How long does it take to heal a sprained ankle? 

How long does it take to heal a sprained ankle? 

An ankle sprain can be caused by abnormal or excessive joint motion. Many ligaments to provide stability support the ankle joint and a sprain can occur in almost any direction depending on the injury! The most common type of ankle sprain is on the outside of the ankle, and usually caused by rolling on the side of the foot. 


Symptoms of an ankle injury can vary and are dependent on the grade of ligament sprain. For example a grade 1 ligament sprain can appear quite mild with only some tenderness to touch and minimal swelling. If you sustain a grade 3 injury, you may present with lots of swelling, an inability to weight bear and instability at the ankle. 


During the early stages after an ankle sprain (depending on the grade), there may be a period of rest, icing, compression, elevation and minimal weight bearing to manage swelling, with some gentle movement exercises to maintain range. Your physiotherapist will guide you on when it is safe to start increasing mobility, strength, functional gait, balance and stability, and may begin some gentle mobilizations to the ankle joint to reduce stiffness. 

Once general function has improved along with strength, your physiotherapist will support with sport specific exercises; this will usually be around 8 weeks depending on the presenting injury. 


It is common to have reoccurring injury to the ankle after initial sprain, even years down the line. It is worth having a conversation with your Physiotherapist about appropriate footwear, return to sporting activities and an ongoing rehab program to maintain ankle strength so you can continue to enjoy the sports that you love! 


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