Tuesday, November 28, 2023

How To Tell If I Broke My Ankle

What Causes An Ankle To Break

Ankle Sprain? Is it BROKE? How to Tell & What to Do. How to Wrap.

Its fairly easy to break your ankle, especially if your bones are weak or youre older. Breaks can occur from twists and falls, trauma , unnatural twisting or rotating. Often, ankles break during a sports accident, but they can also break from something as innocuous as tripping on a sidewalk or missing a step.

Broken Ankle Vs Sprained Ankle: When To Call Your Doctor

Ankle sprains and breaks are common among athletes and weekend warriors however, ankle injuries can affect people of all ages and activity levels. If it happens to you, learn how to spot the differences between a broken ankle vs. a sprained ankle and know when you should call your doctor.

Sprained Ankle

A sprain is an injury to the ligaments that join the bones of the ankle. Ankle sprains are usually caused by tripping or falling, landing awkwardly after a jump, a sudden impact, or twisting or rolling the ankle. Sprains can be mild to severe.

Broken Ankle

There are three bones in the ankle jointthe tibia, fibula and talusan injury can cause one or more of these bones break, or fracture. Ankle fractures can be milder, like a small crack, or severe, with bones shattering and piercing through the skin. A person with a broken ankle also often has damage to the ligaments as well.

Is it a broken ankle or sprained ankle?

Its difficult to tell the difference between an ankle sprain and an ankle fracture. Its especially difficult to tell the difference between a severe ankle sprain and a broken ankle. The symptoms for a sprained ankle and a broken ankle are very similar and include:

  • Inability to bear weight on the injured ankle

Its most likely a sprained ankle if

If you can put weight on your ankle after the injury and youre experiencing mild to moderate pain, it is most likely a sprain. Follow RICE Guidelines, which include:

Its most likely a broken ankle if

What Is The Difference Between A Stress Fracture And A Bone Fracture

When youve hurt your ankle, it can be hard to tell if you have a stress fracture or a bone fracture.

A stress fracture is a tiny crack in your bone. Generally speaking, you have a stress fracture if the pain in your ankle gets worse over time. A bone fracture is when a fracture changes the shape of your bone.

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The Difference Between A Sprained Ankle And A Broken Ankle

Our busy lives take a toll on our bodies, and in particular our joints. The ankle joint takes a significant amount of the stress of everyday movement as it is vital to supporting and distributing bodyweight.

The ankle joint is a complex and vulnerable structure. The ankle is made up of the joining of the leg and foot bones with support and movement provided by ligaments and muscles. An ankle roll, bad landing, or fall can easily lead to injury to one of the many vital parts of the ankle. Ankle injuries are unfortunately common. Approximately 2 million people in the US are treated for ankle injuries each year. Two of the most common types of ankle injuries include ankle sprains and breaks. Often, these injuries can appear the same.

If youve experienced an ankle injury, its imperative to seek professional diagnosis as soon as possible. A broken ankle can often be mistaken for a sprain, even with an X-ray, due to the complex structure of tissue, muscle, and ligaments concealing the bone. If not properly treated, an ankle break can lead to further pain, damage to the ankle joint, and impede mobility.

Read on for more info on the differences between a sprained ankle and a broken ankle:

Did I Sprain Or Break My Ankle

broken 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.

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What Is An Ankle Fracture

An ankle fracture refers to a break in a bone. The fracture can be a non-displaced crack in the bone, meaning the bone is still aligned, but can also be displaced resulting in a disruption in the normal alignment of the bone. Most often, a broken ankle is caused by a fall, car accidents, high-impact sports, or injuries where excessive force is involved.

How To Tell The Difference Between An Ankle Sprain And A Fracture

Did you know ankle injuries are one of the most common bone and joint injuries for athletes, weekend warriors, and those of us just walking through different daily activities? Many people assume its easy to tell the difference between a fractured bone and a joint sprain, but sprains and fractures share many symptoms making it hard to know whats causing your pain.

At Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers, our experienced team of providers help patients in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, with effective diagnoses and care for ankle sprains and ankle fractures. Read on to learn how to tell the difference between ankle sprains and fractures and what you can do about both!

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Symptoms Of A Sprained Ankle

An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments holding the bones of the ankle joint together are injured or torn. Sprains often occur when the ankle is twisted or overextended past its natural range of motion, such as when you roll your ankle, stretching the ligaments to the point of tearing.

