ZocdocAnswersCan a ligament sprain get worse over time?

Question

Can a ligament sprain get worse over time?

I've elevated my ankle. I've wrapped it. It doesn't seem to be healing. Am I doing something worng?

Answer

Ankle sprains can be very stubborn sometimes. There can be multiple reasons for this. First, when the ligaments down there get injured, inflammation in the area can cause more damage to the surrounding area. This is why the initial therapy for a sprained ankle include anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, immobilization, and ice. Even with these interventions, persistent pain can occur. In these cases, you may need to have an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI of the ankle to make sure that there are no broken bones or torn ligaments that would need surgical intervention. Even without these more serious injuries, the sprained ankle can continue to hurt. This is why I send all of my patients with a sprained ankle to physical therapy. This can help accelerate the healing process and helps to prevent long term pain and stiffness in your ankle. I suggest that you schedule an appointment to see your primary care physician. He or she can examine your ankle closely and determine whether or not more imaging is necessary to rule out any additional problems. If no imaging is required, then your doctor can prescribe you a prescription strength anti-inflammatory medication and give you a referral to physical therapy, if he or she thinks it will help.

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

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