“How long does it take to heal a sprained ankle?” is one of the most common questions we get in our practice. The reason is that most ankle sprains are not treated correctly and thus usually do not heal as fast as they should. In fact, every week we see people still experiencing pain from an ankle sprain three, six, nine and even 12 months after the injury.
Contrary to popular belief, ankle sprains are a serious injury. Studies show that over 50% of patients who sprain their ankle one time, develop a condition called “chronic ankle instability” where they sprain it multiple times. And multiple ankle sprains can lead to arthritis of the ankle joint.
Fotunately, however, there has been a tremendous amount of research on ankle sprains and there are very effective ways to treat ankle sprains, prevent future problems and get you back to full activity. Even months or years after an injury, proper rehabilitation has been shown to work extremely well.
So how long does it take to heal an ankle sprain? In general, from the time we start treatment, we can have people back to exercise activity wearing an ankle brace in about 4 weeks. They will wear an ankle brace during exercise and sports for 4 – 12 weeks depending on how their rehab goes.
We highly recommend that you see a sports medicine podiatrist to treat your ankle. Ankle sprains can cause pain for a very long time if not treated correctly, so it is in your best interest to see a professional. If you are in the Seattle area you can make an appointment to see us to treat your ankle sprain. If you are outside of the Seattle area, you may find someone near you on our list of podiatrists.
If you cannot see a podiatrist right away, you can find home treatment recommendations for ankle sprains here.
You are not alone if your ankle sprain is taking a long time to heal. In fact, unless you have had proper treatment, it is normal for ankle sprains not to heal. But don’t worry – when treated correctly, ankle sprains will heal. Use the links above to learn more and then see a sports medicine podiatrist. You’ll be back to full activity soon.