Ankle sprains can be categorized into 3 severities:
Mild (Grade 1)
- Minor tearing to the ligament, no instability, mild pain and swelling and some difficulty walking
Moderate (Grade 2)
- Moderate tearing to the ligament, some instability, moderate pain and swelling with stiffness and significant trouble walking
Severe (Grade 3)
- Total rupture of the ligament, severe swelling and pain. Sometimes inability to walk
It is important to get professional consultation after an ankle sprain, no matter how mild the sprain looks at the time. There may be further damage to bones, tendons and other joints. For grades 1 and 2, treatment usually consists of the following:
- Protection – with splinting and taping
- Rest – removal from aggravating activities, use of crutches if severe
- Ice – reduces pain and inflammation after injury
- Compression – with tensor bandages help control swelling
- Elevation – during rest helps restrict fluid and swelling in the ankle
Once swelling and pain are under control within 3-4 days, immediate rehab and weight bearing should begin. Under supervision by a professional, patients and athletes can expect recovery within 2-6 weeks in most cases.
***Disclaimer: The above information should be used in context with advice and treatment given by an injury professional. We recommend you seek professional consultation before acting on any information presented above.