ZocdocAnswersAfter a strained ankle, how long can it be swollen?

Question

After a strained ankle, how long can it be swollen?

I strained my ankle 4 weeks ago. I went to the ER back then . got an X ray. nothing broken.It is still a little bit swollen but not really painful. Is it normal?

Answer

I am glad to hear that you are recovering so well. It sounds like you have no real pain left, which is excellent. As you know, a sprain or strain occurs when tension or twisting on a joint such as the ankle causes the ligaments holding the bones together to stretch and sometimes tear. This is generally accompanied by swelling and pain, even though the bones themselves are rarely broken. The treatment of a sprain or strain is antiinflammatory medicines, rest, elevation of the extremity and the like, all things which you have presumably already done at this point. Sprains can take a long time to heal completely. Even when the pain is gone, some weakness and swelling can persists for weeks to months. Although still having some swelling 4 weeks out is not concerning in and of itself, it does indicate that the healing is not totally finished. Therefore, you have to be still careful with the ankle, especially about resuming exercise or otherwise straining the joint. A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything that causing pain or makes the swelling worse. If you have any further questions about your ankle, feel free to mention them to your primary care doctor.

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

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