Sprains are classified into three grades of severity, ranging from over-stretching to complete tearing of the ligament. In a severe sprain, the ligament may pull off a piece of the bone, resulting in an avulsion fracture.
- Grade I (mild) – Slight stretching of the ligament with some damage to fibers; Minimal swelling and tenderness; Minimal to no functional loss; No ligament laxity (joint is stable);
Typical healing is 2-10 days.
- Grade II (moderate) – Partial tear of ligament; Moderate swelling, pain, or tenderness; Mild to moderate ligament laxity (joint may be unstable);
Typical healing time is 10-30 days.
- Grade III (severe) – Complete tear of ligament; Significant swelling, bruising, and tenderness; Positive for ligament laxity (joint instability); Recommendation is to consult with a physician to rule out a fracture.
May take 30-90 days to recover.