Symptoms of an ankle sprain include:

  • Inability to hold weight
  • If you think you may have sustained an ankle sprain, its important to seek diagnosis as soon as possible. Your orthopaedic specialist will determine the severity of the sprain and the best course of treatment.

    Treatments for an ankle sprain include:

  • Wearing a brace to support the ankle
  • Use of a crutch to keep the weight off the joint
  • Rest and implementing the PRICE method
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the joint and restore range of motion
  • While rare in the case of a sprain, in acute cases, reconstructive surgery may be necessary to repair the torn ligaments and stabilize the joint
  • What To Do For A Broken Ankle

    How can I tell if I sprained or broke my ankle?

    If you think youve broken your ankle seek medical attention as soon as you can. Your doctor will evaluate your ankle and decide if you need any diagnostic imaging like an x-ray. Until you can get to your doctor the other key things you should do are:

    • Stay off your injured ankle
    • Ice your foot and ankle

    Here is an in-depth resource to learn more about broken ankle treatments.

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    Urgent Advice: Get Help From Nhs 111 Or Go To An Urgent Treatment Centre If:

    You’re recovering from a broken ankle and:

    • the pain in your ankle gets worse
    • your temperature is very high or you feel hot and shivery
    • your leg, foot or toes start to feel numb or like they’re burning
    • your leg, foot or toes look swollen, or turn blue or white
    • the plaster cast or boot is rubbing, or feels too tight or too loose
    • there’s a bad smell or discharge from under your cast

    When Should I Seek Medical Attention For My Ankle

    If your ankle is deformed, youre experiencing extreme pain, or if youre unable to walk at all, you shouldnt wait to seek medical care. If you believe you have an ankle sprain but your injury isnt improving after a few days of rest and ice, its important to schedule an appointment with your provider at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Center.

    Ankle fractures that arent treated correctly can cause serious and debilitating complications. And ankle sprains that dont heal properly can lead to recurrent ankle sprains and instability. Its important to have your ankle evaluated by trained ankle specialists to ensure you get back on your feet and back to your daily routine as quickly as possible!

    Ready to learn more about treatment options for ankle sprains and fractures? Contact the Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Center office most convenient to you or request an appointment online now!

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    Is The Ankle Sprained Or Broken

    A thorough evaluation by an Orthopedic Specialist in Foot and Ankle such as Dr. Miller will identify the nature of the injury. Immediately following the injury, it is reasonable to assess the ankle with weight bearing. If there is no pain with walking, an ankle fracture is highly unlikely. Soreness with walking but the ability to walk normally suggests a contusion or sprain of the ankle. However, if you cannot stand on the ankle, an evaluation is warranted to rule out a broken ankle or ankle fracture.

    Swelling is another sign of injury. If the swelling comes on gradually and is mild, the injury is likely a sprain or less severe. More immediate and significant swelling indicates a bony injury and possible fracture. When severe fractures occur, blistering of the skin is not uncommon. The blisters emanate from excessive swelling in the soft tissues following a severe fracture. Sometimes the ankle is dislocated with this amount of swelling. Immediate medical attention is required in these circumstances to reduce the ankle. Once severe swelling or blistering sets in, this can take weeks until the initial swelling resolves. In many cases these changes can delay surgery on the ankle.

    Sprain Vs Fracture Whats The Difference

    Weber A fracture · Virtual Fracture Clinic

    Sprains and fractures can have a lot of the same symptoms, which can make it difficult for you to determine which one youve sustained in an injury. However, the difference is pretty simple a fracture is a break in your bone, while a sprain is a soft tissue injury.

    Sprains happen when the ligaments around your joint either stretch too far or tear. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as a fall or a sports injury. Sprains can be mild or severe, and have a variety of symptoms including:

    • Trouble moving the injured area
    • Popping sound or sensation around a joint

    You can usually treat mild-to-moderate sprains at home with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories. Occasionally a sprain will be severe enough that surgery is required for it to heal properly.

    Fractures most often occur from some kind of trauma such as a car accident or a severe fall. When you break a bone in your body, one of the first symptoms youll notice is immediate pain around the injury. You may also experience:

    • Deformity of the limb
    • Inability to put weight on the injury
    • Crepitus, which is a normal sign with a fracture caused by the ends of the fractured bones rubbing together. This causes an audible crunching sound.
    • Swelling and bruising

    Unless the bone is actually poking through your skin, you need an X-ray to determine that youve sustained a fractured bone. If the fracture is severe, you may also need an MRI or CAT scan to rule out damage to other structures such as ligaments, tendons, and muscle.

