Sprained ankle recovery time varies based on the severity of the sprain. If you've ever sprained an ankle, you know it's every bit as painful as a broken bone, and trying to rush your recovery can cause just as many complications. Check out the following guidelines for sprained ankle recovery time.
A Grade 1 sprain occurs when you "tweak" your ankle. Grade 1 ankle sprains are pretty common. This minor sprain occurs when you stretch the ligaments in your ankle a little too far, causing minor damage. You'll feel it as some slight tenderness, and maybe a little bit of swelling. Treatment generally involves "taking it easy"; in other words, don't run the Boston Marathon. As long as you don't further injure the ligaments, you can expect to be back to normal in a week or two.
A Grade 2 sprain is a bit more serious. A Grade 2 sprained ankle means that you've caused significant damage to the ligaments. You probably can't put weight on that foot without some pain, it's obviously swollen, and you can't move it as much. Treatment in this case is a little more involved than just stopping what you were doing. You will definitely want to follow the R.I.C.E. routine (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate), but you'll want to stay off the ankle as much as possible. You might consider going to a doctor and getting an air cast, basically a packing balloon for your ankle, to immobilize it. At this point, you're looking at two to three weeks, possibly a month at the longest.
A Grade 3 sprain is bad news. If you've suffered a Grade 3 sprained ankle, someone is reading this article to you, since you can't read clearly through the tears of pain. With a Grade 3 sprained ankle, the ligament is completely torn. Your ankle is the size and shape of a cantaloupe. It hurts to even think about putting weight on it, which is fine, because if you did you'd fall over. Treatment for a Grade 3 sprained ankle hopefully involves a trip to the emergency room, or else you're risking permanent injury. Generally, you'll be issued a cast or brace to immobilize the joint. In addition to all this, you can anticipate physical therapy to rehabilitate the joint. At this point, you're looking at a month at the absolute minimum, and probably something closer to two or three months, or even longer based on your body's response to therapy.