Do sprains ever get better?

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So I had a terrible grade-2 ankle sprain back in April. After 3 months, it's still swollen and I have trouble walking down the stairs. Limping has almost 70% decreased than what it was a month ago. Went to a new ortho doc recently as the doc whom I consulted earlier was out of town for months. He said that this sprain could stay life long and may not ever get back to normal the way it was earlier and could damage my knees and other joints. I'm in my early 20s. So does it ever get better or the new doc was simply scaring me for no reason?

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    Hey. It is well known that a severe sprain can take up to a year to recover. If your ankle has lost stability make sure you go back to your doctor but a sprain could be muscle/tendon/ligament damage And that does take a while to recover.

  • Posted


    Had a similar situation where I was told I had a severe sprain that never seemed to heal.  Went to 3 doctors over 3 months, had 2 xrays taken and was told it was severely sprained.  I could move my foot up and down, but was unable to move my foot to the sides without severe pain.  It got worse and worse. On month 3 1/2, I woke up in severe pain, unable to put any weight on my foot, went to the ER.  Took more xrays, no brake.  Was referred to Doctor #5 the next day, he put me in a boot for a few weeks. It still wasn't better.  Saw doctor # 6 and had another set of xrays done.  This time they took an xray when I was standing instead of sitting and they found an exra bone in my foot that had broken off and was causing the problem.  It took 4 3/4 months to find the real issue and fix it. Had it removed and now the pain and issues are gone. 

    While it is possible that you have a severe sprain, you also know your own body and the pain you are experiencing.  So if you think it is something more, try seeing a different ortho surgeon. It could be something rare that most doctors are overlooking.

    Hope you are able to get some relief soon!

    • Posted

      Hi John, 

      I fell in Dec '16.  Grade 3 sprain. Couldn't walk even being told I could. So much pain that was happening.  I thought I would get back to normal but it just never has happened.  After 3 doctors and many X-rays of saying "just a sprain" ... I found a new specialist that ruled out that it was broken, but we got an MRI finally!   Torn pretty badly ligaments and tendons on the right ankle and broken cartilage on the left foot from landing on that foot during my fall. 

      Three surgeries later and I'm still in pain daily. 

      Tendons/ ligaments/ sprains are much more difficult to heal and have relief from. Any soft tissue has a difficult time healing. 

      Request an MRI just to rule out if anything is torn. Can't see that with a Cat scan or X-ray.

      Good luck!


  • Posted


    I'd venture to guess that your consulting ortho doctor is not very professional in suggesting to you that your bad sprain is hopeless. Please ask him for me on what factual data does he base his negative opinion?

    Without knowing all the details of your case it is impossible to give you a clear idea on your ankle's prognosis. It is possible you did not treat your sprain immediately with proper protocol (P.R.I.C.E-- look it up) to prevent further damage while it attempted to heal.

    If you initially did not stay off that banged up ankle but rather decided to keep a stiff upper lip and carry on with walking, etc., then it is possible that any injury-damaged soft tissue (ligaments, tendons, muscles, nerves, etc.) got even further behind the 8 ball as far as recovery is concerned.

    If it were me I would ditch that gloomy ortho doctor and find a really competent foot and ankle specialist that deals with your specific type of injury day in and day out. That's your best chance now to see a happy day of recovery to normal life.


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