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    While You’re Waiting To See A Doctor

    If you think youve broken your ankle, there are some things you can do while youre waiting to see a doctor.

    You should:

    • raise your ankle if possible
    • gently hold an ice pack wrapped in a towel on your ankle for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours
    • stop any bleeding put pressure on the wound using a clean cloth or dressing
    • wrap your ankle loosely in a bandage to help support it
    • remove any jewellery on your ankle or toes
    • not take ibuprofen until you have seen a doctor
    • not eat or drink anything in case you need surgery
    • not move or put weight on your ankle if possible

    Whats The Difference Between An Ankle Sprain And Ankle Fracture

    Your ankle is a complex joint comprised of ligaments, tendons, and three main bones: your talus, your fibula, and your tibia. These elements work together to help you move, and even a slight displacement in the joint can result in pressure or pain.

    Both ankle sprains and fractures result from similar activities, such as tripping, falling, or twisting, and occur when the ankle is stressed at an angle. The difference is that sprains result when there is damage to the ligament, whereas ankle fractures require a break in the bone.

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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.

    Anatomy Of The Ankle Joint

    How do I know if I broke my foot or ankle?

    The ankle joint is composed of the tibia, fibula and talus bones. The talus connects your leg to your foot.

    Skeletal anatomy of the ankle

    Ligaments connect bone to bone to provide stability of the joints. They are commonly injured in the case of ankle sprains. They can also be injured in connection with ankle fractures. When ligaments are torn and associated with an ankle fracture, this damage can render the ankle unstable. The deltoid ligament is found on the inner part of the ankle and provides the majority of the stability of the ankle. If the deltoid ligament is torn in association with a fracture, the ankle is generally unstable.

    In the ankle joint or any joint in the body, two or more bones move relative to one another. There is a cushion or lining between the bones, which is called cartilage. Thinning or damage to this cushion can lead to arthritis or inflammation in the joint.

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    Common Ankle Sprain Symptoms

    A sprained ankle occurs when ligaments are overstretched or torn. This can be the result of an accident, overexertion, or prolonged repetitive motion. The big difference between a strain and a sprain is the bruising that accompanies a sprain. Like a strain, a mild sprain can be treated with the RICE method. As long as you stay off the injured ankle and allow it to heal, you should recover quickly. Spraining your ankle can be painful. If you experience the following symptoms, you may have a sprained ankle.


    A key symptom of a sprained ankle is pain. When the sprain occurs, the pain can be quite severe, with persistent localized pain at the ankle. Most people describe the pain as shooting or stabbing when pressure is applied via standing or other means.


    As with a strain, swelling is a common symptom of an ankle sprain. Swelling is usually localized to the area that the sprain has occurred in. And similarly, it can be treated with ice and rest.


    Bruising is the major difference between a sprain and a strain. When you sprain your ankle, ligaments and blood vessels tear, creating a bruise. The bruise wont appear instantly but is a good indicator that you may have sprained your ankle.

    Limited Range of Motion

    A sprain can hinder your ability to walk or even put pressure on your ankle. If the sprain is severe enough, you might even lose range of motion in your ankle all together due to pain.


    How To Tell Broken Ankle Vs Sprain

    You know youve injured your ankle. Its swollen, bruising, and hurts when you put weight on it. Is it broken or an ankle sprain? The symptoms are very similar, making it hard to know the difference, so we break down a broken vs. sprained ankle here for you because knowing which ankle injury you have will determine the best course of treatment.

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    Immediate Action Required: Go To A& e If:

    You’ve had an injury and:

    • your ankle is at an odd angle
    • a bone is sticking out of your ankle
    • you have a bad cut or wound on your ankle
    • you’re in severe pain
    • your toes look blue or white, or feel numb

    If you cannot get to A& E by yourself, call 999 for an ambulance.

    Severe pain:
    • always there and so bad it’s hard to think or talk
    • you cannot sleep
    • it’s very hard to move, get out of bed, go to the bathroom, wash or dress
    Moderate pain:
    • makes it hard to concentrate or sleep
    • you can manage to get up, wash or dress
    Mild pain:
    • is annoying but does not stop you doing daily activities

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