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Grade 3 ankle sprain

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  • Grade 3 ankle sprain

    Had a nasty fall at a show on Saturday, now have a nasty sprain. Really gross, even the jump crew heard my ankle crack. I have a cast and crutches, and can't put any weight on it.

    Of course, I am impatient to ride again and was wondering if anyone else has experienced this type of sprain (the most severe kind). I would love to hear about your experience, recovery time, time it took to get back riding, words of wisdom, etc. etc etc.

    I am NOT happy about this. I had some really nice summer shows coming up AND I was supposed to try a horse today. Pity party please??

  • #2
    I've ridden with the exact type injury you are describing...here's the catch....you have to ride without stirrups
    I hurt my left ankle so along with riding stirrup-less, I would also have to mount from the opposite side, and then remove the right stirrup after i was safely in the tack. it won't be fun, but it'll be great for your leg!

    ETA: as far as showing went- I still showed but getting my boots zipped was an ordeal- and I typically just took a ton of advil before, during and after the show to keep swelling down. You just have to be sparing with your time in stirrups at the shows, warm up and school without them. The less you flex or stress your ankle the way riding does the better you are. You might want to consider some PT too...i ended up with less flexibility after the sprain that I had to get addressed.
    Last edited by pinkpony321; Jun. 27, 2011, 12:01 PM. Reason: apparently i cannot read posts thoroughly


    • Original Poster

      Thanks for your helpful comments, pinkpony. How many weeks did you stay out of the saddle before attempting to ride without stirrups?


      • #4
        oh man, that's a bummer

        Yes, I did that to my ankle many moons ago in high school playing volleyball. It was a worse recovery than a break.

        When you're cleared for riding, I think you will find the hardest thing will be getting your heel down in the stirrup...You're going to have to really work to regain that flexibility. Do you have a good physical therapist you can work with to determine your recovery plan?

        Also, I have to have the flexible stirrups now, the rigid ones make my ankle sore. Get some to try out if you don't have them already.


        • #5
          Well......I showed the very next day, as I injured my ankle falling off of a rather ....ahem.... "strong willed" mare schooling at a horse show the day before her division. felt the ankle pop when i hit the ground. got BACK on to prove a point, jumped around, then waited until i got back to the hotel to remove my boots. the swelling was CRAZY. Showed the next day, drove over 8 hours home with the trailer, and saw the doctor 48 hours after the initial incident.
          I think I was back riding at home 5 days later or so. it's been a few years so it might have been a bit longer. I probably did more damage by showing the next day.


          • Original Poster

            Yes, I do have the flexible stirrups so that should help, and have access to physical therapists so I am okay there. I understand that physical therapy is really key for this sort of thing.

            I am assuming that I might not be able to show for the rest of the summer?


            • #7
              I've had a break and 2 sprains. Last sprain was the worst - not sure of the grade but depending on your lifestyle (i.e. professional/trainer) you might do yourself a favor and do what the drs. tell you; much of it is self-limiting but personally I wouldn't want to take the risk of falling off again and causing more damage than you have now. having been in similar situations one of my biggeset concerns is getting to/from work much less riding... so I tend to be much more conservative in terms of recovery.

              Best wishes for a speedy recovery


              • #8
                After I sprained my ankle I ended up with more flexibility in that ankle. But my sprain was not that severe, I was back in the saddle with my boot vet-wrapped on the next day because I was at Pony Club nationals. I took about 10 days off because I went to the beach after anyway. But like I said, my sprain was not as severe.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rye View Post

                  When you're cleared for riding, I think you will find the hardest thing will be getting your heel down in the stirrup...You're going to have to really work to regain that flexibility.
                  this^. been there, done that. my ankle still gets sore during riding and was level, not down, for a really long time. i look like i have two ankle bones poking out of the side of my ankle since then. it's gross. my heels are down now, so there's hope!
                  Gracious "Gracie," 2002 TB mare
                  Facebook me!

                  I have Higher Standards ...do you?


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply.

                    I am going to try and be good and not go too fast, but I am not patient by nature!!

                    Fortunately, I telecommute so I can still work. And I can at least see my horses from my window. I guess I am going to kiss riding/showing goodbye for at least a few weeks.


                    • #11
                      Oh I did that in high school stepping in a hole at a horse show. They drugged me and wrapped me up and stuck me on the horse. I can't remember exactly how I did but I'm pretty sure I got reserve champion or something.

                      The orthopedic surgeon wanted to do surgery to repair the damaged ligament but it ended up healing on its own. I still have limited range of motion in that ankle though. I do remember not missing much riding at all, just did A LOT of no stirrups.
                      Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
                      My equine soulmate
                      Mischief Managed (Tully)- JC Priceless Jewel 2002 TB Gelding


                      • #12
                        It took over a year after my very bad sprain (also due to fall off of mare...)
                        to do anything (riding or not riding) without pain.
                        It took me two years to lose the weight I gained in that time. It was terrible.

                        It was a solid 6 months before I could ride reasonably, anything other than very mild hack was excruciating. It was one of the most debilitating things I've ever had, it was my 3rd very bad sprain on that same ankle.

                        It also took a year before I could wear heels again :sob: I had to buy an entire new wardrobe for work that worked with flats.


                        • #13
                          Probably not what you want to here, but I sprained mine over a year ago (last April) and it's still not 100% healed. I did it at work and ended up standing/walking on it for the rest of the day though. I took about a week off riding because I couldn't get my boot zipped over the swelling.

