How long does it really take for a sprained ankle to heal?

How long does it really take for a sprained ankle to heal?

If you’ve ever suffered a sprained ankle, you know how little it takes to cause one. An off-kilter step, a slight roll, a sudden turn can be all it takes. Depending on the type and severity of your sprain, you may be looking at weeks of pain and recovery time.
Ankle sprains are common among people of all ages, but most common for athletes who spend time running or jumping while playing sports like soccer, football, tennis, or volleyball.
How severe is your sprain?
Not all ankle injuries are the same. In fact, they can be classified in several levels based on what part of your ankle is actually injured:
1. Grade One Ankle Sprain is a minor injury that leaves you in pain, but you can still walk. Your ankle still feels stable, but you may notice some stiffness and swelling in the ankle.
2. Grade Two Ankle Sprain is a little more serious because it includes some ligament tears, though not torn completely. Your joint won’t feel completely stable, and you’ll find you have limited range of motion. The area is tender to touch, and it’s painful to walk, with swelling and stiffness that linger during recovery.
3. Grade Three Ankle Sprain is the most serious type of ankle sprain, involving complete tears through the ligaments. As a result, your ankle is unstable, and you won’t be able to walk. Severe bruising and swelling are also common, along with intense pain.
If your ankle is a little sore but you can still walk, you may want to try these at-home remedies to speed up recovery. These treatment recommendations for sprains are often referred to as the R.I.C.E. strategy:
● (R)est: Clear your schedule, stay away from the sports field, and schedule some time on the couch. Limit walking as much as possible, and if you need to move around, try using crutches to avoid putting weight on the foot.
● (I)ce: Apply ice packs to reduce swelling, using a hand towel to protect your skin from the ice. This treatment should be used several times a day for 15 to 20 minutes each.
● (C)ompression: Use an ankle brace or an ace bandage to support the ankle, but be careful to avoid wrapping it too tight.
● (E)levation: Keep your ankle above your heart level by propping it on a pillow when you are sitting on the couch or laying in bed. If you need to sit at a computer for work, prop the foot up on an extra chair. This will help keep swelling to a minimum.
If the pain is difficult to manage, you might take over-the-counter medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can also help with swelling management.
How long does recovery take?
Healing time depends on the severity of your injury as well as your commitment to rest, recovery, and treatment. Following the at-home tips above will speed up your healing time, but you can expect a Grade One sprains to heal within 2 to 4 weeks. Grade Two sprains can take as long as 6 to 8 weeks for recovery, while a Grade Three injury may require surgery to repair torn ligaments, which means a recovery time of 12 weeks to 6 months.
When to see a doctor
If you have severe pain from the beginning, if you notice the symptoms aren’t subsiding after a few days, or if you find that the symptoms are worsening, it’s time to talk to a doctor. The best solution is to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic specialist at DOC Orthopaedics.
Since 1972, the specialists at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine have been committed to providing exceptional orthopaedic care through innovative techniques, quality services, patient communication and education. With specialties ranging from general orthopaedics and physical therapy to sports medicine, joint replacement, and more, our healthcare professionals at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine can provide local expert care for your sprain – or any orthopaedic disorder or injury – and help put your life back in motion.


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Decatur, AL 35601


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Hartselle, AL 35640


(256) 350-3997

1107 14th Ave SE
Decatur, AL 35601


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Decatur, AL 35601

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