Minor ankle sprains can improve to a point allowing you back to your regular routine in as little as 2 weeks, or as long as over 2 months. What determines where you lie on this spectrum is how severe your injury is. Ankle sprains are graded in three types. Type I ankle sprains are described as an overstretching of the ligaments (tissue that connects bone to bone) in the ankle. Type II ankle sprains mean that the ligament has partially torn. Type III ankle sprains mean that either the entire ligament has torn or that a fracture has occurred. Because people have varying levels of pain tolerance, evaluation by a specialist is the best way to know what type of ankle sprain has occurred and an x--ray is the best way to ensure that a fracture has not occurred.
Type I ankle sprains have the potential to heal and allow normal activity (though usually require a brace) in as little as 2 weeks. Type II ankle sprains can be around this timeframe, but depending on how much of the ligament is torn may require longer treatment (4-6 weeks). Type III ankle sprains, whether a fracture is present or not, should be rested completely for at least 4 weeks and often can require 6-8 weeks before return to daily activities and re-training for athletic activities is recommended.
To learn more about why ankle sprains are so critical to treat early, read this article - and learn all about ankle sprains!