Monday, December 4, 2023

How To Tell If My Ankle Is Broken

Is My Ankle Broken

How To Tell If My Foot or Ankle Injury is BAD! [Sprained or BROKEN?]

More than 1 million people visit emergency rooms each year with ankle injuries. But how do you know if your ankle is broken or just sprained? Common folklore says that if you can move it, it isn’t broken, but that is not always the case. A broken ankle can be a combination of injuries to your bones and ligaments .

Treatment For Ankle Fractures

Treatment for ankle fractures can consist of wearing a boot brace to protect your ankle while it heals. In some cases, its very similar to treatment for a sprained ankle. In fact, Ive seen some people recover from what they thought was an ankle sprain in six weeks only to later find out their injury was actually an ankle fracture. Treatment in a boot brace is reserved for stable, non-displaced fractures or for those who surgical intervention may not be an option due to other concerns, such as medical comorbidities.

More serious ankle fractures, such as when ankle bones are significantly displaced, the fracture pattern shows signs of instability, or the fracture has a history of difficulty healing may require surgery. During surgery, we will re-position your bones so that they line up correctly, and place plate and screws as needed into the fractured ankle to stabilize it.

Recovery time following an ankle fracture varies depending on the type and severity of your injury. But in general, people typically start progressing weight bearing between four to 12 weeks, hopefully returning to their normal activities once fully healed.

Braces Crutches And Casts Oh My: How To Treat A Fractured Ankle

Alas, not every accident can be avoided. If you break your ankle, how you care for it will vary based on the severity. Some ankle fracture treatments that your doctor may recommend include:

  • Abrace or cast to keep the ankle immobile while it heals
  • Crutches to keep weight off of the ankle
  • Medication for any pain
  • With more severe injuries, ankle fracture surgery or physical therapy may be necessary

Also Check: Pain In Left Side Of Foot

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
  • Is My Ankle Sprained Or Broken

    broken ankle

    By State Urgent Care

    The ankle is a large and complicated joint made up of three bones: the tibia , fibula and talus that allow the foot to move up-and-down and side-to-side. All these moving parts make it one of the most commonly injured parts of the human body, with over 2 million ankle sprains and approximately 187 fractures per 100,000 people each year in the United States.

    Even the most sure-footed among us can be caught off guard or lose their balance sometimes. But how can you tell a sprained ankle vs. broken ankle?

    Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Cramps In Foot

    Diagnosing Your Ankle Stress Fracture

    If youre experiencing symptoms in your ankle, dont wait for the pain to become severe. You can get a proper diagnosis and treatment by seeing a doctor, and its best to treat a fracture early rather than risk more damage to the bone.

    At Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle Center, our team examines your ankle, asks you about your exercise routine and typical physical activity, and reviews your medical history to rule out other risk factors for developing stress injuries. Next, we use imaging techniques such as X-rays to take a closer look at the bones in your ankle.

    If our experts determine that a stress fracture is causing your symptoms, they encourage rest, ice, compression, elevation and may recommend anti-inflammatory medication, special footwear, or a cast to keep your ankle in the right position while it heals.

    Call or make an appointment online today to get a proper diagnosis and excellent care for all of your foot and ankle needs.

    You Might Also Enjoy

    How Is An Ankle Sprain Treated

    A grade 2 or 3 sprain usually needs immobilization in the form of a boot or brace that can be worn inside a shoe. The goal is to reduce the bruising and pain, so elevation and icing can be used in tandem to help reach this goal. As the ligament heals itself, the pain will gradually ease, and the patient should be able to resume regular activities. Additionally, physical therapy is used to regain muscle stability after the duration of the injury. Grade 1 sprains tend to resolve in one to two weeks, but grade 3 injuries can take up to twelve weeks to resume normal activities.

    Also Check: Ankle Support Shoes Men’s

    How To Know For Sure

    Injuries are traumas to the body. Extra stress comes from not knowing how to help it. Youre not expected to know a sprained or broken ankle off the bat.

    Ankle injuries are common, so you can be sure we can help.

    Sprained ankles are urgent mattersso tend to them with urgent care. Reserve your spot now to ensure that help is on the way.

