How Long Does It Take a Sprained Ankle to Heal?

A closeup image of a doctor in blue scrubs with a stethoscope around his neck wrapping a patient’s injured ankle.

How Long Does It Take a Sprained Ankle to Heal? Here’s What You Should Know

You just injured your ankle. Now what?

A sprained ankle is a common injury that affects children and adults alike. 

Whether you twisted it walking or hurt it while playing a sport, a sprained ankle causes immediate pain that can lead to swelling and tenderness days after the injury. 

While at-home treatment typically involves switching between cold and hot therapy and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, it can be hard to tell precisely how long a sprained ankle and the associated pain will last.

Here we answer the common but important question, “How long does it take a sprained ankle to heal?” and review other important aspects, including exactly what a sprained ankle is, its symptoms, and treatment options. 

Continue reading to learn more.

First, What Is a Sprained Ankle?

A sprained ankle is a direct injury to your ankle after rolling, twisting, or turning it uncomfortably or improperly. 

Various lifestyle factors can cause it, but some of the most common causes include

  • running
  • sports
  • walking on uneven surfaces
  • a fall
  • another person stepping on your foot

When a sprained ankle occurs, the ligaments that hold the ankle bone in place stretch or tear, leading to the associated pain and symptoms you may encounter. 

Sprained Ankle Symptoms

Although pain and swelling are the most common result of a sprained ankle, other common symptoms include

  • tenderness, especially around the ankle and foot
  • bruising
  • ankle instability
  • difficulty walking
  • trouble putting pressure on the ankle and foot
  • a popping sensation or sound at the time of injury 

Diagnosis and Treatment 

While at-home remedies are a great quick fix to relieve pain, seeking a proper diagnosis and treatment plan from a medical professional is essential.

Most ankle injuries are first evaluated using an x-ray to check for broken bones. If the injury is severe, an MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound may be used to determine the extent.

Depending on the severity, treatment may involve a mix of at-home self-care methods, including RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), along with

  • pain medication
  • crutches or other assistive devices 
  • physical therapy to restore full range of motion

In rarer cases, you may be prescribed pain medication or require surgical intervention for proper healing.

How Long Does It Take a Sprained Ankle to Heal?

Generally speaking, a sprained ankle takes about 4 to 6 weeks to heal fully.

It is important to remember that the healing time for a sprained ankle depends on a few factors, including

  • the severity, or grade, of an ankle injury, 
  • your unique health and medical history, 
  • and the treatment type and frequency you follow to help prompt healing.

If you’re living with a sprained ankle that seems to worsen over time, we encourage you to visit your local urgent care facility for further evaluation and treatment. 

Prompt Urgent Care for a Sprained Ankle in Oxford

If you’ve recently suffered an ankle injury, no matter the severity, we are here to help.

It is always best to seek medical attention for injuries so that we can determine whether your ankle-related condition is a sprain or fracture

Avoid the long emergency wait times and visit Oxford Urgent Care to get the prompt attention and personalized care you need now.

We are open seven days a week with no appointments necessary. Simply walk in, and we will help you with your ankle injury.