Ankle sprains can happen from a slip and fall, landing on your foot the wrong way, or while playing sports. Luckily, they can often heal quickly with time and proper treatment.
There are three grades of ankle sprain based on severity. Here’s what you can expect to feel from each type of sprain:
A first-degree ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments in the ankle are stretched, but nothing is torn. With this type of sprain, you may experience slight swelling and pain. You should still be able to walk okay, and your ankle should heal within 1-2 weeks.
A second-degree ankle sprain occurs when the ligament is partially torn. This is the most common type of sprain. If you have a second-degree sprain your ankle will likely be swollen, bruised, and in pain. It can be difficult to walk but should not be unbearable.
A third-degree ankle sprain occurs when the ligament completely tears. With this type of sprain, your ankle will be extremely swollen and difficult to move, making walking very painful.
If you think you may have a sprained ankle, it is important to seek help from a doctor. Although some ankle sprains can heel on their own, improper treatment can cause the sprain to worsen.
Healing time will depend on the severity of the sprain. A first-degree sprain should heel within 1-2 weeks. A second-degree sprain may take 1-2 months, and a third-degree sprain may take 3-6 months.
Treatment for your sprain will depend on the type of sprain. You should seek help from a foot and ankle specialist near you for the best treatment plan.
You should treat mild sprains with over-the-counter medication, RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation), and wrapping your ankle.
If your sprain is more serious, your foot doctor may recommend a brace, boot, physical therapy, or injections.
If you have a severe ankle sprain or multiple sprains, you may need surgery; however, it is very rare. Recovery from ankle surgery can be long and hard, which is why it is extremely important to have the best care possible. If you have a severe ankle sprain, seek help from our foot and ankle specialists in Nashville and Franklin, TN. Our orthopedic specialists’ goal is always to evaluate conservative treatments before considering surgery.
Sprained ankle. OrthoInfo. (n.d.). Retrieved November 22, 2021, from https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/sprained-ankle/.