Can a Sprained Ankle Get Worse?

Spraining your ankle is not a pleasant experience. Some who have broken bones say that a nasty ankle sprain feels worse. Worst of all, it can happen so easily.

One moment, you’re walking or running along serenely and the next you have twisted your ankle and sprained it.

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The pain can be excruciating, but it’s an all too common injury amongst runners. If you have recently sprained your ankle, you’re probably wondering how long it takes to heal and if it can get any worse.

In today’article we will be discussing sprained ankles and answering some of the most frequently asked queries about this common injury. 

Read on to find out more.

How Do You Sprain Your Ankle?

Spraining an ankle is usually caused by twisting or pulling your ankle sideways. Most people who sprain their ankles do so when they’re playing sports or hiking.

However, it can happen just getting out of bed or walking down the sidewalk. A sprain happens when ligaments stretch out of place and can be very painful.

Symptoms Of A Sprained Ankle

A sprained ankle is painful right after an injury. Symptoms include swelling, bruising, and instability.

Ankle sprains cause pain and restrict movement. You may be unable to walk normally or run properly. It’s typically best to get it checked out by a doctor to ensure it’s not broken. 


Mild ankle sprain should be treated by rest, ice, and compression. Elevate your foot above the level of your heart. Place pillows under your leg and knee until your ankle reaches your chest.

Use over-the-counter medicines such as Aleve or Advil to help you feel better.

Don’t wait too long before seeing your doctor. More severe sprains should be seen by a doctor. 

Splints and casts are also used to keep the ankle immobile. Physical therapy helps to restore movement to the ankle joint as well, but this can take some time.

Surgery may be necessary to repair the ligament, but this rarely happens. Most people recover completely within weeks. 

However, if you resume activities too soon, you’re more likely to re-injure yourself. In most cases, physical therapy is recommended if you’ve injured an ankle.

You should see a doctor first to determine whether you need to be treated. After the injury, do ankle strengthening exercises every day until you feel better.

What Happens If You Don’t Treat A Sprained Ankle?

Sprained ankles should be taken care of right away. Torn ligaments need to be fixed before they fuse together. Inflammation needs to be controlled. Chronic pain shouldn’t be ignored.

Can Walking On A Sprained Ankle Make It Worse?

Ankle sprains are common injuries that are usually treated properly. However, if ignored, they can lead to more serious problems.

You should rest and elevate your ankle as much as possible during recovery. Don’t walk around when you have an injured ankle. You should consult a doctor before returning to sports activities.

Physical therapy can be an essential part of treating your ankle sprain. A physical therapist can help you recover more quickly by providing you with exercises and treatments that will improve your range of motion and flexibility.

You may also need to see a doctor or surgeon if you experience pain after physical therapy.

Preventing A Sprained Ankle

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Ankle sprains can be avoided by wearing the right kind of shoes. You should practice balancing exercises and strengthening your ankles.

Don’t walk on rough or uneven surfaces. Brace yourself if you have had previous ankle injuries too as there may be a weakness afterward. 

Warm up before any physical activity, and make sure to stay in shape. Avoid sports or activities that could be too aggressive for your current physical condition.

Ankle injuries can weaken the ankle joint, and lead to other problems down the road. See your doctor if you’ve been having frequent ankle sprains.

Should I Have Physiotherapy?

Simple sprains get better without special treatment. Severe injuries require medical attention. Your doctor can help you choose the right specialist. Sports clubs often offer physiotherapy services too so consult with these if you’re a member.

How Physical Therapy Makes A Sprained Ankle Better

Sprained ankles are usually caused by falling down or slipping on something. Physical therapy helps patients learn how to walk properly and prevent future injuries.

Ankle injuries should be treated by a physical therapist who specializes in this type of injury.

A manual therapy session could help decrease pain and swelling. Range-of-movement exercises could help improve ankle mobility. Stretching exercises could help prevent future injuries.

Will You Need An Operation?

Ankle surgery is not usually recommended unless there is pain and instability. A brace may be used instead of surgery. Surgery is appropriate if there is pain and instability, but a brace may work well enough. Ankle surgery is used to treat injuries to the ankle joint.

A tendon is removed and replaced by a synthetic material. Stitches hold the repaired tissues together. After surgery, the patient needs to wear a cast or brace for several weeks.

Physiotherapy helps the patient recover normal movement. 

A ligament reconstruction operation is an operation to repair damaged ligaments in the body. This may be required for some severe sprains. There are many types of ligaments, but the most common ones are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament.

These two ligaments are located in the knee joint, and help stabilize the knee joint, however. When these ligaments are torn, they need to be repaired.

This surgery usually involves reattaching them to the bone using screws or sutures. Ligament reconstruction operations are often done when there is a tear in the ACL and/or PCL.

Final Thoughts

The answer is yes, sprained ankles are definitely likely to get worse if you ignore the symptoms. Make sure you rest your ankle, apply a coolant and allow the injury to heal before applying any significant pressure to it. 

Megan Rinzel
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