How Long Does A Sprained Ankle Take To Heal (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 1 to 3 weeks

Different types of injuries can be sustained from all sorts of accidents. Some injuries are very serious and they cause severe injuries, while sometimes one can get lucky and escape with a few minor scrapes and cuts. The injuries sustained differ based on the accident one was in and however severe they might be, they can be healed and treated with the right medicine and the right resting time.

The injuries one gets from the accidents or any sort of other activity can be classified into types of injuries. When one gets a little injury, they can treat it themselves or visit the emergency room in the hospital and get the injury bandaged, stitched up, or even set to heal. Yet, if the injury is severe, one must visit the hospital and get cleaned up before the wound gets septic or infected and leads to more health issues.

One of the injuries that are usually internal and don’t require any sort of external stitches includes the sprain. Sprains can happen anywhere and a common part of the body that gets sprained often is the ankle. It can take anywhere from a week to over 6 months.

How Long Does A Sprained Ankle Take To Heal?

Degree of sprainTime
Mild sprains1 to 5 weeks
Moderate sprains4 to 6 weeks
Severe sprains2 to 6 months

Ankle sprains are treated in hundreds all over the world every single day by emergency room doctors, ankle specialists, and orthopedic surgeons. When it is a normal sprain, the emergency room doctors can treat them but if they are severe, they must be treated by an orthopedic care provider. In some cases, the sprain heals all by itself, but sometimes, it needs to be taken care of. Conservative treatments are provided for patients with minor injuries, while intensive treatment is required for serious injuries.

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When one gets a sprain, if left untreated, the pain, instability of the ankle, the swelling all increase. There is no specific reason why the ankle gets sprained. Sprains can be a cause of sports injuries, impacts the ankle receives after trauma, overuse of the ankle, and much more. People can even sprain their ankles severely just by walking on the road or the sidewalk, stepping on something hard or running on a trail, and it can be anything.

Some get injured while working while some sprain their ankles just by walking. It all depends on how the ankle lands on the ground, how much it gets twisted and when the sprain happened. When mild injuries are sustained, like a mild ankle sprain, there are a few methods that can be followed.

Why Does A Sprained Ankle Take That Long To Heal?

The time a sprain takes to heal is based on what type of sprain it is. A first-degree sprain is where there is only a mild tear in the ligament, which causes pain, swelling. This recovers quickly though. It usually takes about one to three weeks to heal and some people take longer, like four to five weeks. There are second-degree sprains that are more severe, and here about 50% of the ligament will be torn.

In this degree of sprain, there will be swelling, loss of mobility along with pain. Here the healing time will be more than four weeks. It usually takes about 4 to 6 weeks for the sprain to heal well. A third-degree sprain, on the other hand, will take over a month to heal. The steps that must be followed to heal the ankle sprain properly, and include resting, trying to reduce the swelling, and preventing any sort of further injury.

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Conclusion

AAOS (American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery) recommends that the best way to treat a sprained ankle is by using RICE, which includes Resting the ankle, Icing the sprained area for about 20 minutes, for at least three to four times a day, Compressing, Elevating the foot. Next, the recovery will begin. The sprained ankle must not be used much and pressure should not apply that much either before it heals well.

When the symptoms of sprain like swelling, pain, nausea, and any symptom that is related to ankle sprain come back after being on medication, it is better to visit a doctor.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-200737010-00006
  2. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/28/2/112.short
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