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Do Sprains Heal On Their Own?

Ankles sprains are often associated with sports injuries, but you can just as easily sprain your ankle or any other joint while walking on uneven ground. This is probably how 25,000 Americans sprain their ankles every day. 

Here at American River Urgent Care in Orangevale, California, our team provides walk-in and urgent care services for patients of all ages. We diagnose and treat plenty of sprains and injuries.

While a mild injury might heal on its own, more severe injuries need medical attention — some even need surgical repair. Let’s explore sprains in detail, including what they are and how to know if you need to see a doctor. 

What is a sprain?

Ligaments are the connective tissue that holds your joints together. When you bend or twist a joint abnormally, your ligaments can stretch and tear. The stretching or tearing is a sprain. 

Sprains are typically graded as category I, II, or III. Grade I sprains are the mildest, while grade III sprains are full tears of the connected tissue. 

Sprains are painful and cause bruising and swelling. Your injured joint feels stiff, but you can move it a little. Some of the most common ways to sprain an ankle or another joint are during a sports accident, such as falling or colliding with another player. 

When will a sprain heal on its own?

A mild sprain should heal without medical attention. However, you will need to take care of your injury at home. Apply the RICE method:

You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers. It’s critical to allow your injury enough time to recover before heading back out to the field. Returning to your regular activities too quickly will most likely lead to another, possibly more severe, injury.

What are the signs that I should see a doctor for my sprain?

You should head straight to our walk-in or urgent care clinic if you think you have a more severe injury. For example, if you can’t put any weight on your injury or move the joint at all, you probably have a grade II or III injury. 

Other signs that your sprain needs medical attention include pain directly over the bones of your injured joint and numbness in or around the injury. You should also come to see us if you’ve been resting your injury at home, but your pain doesn’t go away or even gets worse. 

We offer expert exams, including X-rays here at American River Urgent Care. Our team can identify and evaluate your injury quickly and provide personalized treatment to get you on the road to recovery. 

While you can always make an appointment with us by calling our office or booking online, you can also make your way to our walk-in clinic if you think you have a sprain. We’re here to help you and your family get the medical treatment you need when you need it.

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