Did I Sprain Or Break My Ankle
Determining between a sprain and a fracture without the input of an NYC foot doctor can be difficult. However, here are some tips you can use to discover it for yourself:
- Did you hear a noise when the injury occurred? If so, it is more likely a break than a sprain.
- Is your ankle deformed? If your ankle is directed at an odd angle, it is likely a broken ankle. Sprains tend to keep the ankle straight.
- If you feel numbness in addition to the pain, it is more likely a fractured ankle.
- If the pain is substantially worsening over time, it is more likely a break.
Oftentimes, the only way to know for sure what injury you have is to let a qualified podiatrist examine and x-ray the ankle to determine the cause of the pain. Regardless of what you believe it might be at home, if the pain caused by this injury is substantial, or you are unable to live your life as you normally would, give our NYC foot and ankle clinic a call today to schedule an appointment.
Common Ankle Strain Symptoms
Although it is the least severe of the three injuries, joint strains should be taken seriously if you want to avoid further injury. A strained ankle is the result of overstretched or torn muscles and tendons. When determining the difference between a strain and a sprain its important to remember a few key differences. Its important to note that there are degrees of a joint strain, and symptoms vary by case. Your ankle may be strained if you have any of the following symptoms.
Pain is the most common symptom of any injury, and a strained ankle is no different. This pain may be immediate or increase gradually depending on the severity of the strain. Most of us use our ankles every day, and prolonged use can bring the pain of a strained ankle to the surface.
Inflammation, Swelling, or Redness
Swelling or discoloration at the site of the injury may be an indication of a strain. Additionally, a strained ankle may be warm to the touch. If you experience this symptom, ice your ankle and keep it elevated.
Muscle Cramps and Weakness
If youve strained your ankle, you might experience muscle cramps in your shins, calves, or feet. In some cases, you might not be able to do normal activities such as walking, running, or jumping without pain.
Loss of Motion
In the case of mild strains, your ankle may become stiff with pain, limiting your range of motion. In instances of severe joint strain the ankle can even go limp.
Should I Go To The Hospital For A Sprained Ankle
Go to urgent care if your pain level and swelling is significant and you have difficulty walking, to the point that you need assistance, due to the pain. Go to the emergency room if your foot is bruised, deformed, or you are unable to walk at all. You may have a fracture, broken bone or serious ligament damage.
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Treating A Sprained Ankle
As with broken or sprained wrists, most ankle sprains are treated using the RICE method of rest, icing, compression and elevation. Patients are encouraged to keep weight off the affected joint, to ice for about 15 minutes every few hours during the first days after injury, to wrap the leg, and to sit or lie with the foot above the level of your heart. This helps reduce swelling and alleviate some pain. The period of rest for a high ankle sprain can be as much as twice as long six weeks or more.
In the case of severe high ankle sprains, if the ankle is unstable, a fracture is out of place or the ligament is completely torn, surgery may be required. The latest surgical treatment to stabilize a high ankle sprain is the TightRope anchor system. The TightRope system anchors the ends of the tibia and fibula together with a braided polyethylene cord, rather than with a rigid surgical screw, to restore the original position of the bones and to allow for proper healing.
Healing after these injuries involves a similarly broad range of time. Pain from some sprains is gone within a matter of weeks it takes longer for broken bones and torn soft tissue to heal. The doctor may recommend a walking boot, as you transition back to every-day activities.
Do I Have A Sprain Or Broken Ankle
Ankle injuries are one of the most common injuries in sports and everyday activities, however it can be difficult to tell if you have a sprain or broken ankle. The quick answer is the difference between a sprain and broken ankle is the presence of a fracture, chip or crack in the bones of the ankle which can be seen with the use of an x-ray. To learn more about the foot and ankle, please read this ARTICLE.
sprain or broken ankle
A broken ankle involves fracturing one of the bones that makes up the joint.
These bones include:
Fractures typically occur as a result of:
- Severe force to the joint
- Rolling the ankle on the side, or extreme flexing
- Extension of the joint.
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How Can A Sprain Or Strain Be Prevented
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Recovering From A Broken Ankle
A broken ankle usually takes 6 to 8 weeks to heal, but it can take longer.
