Ways to Shorten Your Ankle Sprain Recovery

Ankle sprains and ligament tears are pretty common. In fact, most people will suffer from an ankle sprain at least once in their life. While athletes are the most likely to experience these types of injuries, anyone can sprain their ankle. Even while doing everyday activities like walking, you run the risk of damaging your ankles. These kinds of injuries can be limiting because you have to stay off your feet. You might be wondering how long your sprained ankle recovery time will take and if there’s a way to shorten your ankle sprain recovery time. Lucky for you, we have some tips and tricks to accelerate your recovery time. Read along to learn more about how to heal a sprained ankle and the answer to “Can walking on a sprained ankle make it worse?”

top of foot painSprained Ankle Recovery Time

Depending on how severe your injury is, a sprained ankle recovery might take anywhere from three weeks to six months. The first thing to keep in mind is that proper medical treatment is key to the quickest recovery time. If you haven’t seen a doctor about your ankle yet, it’s time to make an appointment. A doctor will be able to properly diagnose your condition and give you the appropriate initial treatment to help you recover. These initial treatments typically include resting the affected body part and taking medication to help swelling. The first step to speeding up your sprained ankle recovery time is visiting a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and care. 

Here are the different types of ankle sprains that can occur, along with their typical recovery times. 

Grade 1

A grade 1 ankle sprain is the least severe. Your sprain might be considered grade 1 if there is only a stretch or mild tear in the ligament. Common symptoms of a grade 1 ankle sprain include mild tenderness, as well as swelling and stiffness. Your ankle will feel okay, and you’ll be able to walk with minimal pain. Most of these sprains will heal within three weeks. But it can, in some cases, take up to 5 weeks for an injury like this to heal. 

Grade 2

A grade 2 or second-degree ankle sprain happens when half the ligament is torn. This is still an incomplete tear, but the pain will be more severe. You’re likely to experience moderate pain with bruising and swelling. The damaged area will feel sensitive to touch and walking on the injured ankle will be painful. Recovery from this type of sprain tends to take anywhere from four to six weeks.

Grade 3

This is a complete tear of the ligament and the most serious type of sprain. You will likely experience extreme pain along with intense swelling and bruising. Walking on the affected ankle is not possible because the ankle will give out. This is the type of sprain that takes anywhere from three to six months to heal. 

ankle injuryHow to Heal a Sprained Ankle

Once you’ve been to the doctor and gotten your initial treatment, you may wonder if there are other ways to help heal a sprained ankle. Many people find it helpful to wear bandages or a brace over the ankle to keep the joint from moving. Additionally, many people will use crutches to help them walk. For faster ankle sprain recovery and to prevent any long-term issues, think of RICE. RICE is a method used in treating a lot of soft tissue injuries like sprains, strains, and bruises. It’s an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. This method of treating injuries is typically utilized by high school athletes in the first two days of being injured. 

Resting allows you to protect the area from any additional strain. As soon as you start feeling symptoms of an injury, rest the body part that hurts. You should do this until you can see a doctor or until you can use the body part without feeling any pain. To help with swelling, apply ice to the affected area. Don’t put the ice directly on the skin. Instead, use a towel or cloth to wrap it before applying. Compression provides a similar effect for swelling. Wrapping your injured limb in a bandage will reduce swelling, thus helping you feel better quicker. Just make sure you don’t wrap it too tight, as it could create the opposite effect. Finally, elevating the limb and keeping it above heart level allows for more circulation. 

Can Walking on a Sprained Ankle Make It Worse? 

Now that you know how to help heal a sprained ankle, it’s time to take action. As soon as you are injured, it’s important to see a doctor. Your doctor will be able to diagnose the issue and make sure you receive proper medical treatment. This is the most important part of accelerating your ankle sprain recovery time. Receiving treatment immediately is paramount to healing faster. You’ll also want to avoid walking on your injured limb and generally avoid activities, as walking on a sprained ankle can make it worse. The “rest” part of RICE is crucial for complete recovery without complications. In some cases, a sprained ankle might require surgery in order to heal completely. Consult your doctor about what treatments are right for you. 

It’s important to note that if a sprained ankle is not cared for, issues with the affected joint will persist. Not taking proper care of your injury often results in chronic problems. You might find that pain and instability in the ankle persist if you don’t give yourself the right care. These chronic medical issues can cause worse problems in the future and make reinjury more likely. Go to the doctor, use the RICE method, and take the necessary precautions to keep your ankles strong. Your body knows when something is wrong, and pain is its way of telling you.

heel braceFoot & Ankle Specialists Near Algonquin, IL

If you’re searching for specialists in the Algonquin, IL area, check out Foot & Ankle Specialists of Illinois. We specialize in comprehensive foot and ankle care. Whether you have a sprained ankle, heel pain, or any other podiatric condition, let us help. 

Written by Ali Hyderi