Can a Sprained Ankle Heal On Its Own?

February 18, 2024

Sprained ankles are a common injury that many people have experienced at some point in their lives. Whether it’s from a misstep during a jog or a simple trip on uneven ground, the sudden twist or roll of the ankle can cause some serious pain. After such an injury occurs, many people wonder if it can resolve on its own or if medical intervention is necessary. In this blog, we'll explore the signs of a sprained ankle, the body’s healing process, and when it might be necessary to seek medical attention.

For same-day injury care, visit the walk-in clinic at AFC Urgent Care Cortez. Our urgent care center specializes in diagnosing and treating many common injuries– from broken bones to sprained ankles. Appointments are not required– just walk-in at your convenience!

Understanding a Sprained Ankle

A sprained ankle occurs when the ankle rolls, twists or turns in an abnormal way. This stretches and tears the ligaments, which connect the bones of the ankle joint and causes pain that leaves you unable to move properly. The pain of a sprained ankle usually depends on how much ligament tear occurred.

The signs of a sprained ankle depends on the severity of the injury, but common symptoms include:

  • Pain around the ankle joint
  • Swelling around the ankle
  • Discoloration or bruising around the ankle
  • Difficulty walking or bearing weight
  • Ankle stiffness

Can a Sprained Ankle Heal On Its Own?

Yes, most sprained ankles can heal on their own with proper care and time. The body is capable of healing and taking care of itself and it can certainly repair damaged ligaments naturally. But for an injury like ligament damage, it could take some time, from a few days to several weeks for a perfect healing. It’s important to avoid putting weight on the injured ankle. Gentle stretches and exercise can help restore strength and flexibility to the affected ankle. However, severe sprains or those accompanied by other complications may require medical attention. It’s always best to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment recommendations.

How To Treat a Sprained Ankle

A sprained ankle is best treated with the R.I.C.E method – an acronym for rest, ice, compression and elevation.

1. Rest: Rest your leg and let healing happen, stressing the ankle can cause further strain.

2. Ice: Apply an ice pack wrapped in a thin cloth directly on the sprain for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours during the first 48 hours. It helps with swelling and pain.

3. Compression: This means wrapping the injured ankle with an elastic bandage to restrict pressure on it and reduce swelling. Don’t wrap too tightly though, that restricts blood flow.

4. Elevation: Raise your sprained ankle above the level of your heart as much as possible. This causes fluid to drain away from the sprained area and reduces swelling.

When to Seek Urgent Care For a Sprained Ankle

A sprained ankle is definitely a pain, but with a little care it can heal on its own. But if you notice any of these symptoms you should contact a healthcare professional:

  • Persistent pain even with R.I.C.E.
  • Consistent swelling and bruising even with R.I.C.E.
  • Extreme pain when bearing any weight on the sprained foot.
  • The ankle feels unstable or gives way frequently.
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in the foot.
  • The injury is accompanied by an open wound or deformity of the ankle joint.

Get Walk-In Injury Care at AFC Urgent Care Cortez

A sprained ankle is more than just an annoying pain at times. It’s important to seek proper medical attention for injuries. At AFC Urgent Care Cortez, your health is our top priority. We provide quality injury treatment seven days a week on a walk-in basis. If you’re looking for quick and affordable treatment for your acute injury without the cost or time commitment of the ER, visit us today. For more information about injuries that we treat and the care we can provide, please call us directly at 970-516-5500.

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