We often get asked by patients how long an injury takes to heal. Our response? It depends. Healing times depend on the type of tissue (muscle, ligament, tendon, etc.) involved in an injury, and the severity of the injury. The table presented above shows the expected healing time frames based on the tissue, and degree of injury.
Let's consider an example or two to explain the details of this graphic. A very common injury is an ankle sprain, which involves an injury to the ankle ligaments. A mild or grade I ankle sprain is the least severe ankle sprain; the healing timeline can be anywhere from a few days to two weeks. A more severe ankle sprain, say a moderate or grade II sprain, can take up to six months to fully heal.
Healing times don't always indicate how long an individual will be unable to exercise or participate in sport, but often indicates how long he or she will need to be diligent with fitness and rehab in order to avoid delaying the healing process, or re-injuring the area. Some people can resume high levels of activity while the tissue is still healing; others may find their recovery takes longer. Physical therapists are trained to evaluate the type and severity of an injury; to apply the best treatments allowing the tissue to heal and resume normal function; and to appropriately test the injured area before resuming high levels of activity.