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Sports Medicine

Severely prained ankle



What is the expected timeline of recovery for a severely sprained ankle?


What is the expected timeline of recovery for a severely sprained ankle?

Without being able to examine you in person and ask additional questions regarding your current condition it is very difficult to make an accurate diagnosis over the internet. I would definitely recommend that you see your family physician regarding your question.

Having said that, there are different types of ankle sprains. By definition, a sprain means an injury to a ligament and a strain implies injury to a muscle. In the ankle there are several different ligaments. Three ligaments are on the lateral (outer) side and one ligament is on the medial (inner) side of he ankle. There is also a ligament higher in the ankle that runs between the tibia and fibula (the two lower leg bones).

The most commonly injured ligament is on the lateral side of the ankle called the anterior talofibular ligament. With appropriate therapy and treatment one can expect to return to full activity in a number of days or multiple weeks depending on the severity of the injury. I suggest you see you physician to be sure you are doing the appropriate exercises to strengthen your ankle.

The other type of ankle sprain is called the "high ankle sprain." This involves the ligament running between the tibia and fibula. When this ligament is injured this represents a more significant injury. It is important to see your physician because treatment may be very different depending on how severe the injury is. Patients typically return to full activity much slower with this type of sprain.

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Response by:

Darrin   Bright, MD Darrin Bright, MD
Clinical Faculty, Team Physician
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University