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How long does a sprained ankle take to heal? The recovery time for a sprained ankle varies depending on the severity of your injury. It may take anywhere from two weeks to heal a minor sprain and anywhere from six to 12 weeks to heal a severe sprain.

How long does a sprained ankle take to heal 

It takes between 3 to 4 weeks to heal a moderate ankle sprain and 3 to 6 months for a more severe injury to heal.

A sprained ankle is a common injury when the tissue that connects your ankle bones and supports your ankle (ligaments) is torn or stretched beyond its limits, often after a fall, ankle roll, or twist.

Types of ankle sprains

There are three types of ankle sprains based on how much ligament damage occurred:

  • Grade 1 (Mild). The ligament fibers stretch slightly, or there is a tiny tear. Your ankle will have minor swelling and tenderness to the touch.
  • Grade 2 (Moderate). The ligament is torn, but it isn’t a complete tear. Your ankle has swelled over the injury, and it hurts to move.
  • Grade 3 (Severe). The ligament is torn completely. Your ankle has significant swelling, the injury is painful, and walking is difficult.

Sprained Ankle Symptoms

The inflammation that comes along with a sprained ankle can cause symptoms including:

  • Swelling and bruising: It may be so swollen that you can press on the area with your finger and leave an indent.
  • Pain: Your nerves are more sensitive after a sprain. The joint hurts and may throb. It’s often worse when you press on it, move your foot in specific ways, walk, or stand.
  • Redness and warmth: A sprain causes more blood to flow to the area.
  • Instability: The joint can feel weak when the ligament is torn.
  • Trouble walking: A sprain may limit how much you can move your ankle.

Sprained Ankle Causes

Anything that stretches your ankle more than it’s used to can hurt a ligament. This usually happens when your foot is turned inward or twisted, such as when you:

Plant your foot the wrong way when running, stepping up or down, or doing everyday things like getting out of bed

Step on an uneven surface, like in a hole

Step on someone else while playing sports. (For example, your foot might roll when you’re playing basketball, go up for a rebound, and come down on top of another player’s foot.) 

Summary

How long does a sprained ankle take to heal? It may take anywhere from two weeks to heal a minor sprain and anywhere from six to twelve weeks to heal a severe sprain.

A sprained ankle is a common injury when the ankle ligaments are torn or stretched too far, often after a fall or if you roll or twist your ankle.

There are three types of sprained ankle depending on how damaged your ankle is; it may be mild, moderate, and severe.

Sprained Ankle Diagnosis

During a physical, your doctor will examine your ankle, foot, and lower leg. The doctor will touch the skin around the injury to check for points of tenderness and move your foot to match the range of motion, and understand what positions cause discomfort or pain.

If the injury is severe, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following imaging scans to rule out a broken bone or to evaluate in more detail the extent of ligament damage:

  • X-ray: During an X-ray, a small amount of radiation passes through your body to produce images of the bones of the ankle. This test is suitable for ruling out bone fractures.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRIs use radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce detailed cross-sectional or 3-D images of soft internal structures of the ankle, including ligaments.
  • CT scan: CT scans can reveal more detail about the joint’s bones. CT scans take X-rays from many different angles and combine them to make cross-sectional or 3-D images.
  • Ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to produce real-time images. These images may help your doctor judge the condition of a ligament or tendon when the foot is in different positions. 

Sprained Ankle Prevention

A sprained ankle is more likely to get hurt again, so do what you can to lower your risk:

  • Keep your ankles strong and flexible. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about strengthening exercises.
  • Wear the right shoes for an activity. Choose stable shoes that support your ankle, such as high-top basketball shoes.
  • You might want to tape up a weak ankle if you play a sport for extra support. Ask your doctor about a brace if you’ve had more than one sprain.
  • Be sure the playing field or court is clear of any holes or obstacles.
  • Get rid of obstacles or trip hazards in your home and yard.