The doctor will tell you:
- how long you’ll have to wear the boot or have the plaster cast on
- how much weight to put on your ankle you may be given crutches or a walking frame to help keep weight off it
Once it’s healed, use your ankle as normal. Moving it will stop it getting stiff.
You may need to see a physiotherapist. They can help you with exercises to get your foot and ankle gently moving again.
Ask your doctor when you can return to contact sports or other activities that put a lot of strain on your ankle.
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What To Do After An Ankle Injury
After injuring your ankle, take a minute to assess the area. Even though youre in pain, try to see if there are any signs of breakage, particularly a deformity. Before standing up, wiggle the toes. If youre able to do that, stand up slowly and place just a little but of weight on the injured ankle or foot. Hold on to something while you do this, so you dont fall if the foot cant support your weight. If youre able to stand, thats good news. You may have just bruised the ankle or sprained it. However, if you cannot stand at all, there may be a break and you should seek medical attention immediately.
How Is A Broken Ankle Treated
Fractures that are nondisplaced, or are still aligned with the other bones, will need a boot or cast to completely immobilize the ankle so that the healing goes as it should. This boot or cast will replace a shoe, rather than be worn inside of a shoe. If the break is displaced, meaning out of alignment, manipulation of the fracture and surgery may be necessary so that the bone realigns and heals properly. Characteristics of a fracture are what dictate the necessity of surgery. As the initial pain and swelling go down and healing has begun, physical therapy is used to regain range of motion and muscle loss during the duration of the injury. Most fractures will heal in six to eight weeks. Also, if the fracture involves the ankle joint, arthritis could develop in the future.
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Treatments For A Sprained Ankle
Sprains include bruising, swelling, tenderness, pain with walking, and sometimes the inability to walk at all. Immediately after the injury, use the RICE method rest, ice, compression and elevation along with anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and swelling. Try to keep your ankle above your chest as much as possible for at least 48 hours, and use ice in 15-20 minute intervals several times a day.
Sprains may seem minor, but if left undiagnosed and untreated they may end up leading to more serious complications and long-term issues such as arthritis. It’s always a good idea to have your injury checked out by a doctor, especially if your ankle is still very swollen after 24 hours, misshapen, or if it hurts when you press on the bony part of your ankle.
What Does It Mean If You Have A Sprained Ankle
A sprained ankle is an injury to the ligaments of your ankle. Ligaments are dense pieces of connective tissue that hold your ankle bones together and help stabilize your joint.
Sprains usually occur when you suddenly twist your foot and overstretch your ligaments. Most often, the ligaments in the outer part of the foot get sprained. Its less common to sprain your inner ligaments.
Some potential causes of a sprained ankle include:
- walking or running on an uneven surface
- landing on the side of your foot when running, jumping, or pivoting
- twisting your ankle while falling
- rolling your ankle while walking or running
- having somebody land on your foot while playing sports
Most sprained ankles are minor injuries, but they can range in severity depending on the amount of damage to your ligaments. The severity of an ankle sprain can vary as follows:
- Grade 1 sprain. One or more ligament is overstretched but not torn. Youll likely be able to move your foot normally after a few days, and it will likely heal within
Many people mix up the terms sprain and strain. However, the two injuries affect different structures in your body.
- A sprain is an injury to a ligament connecting two bones together.
- A strain is an injury to a muscle or a tendon that connects your muscle to the bone. A strain is also known as a pulled muscle or torn muscle.
A broken ankle also called an ankle fracture is when one or more of the bones around your ankle joint breaks.
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How Bad Is A Grade 3 Ankle Sprain
Grade 3: This is a full tear of the ankle ligament. You may have heard a popping sound when it happened. This level of sprain causes severe pain, swelling and bruising. Because the ligament is no longer able to do its job, your ankle will feel unstable and will be unable to support any of your weight.
How Do You Tell The Difference Between A Sprain And A Torn Ligament
Ligament Sprains And Tears A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched beyond its capacity or has small tears. A slightly stretched or torn ligament is a relatively mild condition. When a ligament has been sprained, its still attached to the bone but has been damaged in some way. A ligament tear is more severe.
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Is It Ok To Walk On A Sprained Ankle
Walking: Did you know that walking can promote healing for a sprained ankle? In the first few days, you should stay off the foot. As the swelling decreases and the ankle starts to heal, short distance walking can be good for your recovery. Start slowly and gradually build up your distance and endurance.
