When should I see a healthcare provider for a sprain?

You should see your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a concern about your injury. Sometimes what seems like a mild sprain can take longer than you think to heal. Seeing your doctor can be helpful to answer questions, get a brace, an order for physical therapy or for reassurance.
  • You have severe pain and cannot put weight on the injured joint.
  • The injured area looks crooked, has lumps and bumps (other than swelling) that you do not see on the uninjured joint. You may notice asymmetry between the affected/injured joint and the normal joint.
  • You cannot move the injured joint.
  • There is numbness in any part of the injured area.
  • You see redness or red streaks spread out from the injury. This is especially a concern if the skin is broken or there could be a possible infection.
  • You injure an area that has been injured before.
  • You have pain, swelling or redness over a bony part of your foot.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

As we move around each day and do our normal activities, there’s always a risk of tripping, falling and getting injured. If you experience a sprain, reach to your healthcare provider. It’s usually a good idea to make sure it’s only a sprain and not a more severe injury. You can also get a treatment plan that will get you up and moving again.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy