Recover form and ankle sprain

What is a Sprained Ankle?

sprained ankle occurs when you overstretch your ankle ligaments. Ankle sprains vary in their severity. Mild “twisted ankle” or “rolled ankle” sprains, through to severe complete ligament ruptures. In extreme cases, avulsion fractures (minor attachment fractures) or fractures (significantly broken bones).

What Causes a Sprained Ankle?

Ankle sprains are over-stretched ligaments. Injuries can occur by simply rolling your ankle on some unstable ground. Common examples of this happen. Landing unbalanced from a jump, awkwardly planting your foot when running, or stepping onto an uneven surface can cause an ankle sprain.

How is a Sprained Ankle Diagnosed?

Your physiotherapist is highly skilled in assessing and diagnosing an ankle sprain. Your physiotherapist will listen to your injury history and perform a thorough clinical examination to determine the severity of your sprained ankle.

Your physio may refer you for additional diagnostic tests such as an X-ray or MRI if required. These tests will confirm or exclude specific ligament or bone injuries.

Sprained Ankle Recovery Time

How long does it take for an ankle sprain to heal?

There is no specific time frame that sprained ankle recover. While we know ligaments themselves will take at least six weeks to heal, your muscle strength, range of motion, proprioception, and return to function can vary considerably. Here are some general guidelines.

Grade 1 – Mild

In mild cases, you can expect complete ligament healing within 2 to 3 weeks, but it will take at least six weeks for full scar tissue maturation.

Despite most people being told to “rest” and it will recover, we find that these mild sprains often result in joint stiffness, ligament laxity, muscle weakness or tightness, plus reduced proprioception (balance and joint awareness).

If not adequately treated, these often cause your ankle and foot joints to compensate for movement at adjacent joints, which can lead to several other injuries months or years down the track.

Grade 2 – Moderate

Grade 2 injuries occur when you have a significant ligament injury that allows the ligament to excessively stretch. In most cases, these injuries result in a recovery period of 4 to 6 weeks. With increasing injury severity, the rehabilitation process becomes more complex and extensive.

You should thoroughly rehabilitate all Grade 2 injuries to enable:

  • full range of motion and strength
  • full proprioception, power, and agility
  • full return to sport-specific drills

Grade 3 – Severe

Grade 3 ligament injuries are when the ligament is completely ruptured. More severe ankle sprain injuries can also include fractures of the bones or high ankle sprains, which will require additional rehabilitation to a simple lower ankle sprain.

A Grade 3 ankle sprain rehabilitation takes typically 6 to 12 weeks but is quite variable depending on your specific injury. Your physiotherapist or surgeon will be able to provide you with more specific guidelines and advice.

For more specific advice about your sprained ankle, please speak to one of our amazing physiotherapists at PhysioWorks in Airdrie, Alberta.

PhysioWorks is a locally a owned and operated Airdrie Physiotherapy Clinic; make us your go to Airdrie Physiotherapy ankle sprain clinic.

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