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How long does it take to recover from a sprained ankle?

Dr. Andrew S. Levy, MD
Sports Medicine Specialist

Rate of recovery depends on severity of sprain, optimal treatment, therapy and whether there was any additional damage to the joint surface. Most sprains recover by 6 weeks with good treatment.

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. This involves partial tearing of the ligaments. Signs of a grade two sprain include instability, moderate to severe pain, swelling, stiffness and possible bruising.

Grade three sprains can take 8 to 12 weeks to heal. This is a complete tear of the ligament. With grade three sprains, there is a lot of instability within the joint, severe pain when the injury occurs and no pain after injury, severe swelling and excessive bruising.

This answer provided for NATA by the California University of Pennsylvania Athletic Training Education Program.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.