Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Last Saturday, on the first day of a trip, my 14-year-old grandson sprained his ankle. Fortunately, it wasn't a serious sprain. I finally got to practice my Wilderness First Aid! I used several feet of vet wrap (self-adhering foam bandage) and then used several wraps of Gorilla duct tape over it. Worked quite well, and no problems removing it when we got home!
My memories of ankle sprains include my foot's swelling up to the size of a football by the next day, with no possibility of wearing a shoe. We therefore decided to hike out that evening. I gave JP about 5 lbs of pack, gave me 15, hung the food in Ursacks on a tree and put a trash bag full of miscellaneous stuff (no food or smellables) in the tent, hoping it would be there when I came back. I put a note in a plastic bag and tied it to the front of the tent.
Hiking out, the last part in the dark, was rather adventurous. With one set of trekking poles between us, we compromised at one each. JP had my good Princeton Tec Aurora headlamp, while I was using a Petzl e+lite. . The latter was completely useless! JP had to turn around at every rough spot and shine his light on the trail for me. It was rather a slow process, 1 3/4 hours for a mile. We made it though, got home about midnight (no pizza places still open, much to my grandson's disgust). On Monday I left JP at home with his ice pack, lots of food, the complete Harry Potter movies and Oscar the Jack Russell terrier, while I drove up, hiked in, and retrieved the rest of the gear. It was so much easier in the daylight!
Anyway, the lesson I earned is that the extra 2 ounces for an adequate headlamp with bright light and long-lasting batteries is well worth it in an emergency!
JP is recovering apace and is now at home. It turns out that we could have waited until the next day, because he had minimal swelling, but I didn't know that and neither did he!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Good job getting your grandson out. I think hiking out in the evening was an excellent idea. So was leaving much of the gear behind. Good thing you had the headlamps. We also carry headlamps in case we have to make a night exit. I seldom use mine as I have a small solar powered flashlight.
I once had a similar ankle injury the day before we went camping. It was about a mile hike in. Dumb, but I was about 16. I spent the next day wading in ice cold streams and the swelling went down. Later, I found out the ankle was broken, but it heeled without treatment.
Anyway, from one situation, sometimes we can learn about a similar circumstance. I consider a sprained ankle one of the most probable injuries, yet I don't carry an ankle wrap. What I do carry is scissors and I know I could make an ankle wrap from one of the cotton shirts I'm not supposed to wear or the cotton pants I wear. I could also make it from the tent footprint, but that would probably be hot and sweaty.
A sprained ankle is the reason I always take enough gear on day hikes to spend a reasonably comfortable night.
A friend of mine used to be a Philmont counselor. He once told me they taught the scouts to step around, over or on obstacles -- in that order. Since I started using this, I've had fewer slips.
Once again -- great job! Your grandson has had an experience that can't be duplicated by reading or talking about these situations.
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Oh, that's too bad OM. Sprained ankles such and, like Gershon alluded too, you don't really know off the bat if it's a sprain or a break.
When I was 13- or 14 I was horsing around (do people still say that?) on the steps of our Junior High School and sprained my ankle pretty good. Thing was, I wasn't supposed to be there and it was way past my time to have been home. It was about a two mile walk to get home, and there was no way I was calling my mom and telling her where I was, so I started gimping along. At first I sort of hopped on one leg, then I started limping, and after a while I realized I was walking. My ankle was still tender, but I was able to walk ok. The next day I was fine. I'm not sure there's any lesson in that, but that's how it went.
Now, just a couple years ago (more than 40 years later) I sprained my ankle down at my barn. It just folded over on me and I actually went into a slight shock. That one stuck with me for about a week or so. I'm not so sure that "walking it off" would have helped and since I didn't have to worry about my mom grounding me I decided not to try it
Like Gershon, even when I day hike I take enough to spend a decently comfortable night or two, and that's because I know how easy it is to sprain an ankle, but, knocking on wood, I've never done that while hiking yet.