How long do I need to stay off a sprained ankle?
Without some movement, the ankle tissues will become weak. So podiatrists generally recommend staying off the ankle for two or three days, using crutches, and then transitioning to an ankle brace or boot, along with taping for stability while you heal.
If you can put weight on your foot and walk immediately after having twisted your ankle, it's very unlikely that you have broken anything. If the ligaments have only been slightly stretched, you can usually move your foot normally again after a few days. But even minor ankle sprains can be painful.
- In more severe sprains, you may hear and/or feel something tear, along with a pop or snap. You will probably have extreme pain at first and will not be able to walk or even put weight on your foot. Usually, the more pain and swelling you have, the more severe your ankle sprain is and the longer it will take to heal.
- Treating your Sprained Ankle
- Rest your ankle by not walking on it. Limit weight bearing.
- Ice it to keep down the swelling.
- Compression can help control swelling as well as immobilize and support your injury.
- Elevate the foot by reclining and propping it up above the waist or heart as needed.
- A foot sprain is a tear of ligaments, the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect bones to one another inside a joint. Sprains range in severity from Grade I to Grade III. Grade I — The injury is fairly mild, causing microscopic tears or stretching of the ligaments.
It usually takes 5 to 14 days to recover from a grade one ankle sprain. This is when slight stretching and damage occurs to the ligaments. With a grade one sprain, there is slight instability, pain, swelling, joint stiffness and trouble walking. Grade two sprains can take 4 to 6 weeks to heal.
- Symptoms of a broken ankle include:
- Immediate and severe pain.
- Tenderness when touched.
- Inability to put any weight on the injured foot.
- Deformity, particularly if there is a dislocation as well as a fracture.
- A grade 1 sprain is defined as mild damage to a ligament or ligaments without instability of the affected joint. A grade 2 sprain is considered a partial tear to the ligament, in which it is stretched to the point that it becomes loose.
- In regard to return to sport, Grade l sprains typically take 2-4 weeks or more to regain full mobility and for swelling to fully resolve, whereas Grade II sprains, being a little more severe, make take more like 6-8 weeks. A grade III sprain or avulsion fraction recovery time depends on several factors.
If you have a broken ankle or broken foot, you may experience some of the following signs and symptoms:
- Immediate, throbbing pain.
- Pain that increases with activity and decreases with rest.
- Difficulty in walking or bearing weight.
- Broken Foot Symptoms. Broken bones in the foot cause pain and swelling. Usually (but not always) the pain is so bad, that you are not able to walk. Sprains can also cause bad pain, swelling, and bruising, so it is usually not possible to tell if a foot is broken or sprained just by looking at it.
- A sprain causes pain, swelling and loss of movement of the affected part. There may also be bruising, or a blue discolouration. This results in swelling and the blue colouring. A sprain is due to damage to a ligament, which is usually due to a stretching or awkward movement to a joint, eg a twisted ankle.
- Symptoms of a broken ankle include:
- severe pain and tenderness.
- bruising and swelling.
- difficulty moving your foot or putting weight on it.
- the ankle being an odd shape (dislocated)
- a snap or grinding noise at the time of the injury.
- bleeding (if the bone has damaged the skin) – sometimes the bone may poke through the skin.
Updated: 6th October 2019