Ankle sprain recovery time can vary from less than 3 weeks in mild sprains that are managed correctly through to ankles that take many years to recover. Permanent weakness and issues with chronic pain are more common than you might think after bad ankle sprains. If you are concerned about recovery time seek a professional who takes a hands on approach to your pain and have them move you towards a serious approach to rehabilitation. Loosely speaking the recovery time for ankle sprains are as follows.
Grade I Sprained Ankle
This grade of sprained ankle involves microscopic tears in the ligaments of the ankle. The symptoms generally include mild tenderness, mild swelling, and stiffness. The ankle feels relatively stable and it is usually possible to walk even immediately after the injury with moderate or minimal pain.
Grade 1 sprained ankles generally resolve in 1 – 3 weeks sometimes even without treatment. It is worth noting that multiple Grade 1 sprained ankles can set up a weakness in the ankle and should not be ignored. Repeat sprains is generally a sign of weakness as opposed to bad luck.
Grade II Sprained Ankle
A Grade II sprained ankle signifies a minor or partial tear with moderate pain, noteable swelling, and sometimes visible bruising . Although the ankle may feel relatively stable a Grade II sprained ankle can affect the way you walk. The injured area is usually very tender to the touch, and walking is painful.
The recovery time for Grade II sprained ankles varies a great deal and is influenced by many factors. If you are tracking well and your body is not struggling to heal you should most definitely be improving. Planning to be moving well and without pain or limitation in day to day movements within 4-6 weeks is a good start point.
Grade III Sprained Ankle
A Grade III sprained ankle is a major injury, involving a complete tear of a ligament or of multiple ankle ligaments. Grade III ankle sprains all have a significant recovery time that starts with dramatic swelling, joint immobility and visible bruising. The ankle is unstable and usually meaningful weight bearing is not possible due to intense pain.
Even under ideal circumstance it is still perfectly normal for Grade III sprained ankles to take several months just to heal and be relatively pain free. Recovery to full strength after a Grade III ankle sprain is something that warrants the intention of being worked on for years not months. This is due to the likelihood of recurrence and long standing pain syndromes.