Ankle Sprain

Ankle Sprain Specialist
At Hayward Foot & Ankle Center, with locations in Harder-Tennyson and Mountain View, California, Dr. Bita Mostaghimi helps individuals with ankle sprains. Highly respected by patients and peers, Dr. Mostaghimi is regarded by many as one of the leading ankle sprain specialists serving the East Bay and Silicon Valley areas of San Francisco.

Ankle Sprain Q & A

by Bita Mostaghimi, DPM

What is an Ankle Sprain?

An ankle sprain is an injury to one of the ligaments in an ankle that is caused by overstretching the ligament. Ligaments are flexible bands that connect bones. Although they’re meant to be stretched, they can be overstretched -- or even snap.

Ankle sprains can vary in severity from mild to severe. Doctors categorize ankle sprains into three grades:

  • In Grade I ankle sprains, the ligament is only stretched

  • In Grade II ankle sprains, the ligament is partially torn

  • In Grade III ankle sprains, the ligament is completely torn

How Long do Ankle Sprains Take to Heal?

How long it takes to recover from a sprained ankle depends on how severe the sprain is:

  • Grade I sprains typically take a few days to weeks to heal

  • Grade II sprains typically take a month or more to heal

  • Grade III sprains can take up to three months to heal, or even longer

The recovery period also depends on how promptly the sprain is treated and how diligently treatment instructions are followed.

What are the Symptoms of an Ankle Sprain?

Ankle sprains are typically accompanied by a host of symptoms, including the following:

  • Pain

  • Swelling

  • Bruising

  • Instability

  • Limited mobility

There may also be a popping sound when the sprain actually occurs.

The severity of these symptoms usually varies according to the severity of the sprain.

How are Ankle Sprains Treated?

Most mild and moderate (Grade I and Grade II) sprains will heal on their own when properly cared for, and even some severe (Grade III) sprains will naturally heal. To promote a quick and full recovery, patients should rest their ankle, apply ice to reduce swelling (for 15 to 20 minutes at a time is typically recommended), use a bandage to compress the ankle and keep the ankle elevated. In some cases, doctors may also provide a brace for an ankle or recommend specific strengthening exercises.

Some Grade III sprains require surgery. A podiatrist can determine whether surgery is necessary.

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