                          Hope you heal well and fast!
                          Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!


                          • Original Poster

                            Was anyone's sprain severe enough that the ligament(s) was actually ruptured? That is the case with mine, I can't walk AT ALL on it -- any weight on it makes me scream. Am I to assume that my recovery time would likely be on the longer side, and maybe longer than many of those who have posted here?

                            i think i need some chocolate ice cream NOW


                            • #15
                              I did that three years ago, stepping out of my horse trailer after hanging a hay bag to go home from a show. Heard the pop and thought "Oh, that's not good" as I went down. It really didn't hurt much but I could barely put any weight on it, it just wouldn't support me. Waited a couple of weeks before I saw a doctor because I figured it was "just a spain" and only needed time but when it was still hugely puffy I finally gave in and got x-rays done. Sure enough, just a sprain, so I don't think I actually tore anything but the swelling and bruising was incredible! I think it was a good couple of months before I got back in the saddle and there was no way I would have been able to get on a horse from the ground and push off that foot, had to use a tall mounting block. Was probably almost a year before ALL of the swelling was gone and it was back to "normal". I can tell that that ankle is weaker, even three years later, and I tend to twist it occasionally because of it, but it's not really a concern anymore. They had just given me a wrap and a band to use to exercise it but I never really used them, just walked around as usual. (We horse people are a stubborn bunch, aren't we???)

                              Hope you heal up quickly and well!
                              It's not about the color of the ribbon but the quality of the ride. Having said that, I'd like the blue one please!


                              • #16
                                Oh, 3eme, I've been there- not good! I really feel for you!!

                                I rode in the years before I went to college, but while I was in college I ran track and XC. I had gone to college in the city so horses were not an option. I missed them terribly but got back into it (and eventing) shortly after graduation. Anyway, one day, during practice (sprints and relays), I stepped on a dropped metal baton at full speed. No time to dodge or avoid it. Instead of it rolling out from under my foot, it forced my ankle to roll over it.

                                Very much like 3eme, I (and everyone else nearby) heard the ligaments pop/rupture and then immediately it would not support me and I actually fell. I was told (and agree) on a pain level it was as bad if not worse then a fracture, and from a healing standpoint, it would have been better had I fractured it. The subsequent swelling and bruising were unreal. I was off the crutches fairly quickly but had to have it wrapped for the next couple of months straight just to do the most basic of things (like hobble/walk around).

                                It took ages and a lot of physical therapy and even electro-stimulation to get it to heal and to get range of motion back. I was able to resume running/competing in a little over 2 1/2 months with it tightly wrapped, but lost all ability to do any hurdling or triple jumping (which involves jumping and/or landing at speed on the ankle), or cross country (uneven terrain) as there was just no stability there.

                                I would think you would be able to get back to riding long before I got back to running.

                                I am on the opposite end from what some people have written in here, in that I now have too much range of motion in that ankle. It is now many years later (like almost 18) and I am happy to report that I ride daily with no pain and no wrapping at all, but the ankle is VERY flexible. I can do "heels down" like nobody's business!

                                Good luck!!
                                Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying "I will try again tomorrow" -Mary Ann Radmacher

                                Wearing a helmet saved my eyesight


                                • #17
                                  Had a nasty fall a few years ago (mare stumbled on the landing step from a jump and flipped me over her shoulder) and ruptured the ligaments and broke my ankle and fibula.

                                  I ended up with surgery to pin the ankle back together (though really it was just to pin the ligaments back across the front of my ankle). I sat in a cast for 6 weeks (no riding) and then rode the day my cast came off. I tried to ride with the cast (sans stirrup, of course), but the cast popped my leg out too far and made my broken fibula click (the fibula break was above the top of the cast). If it hadn't been for the cast and fibula, I probably would have kept riding just without the stirrup.

                                  I was back in the 1.30m jumpers at a show 12 weeks after the day I fell off. It was KILLER to ride with that stirrup (and it was tough to walk courses with a major limp ), but I came out of that first show with a heck of a lot more flexibility in that ankle than I'd gone into it with.
                                  Flying F Sport Horses
                                  Horses in the NW


                                  • Original Poster

                                    OMG so from what everyone is saying, it looks like I won't be showing for the next 2 to 3 months.

                                    I am seriously not going to know what to do with myself.

                                    Thanks for all the replies, even if it wasn't all what I wanted to hear.



                                    • #19
                                      That sucks. I seriously recommmend following your doctors orders though. Every case is unique and everybody's body heals differently, so you can't really compare to anyone elses. I know so many people who grew up doing the "ah, I can rig up something to get through this pain and keep riding/working/etc." Guess what? They regret it years later when they still have a "bad ankle".

                                      Being out of comission during the summer/show season really does suck. Maybe find a time consuming hobby. Read a lot [riding] books, magazines, etc. Good luck, hope it gets better soon!


                                      • #20
                                        I JUST got over this a few weeks ago. I was able to stay out of a cast, though. I was on a crutches for about two weeks, though. Then I couldn't take it any longer so I hobbled around. As soon as I could hobble, I hopped back on a horse. Two weeks was long enough. I was limping for another week after that. Needless to say, the doctor wasn't too happy about it but I'm still alive! Your ankle will stay swollen for a long time, though. Mine still is. I rode with it wrapped snugly for a week or so. I would say you'll be back showing in four to six weeks. Riding really helped my ankle feel better, though.
                                        "Many are riders; many are craftsmen; but few are artists on horseback."
                                        ~George Morris