Can I Ride a Bike With a Sprained Ankle & Torn Ligaments?

You cannot ride a bike while you have a sprained ankle and torn ligaments. All physical activity that places strain on your injured ankle and its ligaments should be avoided until your physicians clears you to. Riding a bike with an unhealed sprained ankle and ligaments can be extremely painful and further aggravate your injury.

A woman is cycling. (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

Sprained Ankle

A joint sprain occurs when the ligaments or tendons are overstretched or stretched in an unnatural direction. This can occur as a result of trauma and awkward movement, and it's an injury that's common in athletes. Weakened muscles and being overweight can increase your risk for ankle sprains. With severe sprains, ligaments may be torn. Even if biking isn't the cause of your sprained ankle, biking is an activity in which the muscles of your calves and thighs place pressure on your ankle ligaments.

Symptoms

If you have a sprained ankle with torn ligaments, you will most likely experience pain, joint swelling and limited ability to move the joint. The severity of symptoms varies in accordance with the severity of the injury. When ligaments tear or rupture, many patients report hearing a popping sound, followed by intense pain. Pain in your ankle joint while biking could be a sign of an ankle sprain. Continuing to ride a bike with these symptoms will make the injury more severe.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Ankle sprains and ligaments are diagnosed using a variety of methods. This includes a physical examination by your physician, perhaps followed by an ultrasound or MRI. X-rays can be used to rule out any bone damage. Once a sprained ankle with torn ligaments is diagnosed, a few treatment options are available. This includes surgery, immobilization and pain-relieving medication. In most cases, a combination is used. Immobilization of the ankle will make it extremely hard to ride a bike, and attempting to do so can lead to further injury.

Alternatives

Immobilization of your joint is required for your ankle to heal properly and prevent it from becoming a chronic problem. Biking is not recommended since it directly utilizes the ankle joint as you press your foot down on the pedals and also as your foot rotates back up to the top of the pedaling cycle. As an alternative, you can perform many exercises such as weightlifting, rowing and hand biking, which must not place on stress or strain on your damaged joint. Just because you joint is not sore does not mean it is fully recovered; your injury may still be susceptible to aggravation. Consult your physician before attempting any activities involving your ankle.

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