Classification of a Ligament Sprain

Classification of a Ligament Sprain

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.

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