How Long Does a Sprained Ankle Take to Heal?

sprained ankle time to heal

How Long Does a Sprained Ankle Take to Heal?

Unfortunately, sprained ankles are a common issue. You can prevent a sprain from occurring by keeping your ankles flexible and strong. The right shoes, strengthening exercises and stretching can help prevent sprains. In addition, you should avoid running on uneven surfaces. If you have a weak ankle, you may need to tape it or wear a brace.

Even with the best prevention techniques, a sprained ankle can still occur. Severe sprains may require professional treatment by a doctor or physical therapist. If you do not get the right care, the sprain could cause lasting harm. To learn more about the recovery process, read on.

How Long Does It Take a Sprained Ankle to Heal?

Luckily, it does not take too long for a sprained ankle to heal. If you have a mild sprain, you can expect your ankle to heal in just one to three weeks. To help it heal, you should rest your ankle and use non-surgical treatments like ice.

For moderate or severe injuries, the healing time may take longer. A moderate sprain may take three or four weeks to heal. With a severe injury, the blood flow to your ligaments is hindered. As a result of this, severe injuries may take three to six months to heal completely.

What Is a Sprained Ankle?

The most common kind of sprained ankle is known as an inversion injury. This occurs if the foot rolls inward. Once this happens, ligaments in the outer ankle become harmed.

If the inner ankle’s ligaments become sprained, it is known as a medial ankle sprain. Syndesmotic sprains harm ligaments that connect your leg bones. This kind of sprain typically happens in contact sports.

Signs of an Ankle Sprain

There are a few common things that happen when you sprain your ankle. You may suffer from pain, swelling and bruising. If you put weight on your foot, the pain will increase. You may suffer from a limited range of motion, ankle instability, warmth and redness. When the injury initially occurs, you may hear a popping sound. Afterward, your ankle will feel tender when you touch it.

The Causes of a Sprained Ankle

Unfortunately, a sprained ankle can be caused by a number of activities. While many ankle sprains happen because of athletic events, you could also sprain your ankle by slipping as you step over a curb. Ankle sprains occur whenever your ankle is forced into an unnatural position or movement. This forced movement causes your ligaments to become stretched and torn, which is why you experience pain.

An ankle sprain may happen if you walk, run or exercise on an uneven surface. Sometimes, people sprain their ankle because they twisted it as they tripped or fell. If you have a hard landing after you jump or pivot, it could harm your ankle. Likewise, you may get an ankle sprain if someone steps on your foot while you are playing sports.

Your shoes play a huge role in causing ankle sprains. If your shoes do not fit correctly, your ankles are more vulnerable to sprains. In addition, wearing high-heeled shoes can make sprains more likely to happen.

How Can You Help a Sprained Ankle Heal?

Whether you have a sports injury or a workplace injury, the right care can help your ankle heal faster. Ideally, you should talk to your doctor or physical therapist about what you should do for your ankle. Then, you can treat your ankle based on how severe the injury is.

Mild Sprains

With a mild sprain, you can use rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) to treat your ankle. These steps can help you reduce swelling, inflammation and pain. In addition, you can take anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate the swelling. Your doctor may also recommend compression wraps as well. Because a compression wrap limits your range of movement, it stops you from causing additional harm to your ankle.

Severe Sprains

The treatment you use depends on the severity of your sprain. If you have a severe sprain, your doctor may have to immobilize your ankle. He or she can do this by giving you a set of crutches or a boot. By immobilizing your ankle, you can give your muscles a chance to heal.

Often, doctors recommend physical therapy as well. Physical therapy can help you improve your range of motion and stability. Over time, it can help you increase your ankle strength.

How to Know When You Need Extra Help

Ideally, you should see your doctor or physical therapist right away to get help with your ankle sprain. Your injury could involve more than just a sprain. Depending on what happened, you could have stretched tendons, fractures, a cartilage injury, torn ligaments or torn tendons.

If you are suffering from the following symptoms, you may be dealing with more than just a sprain.

  • Ankle weakness.
  • Persistent swelling.
  • General discomfort.
  • Feeling unstable on your ankle.
  • Difficulties walking on uneven ground.

Your ankle should heal in just one to three weeks. Even if you have a severe sprain, it should only take three to four weeks for your ankle to heal. If healing takes longer than this, it is a sign that there might be other problems. It is important that you get treatment for any sprains that do not heal properly. Without proper treatment, these issues could lead to chronic ankle sprains, arthritis and other conditions.

When Do You Need to Go to a Doctor?

If you have sprained your ankle, you may need professional treatment in order to recover. In general, you should go to your doctor if you are struggling to walk or cannot walk at all without experiencing serious pain. If the pain is severe after resting and icing your ankle, you may also need professional help.

You should visit your doctor if your ankle has not gotten better in five to seven days. If you are uncertain about whether you need medical assistance or not, you can always call your doctor’s office to see. Your doctor can figure out how bad the sprain is and if you need additional treatment.

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