How To: Immobilize an ankle

Immobilize an ankle

Learn how to immobilize an ankle. The ankle is a complex joint, so when an injury occurs, and you can't get help right away, the first thing to do is keep it from moving – you'll prevent any more damage to the surrounding nerves and tissue.

You Will Need

* A towel, blanket, or pillow
* Tape, rope, or straps
* A sterile bandage, gauze, or soft clean cloth

WARNING: As soon as you can, seek medical attention for ankle injuries.

Step 1. Lay them on their back

Help the injured person lie down on their back. Then, cut away clothing from the injured spot. Don't move them great distances until you've totally immobilized the ankle.

Step 2. Cushion the ankle

Gently lift the affected leg and place a folded towel, blanket, or pillow beneath the injured ankle and foot to cushion them. The cushioning should extend past the ankle by at least the length of the foot.

Step 3. Tie the cushion

Starting at mid-shin, pull the cushion up around the lower leg and use tape, rope, or straps to loosely secure the cushion in two places over the shin. You should splint the ankle in as natural a position as possible.

Step 4. Tie cushioning mid-foot

Bend the other end of the cushion so that it is against the sole of the foot, leaving the toes exposed. Tie it once around mid-foot.

Step 5. Check that cushioning isn't too tight

Check that the cushion isn't tied too tightly by squeezing a toe and timing how long it takes for its color to return. If it takes longer than three seconds, remove the ties and redo them more loosely.

Step 6. Elevate the ankle

Elevate the ankle above the victim's heart level and continue to monitor their circulation and comfort until they receive medical attention.

FACT: The ankle actually consists of two joints: the subtalar joint, which allows movement side to side, and the true ankle joint, which allows movement up and down.

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