How is a sprained ankle treated

For most ankle sprains, healthcare providers recommend using the PRICE method for the first 24-48 hours after injury. PRICE stands for protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

  • Protection. Use crutches or apply a splint or brace to limit the use of your injured ankle.
  • Rest. Limit physical activities that may cause stress to the sprain (no running, jumping, exercising).
  • Ice. Apply ice or a cold pack in a towel to your ankle in 20-minute increments to reduce swelling.
  • Compression. Gently wrap your ankle in an elastic bandage to help decrease swelling.
  • Elevation. Raise your ankle on pillows while sitting or lying down so that it’s higher than your heart.

Summary

How long does a sprained ankle take to heal? It takes between 3 to 4 weeks to heal a moderate ankle sprain and 3 to 6 months for a more severe injury to heal.

There are different ways to diagnose sprained ankle, including x-ray, MRI, CT- scan, and Ultrasound.

Sprained ankle treated by PRICE method for the first 24-48 hours after injury.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions relating to the article on How long does a sprained ankle take to heal:

1. How long should I stay off a sprained ankle?

Depending on the severity of the injury, she advises patients to avoid any impact on the injured ankle, including running and other athletic pursuits, for four-to-six weeks before gradually working up to previous levels.

2. Is it OK to walk on a sprained ankle?

Do not walk on a sprained ankle. The inflamed tissue needs time to heal, and walking on it too soon may cause more damage. Ankle sprains are common musculoskeletal injuries that can occur from playing sports or from everyday activities

3. Can a sprained ankle heal in 3 days?

Most ankle sprains are mild and only need ice and elevation. Mild sprains typically begin to feel better in a few days to a week and heal by six weeks. More severe ankle sprains could take more than a few weeks or months to recover fully.

4. What is the difference between a sprained ankle and a twisted ankle?

A sprained ankle is similar to a twisted ankle but to a greater degree. When you sprain your ankle, it means you have stretched, and possibly even torn, the ligaments of your ankle. If your ankle is swollen, bruised, and painful after you twist it, you have most likely sprained it.

5. How should you sleep with a sprained ankle?

Elevating a sprained ankle reduces the accumulation of fluid in the joint. This can ease swelling, which may also help reduce pain. Try sleeping with the foot and ankle propped up on pillows at a level higher than the heart. When sitting or resting, use cushions or a footrest to keep the foot and ankle elevated.

6. Is hot water good for sprained ankle?

Give your injured ankle a few days to recover after the initial injury. When the swelling goes down, you may want to warm your ankle before rehabilitation by soaking it in warm water. Warm tissues are more flexible and less prone to injury.

7. Should you massage a sprained ankle?

Massage is a great way to alleviate pain and increase blood flow to the injured area. For less severe injuries, do your massage at home. If the ankle is too painful, consult a qualified massage therapist.

8. Does a sprained ankle turn red?

Redness: A sprained ankle can cause warmth and redness around the affected area. If your ankle is warm, red, and swollen, it is inflamed. Warmth and redness are caused by increased blood flow to the site.

9. How long will the ankle be swollen after the sprain?

The amount of pain and swelling you experience will depend on the amount of stretching and tearing of the ligament. Instability occurs when complete tearing of the ligament or complete dislocation of the ankle joint. Swelling and pain typically last 2-3 days.

10. Are Compression Socks good for sprained ankles?

Compression stockings failed to significantly modify the time to return to normal painless walking in an ankle sprain. A beneficial effect was observed only in a subgroup of patients, as compression stockings significantly decreased the time to return to sports activity.

Conclusion 

How long does a sprained ankle take to heal? It takes between two weeks to heal a minor sprain and anywhere from six to twelve weeks to heal a severe sprain.

Ankle sprains are common injuries that occur among people of all ages and activity levels; they are the number one reason for missed participation in athletics.

4 thoughts on “How long does a sprained ankle take to heal

  1. Talha Jutt says:

    It is really informable 😌💕

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