skin irritation.
How long should you keep an ankle brace on?
One must consider the type of brace and the purpose for which it is being used. For instance, if the ankle brace is being used to prevent injury during sports, it should be worn during the activity only. For those with a history of ankle sprains, the brace should be worn during the sport, but taken off afterwards to avoid over-reliance.
For those with a recent sprain, the brace may need to be worn for a few days to a few weeks, depending on the severity of the sprain. For those with a major injury, such as a ligament tear, the brace may need to be worn for several weeks until the injury heals.
How long should the compression bandage be worn?
If you have a sprained ankle, your doctor may recommend that you wear a compression bandage for 24 to 36 hours. Make sure to apply the bandage snugly, but not too tightly, and check that the bandage is not causing any numbness or discoloration of the skin. At night, remove the bandage to allow for improved circulation and healing overnight.
Can you sleep with ankle brace?
Yes, you can sleep with an ankle brace. It is not necessary to do so in most circumstances, as you are not putting any strain on the ankle while you are resting. However, if you are concerned about the risk of knocking it in the night, it may be beneficial to wear a light ankle wrap to bed. This will provide support and protection for the ankle, while also allowing it to ‘breathe’ during the night. Additionally, elevating the foot with a pillow can help reduce swelling and discomfort.