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How long do ankle injuries take to heal?

Q: I am a 35 years old male weighing 75 kg. While exercising, I fell down and suffered an ankle ligament tear and hair-line crack. I had severe pain and swelling on the outer part of the left ankle. I was told that the problem will take six weeks to get cured. Can I get back to work after a month?

A:You mention that you have a tear of the ankle ligament. You also mention that there is a crack but I am not clear where the crack is. Is it in the fibula? The outer bone of leg is (known as a fibula). If it is a fracture then it is a significant injury. You will need to be protected in a cast for at least six weeks. Ligament injuries of the ankle can at times be worse than fractures. This is because the healing potential of fractures is far better than of ligaments. Ligament strains are also of different grades. The mildest is grade-1 with only few fibres torn and this does very well with strapping an adhesive or a below knee plaster cast. In Grade-2 more fibres are torn and here the results are better with adequate rest in a plaster. And Grade-3 is the complete disruption of the ligament and this may be associated with the instability of the ankle. This needs plaster immobilisation for a longer period, which may be six to eight weeks. If however, instability persists it will need surgical intervention.

Coming to your case, first of all there is suspicion of a crack. Secondly there is a ligament injury. It will be wiser to continue your cast immobilisation at least for four weeks.

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