Can Ankle Sprains Cause Permanent Damage?

ankle sprain permanent damage Jan31st 2023

A day at the gym or a brisk morning walk can turn into a major bummer if you’ve rolled your ankle. Wondering if ankle sprains cause permanent damage? Even though many people carry on about their day—albeit limping—it’s best to treat an ankle sprain with caution.

What are the Different Grades of Ankle Sprains?

Ankle sprains are common, especially among athletes and those living active lifestyles. A sprained ankle happens when the foot or ligaments twist and stretch beyond normal range. 

Some injuries are more severe than others which is why orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists categorize ankle sprains into three categories.

Grade One

This grade is considered the mildest of the three. If you fall into a grade one sprain, you can expect to feel some swelling and stiffness around your ankle. Even though the area can feel tender to the touch, you’re more than likely able to walk on it with minimal discomfort.

Grade Two

A grade two sprain is more severe and a step above the mild swelling of grade one. This type of ankle sprain is typically a result of a partial ligament tear. You might experience swelling, bruising, and pain when walking. 

Grade Three

This grade is the result of a complete tear. You will most likely experience major swelling, bruising, and severe pain. People who suffer from grade three ankle sprains will not be able to walk on the affected foot.

Read More: Sprains, Strains, and Ankle Pains!

What Are the Long-Term Health Consequences of Ankle Sprains?

An untreated ankle sprain can lead to joint pain and ankle weakness over time. But what about long-term consequences? What about ankle sprain permanent damage?

Even though ankle sprains are extremely common, they can lead to long-term health consequences if not managed right away. Your run-of-the-mill ankle sprain can lead to chronic instability, arthritis, or early-onset osteoporosis. Contact your local physical therapist to pave your path back to mobility.

How Long Does It Take To Heal an Ankle Sprain?

Depending on the grade, an ankle sprain can take anywhere from two weeks to six months. OSR Physical Therapy creates individualized plans to help restore joint mobility, improve balance, and regain strength in your foot and ankle muscles.

What Are the Best Exercises for a Sprained Ankle?

Movement is some of the best medicine for your sprained ankle. Some of the best exercises you can do at home include:

  • Range of motion
  • Stretching
  • Strengthening
  • Balance training

Range of Motion

Range of motion exercises helps maintain the flexibility of your ankle. You can practice range of motion exercises at home by simply tracing the letters of the alphabet with your big toe while lying on the couch.


Give your Achilles tendon a good stretch by wrapping a towel around your foot and pulling it back. Another easy way to stretch is by standing on the tips of your toes in repetitions of ten to twenty.


After you have established a good range of motion, it’s time to start strengthening your foot and ankle. These exercises can be completed with the help of a resistance band. Contact OSR Physical Therapy to learn about what type of resistance band will work for you.

Balance Training

Balance plays an important role in healing a sprained ankle. To do this, stand on your injured foot while lifting your other leg behind you. Use a chair for stability if needed. You can repeat this same balance exercise with your eyes closed or while standing on a pillow.

Read More: How to Treat Shin Splints

Get Moving Again With OSR Physical Therapy

Sprained ankles can slow you down. Avoid permanent ankle sprain damage and put a spring in your step again by contacting your local physical therapists at OSR Physical Therapy. We’re a family-owned company dedicated to helping you start your healing journey off on the right foot. We provide only the best recovery plan for foot & ankle pain. Prevent chronic ankle instability and get moving again with OSR.

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