If you suspect you sprained your ankle, there are some things you should know about how long the healing process can take and what you need to do at home to help it along. This article will cover some basics about what to do if you sprained your ankle as well as when to call a doctor.
Typical Healing Time for a Sprained Ankle
In most cases, a sprained ankle heals in about six weeks, although if it’s a severe sprain, it could take up to four months to heal. Since sprained ankles are more common in athletes, this injury may affect your ability to play sports or do physical activity for at least a little while. Helping your ankle heal properly is paramount in ensuring that you’ll be able to go back to your athletic activities.
Keeping the Ankle Stable
Ankle support should be used during the healing process of a sprained ankle. Some examples of ankle support include:
- Hiking boots
- Air stirrups
- Ankle braces
In extreme cases, your doctor may recommend you use crutches and try not to bear weight on your foot. Once you heal for a little while, if you can, you should bear a little bit of weight on the ankle to help promote healing.
Exercises to Promote Healing
If you can, do some stretching and range of motion exercises to help promote healing. These are important to do in order to prevent joint weakness and instability. If the sprain is minor, walking while wearing some kind of ankle support is fine as long as you don’t feel pain and discomfort.
When to Call a Doctor
There are certain tell-tale signs that you should call a doctor, usually with more severe ankle sprains. If you notice any of the following symptoms after you sprain your ankle, you should call your doctor to get checked out.
- Severe swelling, bruising, and moderate pain
- You heard a popping or tearing sound at the time of the sprain
- You can’t bear weight or walk on your foot
- Your swelling or bruising last more than two weeks
- You see no improvement in your ankle after one week
- You have redness, swelling, or pain in your leg or groin; this could be a blood clot
In some cases, there are more pressing issues, so calling to set up an appointment may not be the best course of action. If you notice any of the following, call your doctor immediately and get help.
- You feel severe pain
- You can’t move your ankle
- You feel lasting tingling or numbness in your foot or toes
- Your foot or leg bends at an unusual angle
- Your foot is cool, pale, or changes color
If you have any other symptoms that you would consider severe, see a doctor immediately as these could indicate something worse than a sprained ankle.
Luckily, we have same day appointments available here at Milwaukee Foot & Ankle Specialists! If you have severe symptoms or just want to make sure you receive the best care possible, please give us a call today. We’re here to help! 414-439-2279.