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How Long Does It Take for a Sprained Ankle to Heal?

sprained ankle

What Are the Symptoms of a Sprained Ankle?

Sprained ankle symptoms depend on the severity of the sprain and may include:

  • Pain, particularly when you put too much weight on the foot
  • Ankle is tender to the touch
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Limited range of motion
  • Instability in the ankle
  • Redness and warmth
  • Popping sound or sensation at the time of injury

What Can Cause a Sprained Ankle?

An ankle sprain happens when the ankle is forced to move out of its natural position, causing stretched or torn ligament(s). Causes of a sprained ankle can include:

  • Twisting your ankle during a fall
  • Exercising or walking on an uneven surface
  • Someone steps or lands on your foot which can be common in sports activities
  • Pivoting or jumping then experiencing a difficult landing on your foot
  • Shoes that don't fit properly or high-heeled shoes. Both can make your ankles more vulnerable to injury.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Sprained Ankle?

Recovery time from a sprained ankle will depend on the severity of the sprain. 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 fully recover. Severe sprains may cause excruciating pain, crutches may be needed. A return to regular activities may be delayed for weeks or months.

What Are Treatment Options for a Sprained Ankle?

Sprained ankle treatment depends on the severity of the injury. In many cases, self-care and relaxing may be all that’s required. It’s important to remember to rest, apply ice, and elevate your ankle immediately after a sprain.

When Should You See a Doctor for a Sprained Ankle?

Seek medical care when:

  • The pain is so severe, even when you have rested and iced the affected area.
  • It's hard to walk or you can't walk at all without experiencing a lot of pain.
  • After 5-7 days, your ankle hasn't improved.

Your doctor will determine how severe your sprain is, and what type of treatment you’ll need for a full recovery.

How Can You Prevent a Sprained Ankle?

Avoid a sprained ankle by:

  • Keep your ankles strong and flexible with strengthening exercises.
  • Wear the right shoes appropriate for an activity. Avoid high-heeled shoes when possible.
  • Tape a weak ankle for added support or wear an ankle brace during sports activities.
  • Warm up before you exercise or play sports.
  • Watch where you walk or run to avoid uneven surfaces.

If you suspect you have an ankle sprain and are looking for treatment options, make an appointment today with one of our NY Orthopedics locations in New York City. Our “Centers of Excellence” offer top-level orthopedic treatment for any concerns about your ankle and other joints, all in one location.

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