Have you suffered an injury while playing any sports? Do you have symptoms such as pain and swelling in the affected area? If so, it's probably because you've suffered a sprain. This injury, also known as a sprain, occurs when the ligaments or fibrous tissue that join the joints tear without breaking in areas such as the ankle, wrists, knee and / or thumbs. In addition to suffering from constant pain in the affected area, a sprain is characterized by other symptoms such as swelling, bruising and a very limited ability to move the joint where the damaged ligaments are located.
Generally, a mild sprain usually recovers at home with rest and other treatments such as ice, compression and elevations. But how long does it take to cure a sprain? Keep reading this article in which we will explain what kind of sprains exist and how much the recovery period can cover.
Causes and symptoms of a sprain
A sprain is an injury that occurs when the ligaments surrounding the joints of either the ankle, knee, or wrist stretch too far until they end up being damaged. The causes may be one or the other depending on the place where we have suffered the sprain:
- Ankle: it is the most frequent sprain of all. It is usually caused by walking or running frequently on uneven surfaces.
- Wrist: In this case, the cause is usually by supporting a hand to cushion a fall.
- Knee: this sprain is caused, mainly, by a bad turn during a sports activity.
- Thumb: It is produced by excessively stretching this finger during sports such as tennis.
Other factors that increase the risk of suffering this injury also influence, such as insufficient physical conditioning, lack of warm-up before starting to exercise, poor quality footwear or other sports equipment and frequently practicing sports in unsuitable areas such as slippery surfaces.
Whatever the area where you have suffered the sprain, the main symptoms that appear with this lesion are the following:
- Constant pain in the affected area.
- Appearance of bruises in the event that the sprain has been caused by a blow.
- Very limited difficulty and ability to move in the affected joints.
- Snap in the joint when the sprain occurs.
Types of sprains according to their severity
There are different types of sprains depending on the severity of this injury. Next, we explain what types of sprains we can suffer:
- First-degree sprain: In this type a strain or strain in the ligaments occurs. The sprain usually produces mild pain and minimal swelling in the affected area.
- Second-degree sprain: in this case, the ligaments can be partially ruptured, immediately producing pain and swelling in the joints much more intense than in the previous case.
- Third degree sprain: it is the most serious sprain of all producing a total rupture of the ligaments of a certain joint.
How long does it take to cure a sprain – here the answer
If you have recently suffered from this injury, it is normal to wonder how long it takes to heal a sprain. However, there is no set number of days, as the time it takes for your ligaments to recover will depend on the following three factors:
Recovery as a function of severity
As we have explained above, a sprain can be of one type or another depending on the severity of the injury. In the event that your injury is first or second degree, the period it will take to heal from a sprain is between 3 and 6 weeks.
However, if your sprain is in third-degree injuries, it could take more than 8 weeks to recover and even much longer if surgery were eventually required.
Healing depends on treatments
Generally, when it comes to a mild sprain (that is, first or second degree), the treatment usually recommended by doctors is to rest at home for a few days, use ice packs to reduce swelling, understand the area with elastic bands and assign some medications to relieve pain in the affected area.
However, if you do not follow the treatments recommended by the specialist, surely the sprain will take much longer to heal completely.
Suffering from other associated injuries
Another factor that could influence the healing time is whether at the time you suffered the sprain, other injuries associated with it also occurred. Among these injuries, we find:
- Bone fracture (such as fibula or talus).
- Subluxation of peroneal tendons.
- Osteochondral lesions.
- Chronic ligament rupture.