ZocdocAnswersHow long until I can lightly walk again (severe ankle sprain)?

Question

How long until I can lightly walk again (severe ankle sprain)?

Exactly 7 days ago I dislocated my ankle playing basketball and I popped it back in place. I went to get X-rays and no breaks were found thankfully. The swelling has still not gone away and I still can't apply any pressure to my ankle. I have been resting it, icing it, compressing it, and elevating it daily. I have also been taking over the counter ibuprofen to ease the pain and swelling. My concern is that I have a dental school interview about a week and a half from today and I need to drive to get there. Is there anything I can do to speed up my recovery or will I be better by then?

Answer

Ankle dislocation can be a serious condition that requires evaluation by a joint specialist such as an orthopedic surgeon, and I recommend that you seek formal evaluation by your doctor or a healthcare professional. During an ankle joint injury, multiple tissues can be damaged, including bone, ligament and tendons. X-rays confirming that absence of fracture is reassuring for bone health of the ankle, however, a joint dislocation can lead to tearing of the ligaments holding the ankle joint together to varying degrees. With minor tears, ankle immobilization and rest are often sufficient, though the degree of ligamentous stretching and tearing will determine the duration of time required for non-weight bearing status and joint rest. In certain cases, surgery may be required to repair the joint because although no fractures exist, the ligaments are too damaged to keep the bones of the joint in the appropriate positions. Therefore, it is important that you see an expert in joints to ensure that the appropriate treatment steps are being employed for the optimal healing of your ankle. Until you undergo formal evaluation, it is important that you avoid strenuous use of the injured ankle, as this may lead to further damage.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.