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How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Sprain/Strain? (INFOGRAPHIC)

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

Sprains and strains happen to the best of us. One minute you’re flying down the field. The next you’re hobbling around after miscalculating a step by just a fraction. When a sprain or strain does occur, you want to recover as quickly as possible, right? An infographic from BodyHeal provides some insight into how long the recovery process typically lasts – as well as what you can do to potentially shorten your downtime.

Please keep in mind: every body and every injury is different. These recovery periods are general in nature. Listen to your orthopedic or sports medicine doctor and physical therapist, as well as your own body, as you recover from your sprain or strain.

Sprain vs. Strain: What’s the Difference?

sprain is a stretching or tearing of a ligament. (Ligaments provide stability to joints.) A strain is a stretch or tear in a muscle or tendon. Learn more about the differences between sprains and strains.

How long does it take to recover from a sprain?

  • Mild Sprain (Grade I): Tearing of some ligament. No loss of function. Treated through self-care. Recovery time: 2-6 weeks.
  • Moderate Sprain (Grade II): Rupture of portion of ligament resulting in some loss of function. Treated through physical therapy. Recovery time: 6-8 weeks.
  • Severe Sprain (Grade IIII): Complete rupture of ligament or complete separation of ligament from bone. Treated through surgical repair, followed by physical therapy. Recovery time: 8-10 weeks.

How long does it take to recover from a strain?

  • Mild Strain (Grade I): Slightly pulled muscle with no tearing of muscle or tendon; no loss of strength. Treated through self-care. Recovery time: 2-10 days.
  • Moderate Strain (Grade II): More severe tearing of muscle or tendon. Treated through physical therapy. Recovery time: 10 days to 6 weeks.
  • Severe Strain (Grade IIII): Rupture of muscle-tendon-bone attachment with separation. Treated through surgical repair, followed by physical therapy. Recovery time: 10-16 weeks.

What can I do for my sprain/strain?

Mild-grade sprains and strains may be cared for at home with the R.I.C.E. method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). If you are concerned about the severity of your sprain or strain, see a walk-in clinic or sports medicine/orthopedic provider near you in Houston for an evaluation.

See a Houston Orthopedic Doctor Near You

Have a sprain or strain that needs evaluating? Looking to improve your recovery time so you can get back out on the field? Schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.