    Common Ankle Strain Symptoms

    How can I tell if my ankle is sprained or broken?

    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.

    Read Also: Advanced Foot And Ankle Of Wisconsin

    How Can You Tell The Difference Between A Sprain And A Fracture

    It’s very hard to determine whether your ankle is badly sprained or fractured. Many times, a fracture causes the complete inability to bear weight, or move the ankle or toes. However, it can also feel and look very much like a Grade 3 sprain, so its important to see a doctor for the correct diagnosis. Treatment options usually involve casting, booting, and sometimes surgery.

    While these are some of the most common ankle injuries, there may be other reasons youre experiencing pain. Trust the team of experts at Alexander Orthopedics to determine the cause of your pain and get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.

    Symptoms Of An Ankle Sprain

    After youve given the cause of your ankle injury some thought its time to evaluate your symptoms. Here are the ones you should look out for a sprain:

    • You have pain but can put weight on your ankle
    • Swelling or bruising develops but not immediately
    • Ankle sprains will improve within a few days, a broken ankle will not

    Here is a great resource to learn more about sprained ankles.

    You May Like: St Vincent’s Orthopedic Doctors

    Is It A Sprained Or Broken Ankle 5 Ways To Tell

    By Amory Urgent Care

    2 million people suffer from ankle injuries a year. Among them, 400,000 come from sports injuries. Given that sports are the expected place for injuries, that means most of them are unexpected.

    Running, walking, and jumping are risks for sprained or broken ankles. Given that feet house 26 bones and 107 ligaments, it can be hard to know the difference.

    Their differences depend on the location of the injury as well as its severity. Learning about both can help you proceed with the right sprained ankle treatments.

    Heres what to do for a sprained ankle.

    How Can You Tell The Difference

    How to Tell If Your Ankle Is Broken

    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.

    You May Like: 16 Foot Boats For Sale

    The Difference Between A Sprain And A Fracture

    You know your ankle hurts, but you cant determine just from the pain whether youve injured the bones or soft tissue at the joint. A fracture and sprain both result from similar trauma incurred during a fall or awkward twist.

    A sprain involves a tear or other damage to ligaments, connective tissue that attaches bone to bone. A fracture is a break in one of the three main bones at your ankle joint. These include the talus, fibula, and tibia.

    When To Suspect A Sprain

    While its best to head to our offices if youve injured your ankle, your injury is likely a sprain if you do maintain some ability to bear weight on it. The pain will be mild-to-moderate, and you should have some ankle instability. Swelling and bruising develops over the course of several hours or days.

    Recommended Reading: Orthopedic Doctors In Lubbock Texas

    What To Do For A Broken 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.

    Dont Miss: Orthopedic Doctors In Beckley Wv

    Treatment For A Fracture

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

    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.

    You May Like: Chairs At Foot Of Bed

    Most Common Ankle Fractures

  • Lateral malleolus fracture: This is the most common type of ankle fracture. It is a break of the lateral malleolus, the knobby bump on the outside of the ankle .
  • Bimalleolar ankle fracture: This second-most common type involves breaks of both the lateral malleolus and of the medial malleolus, the knobby bump on the inside of the ankle .
  • Trimalleolar ankle fracture: This type involves breaks in three sides of the ankle: the medial malleolus, the lateral malleolus and distal of the posterior malleolus of the tibia.
  • Pilon fracture : This is a fracture through the weightbearing roof of the ankle . This is usually a higher energy traumatic injury resulting from a fall from a height.
  • As the number of fracture lines increase, so does the risk of long-term joint damage. Trimalleolar ankle fractures and pilon fractures have the most cartilage injury and, therefore, have a higher risk of arthritis in the future.

    By State Urgent Care

    The ankle is a large and complicated joint made up of three bones: the tibia , fibula and talus that allow the foot to move up-and-down and side-to-side. All these moving parts make it one of the most commonly injured parts of the human body, with over 2 million ankle sprains and approximately 187 fractures per 100,000 people each year in the United States.

    Even the most sure-footed among us can be caught off guard or lose their balance sometimes. But how can you tell a sprained ankle vs. broken ankle?

