Can I Drive with a Sprained Ankle?
As detailed in our Ultimate Guide for Ankle Sprains, there are three stages of ankle sprains, so whether you can drive generally comes down to the severity of your injury plus the personal feeling and confidence you have in using your ankle. Safety is the most important thing while driving if there is any reason to doubt your ability to drive a vehicle safely this could invalidate your insurance or worse, cause an accident.
Can you perform an Emergency Stop?
Insurance companies will often use this as a marker if you are able to perform an emergency stop (rapid and intense pressure on both the clutch and the brake at the same time).
Was your ankle sprain is severely swollen or giving you sharp pains? Any suspicions that your ankle could be broken may mean a trip to A&E is advised before you start driving.
Are you able to bear weight on one leg and go up on your toes when standing? If you can, it is most likely safe to drive.
If you are in any doubt the best thing to do to see if you are able to drive with a sprained ankle is sit in the car and push up and down on the pedals. Remember that one single action may feel absolutely fine but after 20 minutes of driving your ankle may begin to ache and fatigue.
SAFE driving Checklist
Yes, it's safe to drive
- No pain with ankle movement
- Able to stand on one leg
- Able to press the clutch and/or brake without issues
- Usual walking/gait pattern (no limping)
No, it's not safe to drive
- Pain with movements of the ankle, even when sitting
- Difficulty getting up or down the stairs
- Severe swelling or bruising so your usual shoes don't fit
- Unusual walking/gait pattern (limping)
Hopefully, these pointers can allow you to make a confident decision, if in any doubt please contact us here, consult your local GP or physiotherapist. Just as with other activities like walking and stairs, it may take time to rebuild your stamina for driving and will be affected by the type of car and driving environment.
All of the above may be different if you drive an automatic and you’ve sprained your left ankle - in that case, keep resting it, wear supportive shoes and keep your eyes on the road :)
Buying an Ankle Support can get you back to driving sooner.
If your ankle continues to feel weak and unstable or life demands you get back on your feet quickly, a support may be exactly what you need to speed this process up.
Wearable within a shoe, this particular support provides extra stability to your weakened ankle and the criss-cross straps can be adjusted by you to provide the right level of pain relieving compression.