Why Did I Hear A Pop When I Sprained My Ankle
A popping sound is very common to hear at the moment when you sprains your ankle. A cracking noise means it’s most likely a fractured bone. Swelling can be normal for this type of injury, but if your ankle appears deformed or crooked at the same time, it’s most likely a fracture. Numbness also indicates a fracture.
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How Can You Tell The Difference
To help answer the question Is my ankle sprained or broken?, you must first ask a few questions:
- Did you hear a noise when the injury happened? Oftentimes, a sprain will happen silently, or with a popping sound in severe cases. With a fracture, there might be an audible crack.
- Is your ankle misshapen? While swelling is a symptom of both sprains and fractures, if your ankle looks out of alignment, its most likely because the bone is broken.
- Are you experiencing numbness? Sprains are painful, but fractures are often accompanied by numbness or tingling.
- Where are you experiencing pain? If your ankle hurts or is tender to the touch directly over the ankle bone, you probably have a fracture. By contrast, if the pain is in the soft part of the ankle, its more likely a sprain.
Both Sprains And Breaks Need Attention
Before we even get into the differences between the ways broken and sprained ankles present themselves, we need to talk about the way we tend to put these injuries in a hierarchy of severity.
Yes, it is true that many ankle sprains are minor and can be treated well enough at home. It is also true that most ankle fractures are going to require professional intervention of some kind. However, this is no excuse to treat all ankle sprains as nothing to be too concerned about.
Any sprain that does not heal properly can have lasting negative effects on that joint, much like any broken ankle that does not fully heal. An ankle sprain that weakens the joint can lead to instability and a higher risk of future ankle injuries. A vicious cycle can quickly develop that leads to chronic pain and problems.
What does this mean for you, then? It means you should never hesitate to contact us anytime you injure your ankle, no matter how minor you think it may be! While its possible that well only recommend a few simple self-care instructions, ensuring you get the right level of care you require regardless of injury severity is critically important.
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Treatment For A Fracture
If you think your ankle is broken, you should get medical treatment right away. You need to have the ankle immobilized. This could involve crutches or a cast.
Your doctor may try to align the broken bones to help you heal. If the bones are unable to stay in place after your doctor has tried to stabilize the fracture, you might need surgery.
You can also apply ice, elevate your ankle, and take pain relievers. Talk to your doctor.
What Is The Recovery Time Of A Broken Ankle
It takes about six weeks for bones to heal. It may take longer for ligaments or other soft tissues to heal as well.
After surgery, patients are typically not weightbearing for 4 to 6 weeks until the bone heals. Patients are placed on a pain management protocol that minimizes their need for opioid medications. For the first couple of weeks, patients are in a splint and are elevating the limb 90% of the day. After 10 to 14 days, the sutures are removed and patients are typically placed into a removable boot. This allows patients to start moving the ankle and to shower. At the six-week visit, X-rays are obtained. Assuming the bone is healed well, patients are then allowed to start weightbearing and to begin physical therapy. Patients will generally have six weeks of therapy or more if required.
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Treatment For A Sprained Ankle
Treatment for a sprained ankle aims to:
- reduce pain and swelling
- restore your full range of motion
- return your ankle to full strength
For the first few days, you can follow the RICE method to reduce swelling:
- Rest. Stay off your feet as much as possible.
- Ice. Ice your foot for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours.
- Compression. Wear an elastic bandage that provides compression around the injured area.
- Elevation. Elevate your foot above the level of your heart when youre resting.
You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen to help manage pain.
Once the swelling passes, your doctor may recommend that you visit a physical therapist. A physical therapist can put together a customized plan of stretches and exercises to help restore the function of your ankle.
Surgery is rarely needed to treat ankle sprains.
What Is A Fracture
A fracture is the same thing as a “break.” Much like sprains, breaks can vary from hairline fractures that only involve one bone to multiple, compound fractures that keep you off your foot for months. Like sprains, fractures usually happen because of extreme force on the bone, either from a fall, auto accident, or other acute-force trauma.
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Broken Or Sprained Ankle
The ankle has an ant-like ability to sustain huge loads during day-to-day life. In fact, it can handle up to three times a persons body mass. But when things go wrong, the results can be painful and difficult to diagnose. How do you know if you have a broken or sprained ankle?