    Guide To Ankle Strains Sprains And Broken Ankles

    Sometimes in life, we are just plain clumsy. While slips and falls often result in hurt pride, they can also leave you with more serious injuries such as strains, sprains, or breaks. When the injury occurs in a joint, like the ankle, it can be hard to tell how serious it is. The treatment process for a broken ankle differs from that of a sprain or strain, so it is important to determine which type of injury you are dealing with so that it can be properly treated.

    While we never recommend self-diagnosis, its important to understand your symptoms because the severity of the injury can inform your decision about what type of treatment you should seek. Below we detail common signs and symptoms for strained, sprained, and broken ankles.

    Read Also: Women’s High Ankle Boots

    How Do I Know If I Broke My Ankle

    Did you recently twist your ankle while falling? Or maybe step in a hole during a softball game? Or miss a step coming down the stairs?

    If you are unable to walk after a recent ankle injury, then you may have an ankle fracture.

    Do I have an ankle fracture or an ankle sprain? How can I tell if I broke my ankle?

    Immediately after an ankle injury, it can be difficult to tell if you have a sprain or fracture. Both injuries can cause swelling and the inability to walk. Obtaining a radiograph is the best way to identify if you have broken your ankle. A bad ankle sprain can also cause swelling and inability to walk, and a simple x-ray will help determine if you have a broken ankle or an ankle sprain.

    The orthopedic surgeons at Southwest Orthopedic Group can take an x-ray in office and determine if you have an ankle fracture.

    What bones are broken in an ankle fracture?

    The ankle is made up of the distal tibia and the fibula . These make the roof and the walls of the ankle joint. The talus bone makes up the floor of the ankle joint.

    The ankle has three parts: the medial malleolus , posterior malleolus , and lateral malleolus or fibula .

    An ankle fracture can occur in any, or all, of these bones.

    Are ankle fractures/breaks common?

    Ankle fractures are one of the most common fractures in the lower extremities. They can occur from childhood to the elder years.

    Can I walk after an ankle fracture?

    What are symptoms of an ankle fracture?

    What will ankle x-rays show?

    Treatment For A Broken Ankle

    Do I Have A Sprained Ankle? [INFOGRAPHIC]

    With a broken ankle, your treatment plan will vary based on the location and severity of your fracture. Generally, it may include:

    • Immobilization. Youll likely need to wear a protective boot or cast to give your bone time to heal.
    • Closed reduction. Your doctor may need to insert pins through your skin to realign the two ends of your bones if you have a displaced fracture.
    • Surgery. More severe breaks may need surgery to ensure your ankle bones stay aligned during the healing process.
    • Physical therapy. Once your bone is healed, a physical therapist can give you a customized stretching and exercise plan.
    • Pain relievers. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol to help manage pain.

    The best way to speed up your recovery from any injury is to listen to the advice of your healthcare professional and to follow their instructions.

    Also Check: Mid Jersey Orthopedic Bridgewater Nj

    Is My Ankle Broken Or Sprained

    If your ankle is in pain, swollen, and difficult to put weight on, you may have an ankle sprain or break. But which one? While it may seem trivial to determine which one, as both will likely keep you off your feet for a few weeks or months, it is still essential to find out which one you have so that the proper treatment can be administered. They may share some very similar symptoms, but there are some differences that you can use to determine what your injury is.

    What is a Fracture?

    An ankle fracture occurs when at least one of the three bones in your ankle – the tibia, fibula, or talus – are damaged or broken. Depending on the severity of your ankle break, your symptoms may vary. If your fracture is merely a small chip off of one of the bones, you may not even notice any difference! Alternatively, if you have broken multiple bones in your ankle, you may be in absolute agony and require immediate medical attention.

    What is a Sprain?

    While a broken ankle is characterized by damage to the bones, a sprained ankle is characterized by damage to the ankle ligaments. Your ankle ligaments are tough bands of muscle and tissue that hold your joints stable but allow them to move. If one of these ligaments are injured, it may be considered a mildly twisted ankle. However, if multiple ligaments are damaged or even torn, your sprain could be severe and require surgery.

    Popular Articles
    Related news