How To Tell if The Ankle is Broken or Sprained?

How To Tell If The Ankle Is Broken or Sprained?

Ankle pain is due to several causes, which can be defined into two major types. When one breaks one’s ankle, this breakage is known as a “fracture”. There are many varieties of ankle breaks, but the result is the same: a swollen, painful, immobilized bone, and an immediate need for medical attention to ensure proper treatment and recuperation. Much less serious, if scarcely less painful, is an ankle “sprain”, which is a condition which ensues after the unwarranted stretching and tearing of ligaments that are located in your ankle.

A sprain is, in fact, the most common cause of ankle pain, as it is the most routine and regularly occurring injury to the ankle. Long-term consequences of such a sprain are a leading cause of ankle pain. As an example, over 80% of these common ankle sprains are what is called an “inversion ankle sprain”, which occurs when one’s ankle rolls sharply over on the outside, resulting in some crushing of the internal ligaments contained therein.

Regardless of whether you are certain that either a fracture or sprain has occurred, as soon as you determine that an injury or whatever sort is present, you should take immediate action. It is widely recommended that one should follow the P.R.I.C.E. Procedure, which is an acronym consisting of the following steps of treatment: Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. Following these simple procedures in the case of an ankle fracture or sprain ought, in most circumstances, to be enough to ensure that you will not make the ankle pain injury more severe than it already is.

See: 4 Simple Techniques To Relieve Your Ankle Pain at Home

In an ankle sprain or fracture, there are three corresponding degrees of severity. For example, in a first degree, or grade one ankle sprain, common consequences include ankle pain to a mild degree, as well as some functional mobility loss of the ankle itself (although the ankle joint is still able to function and bear weight, it hurts to do so). A grade one injury will also involve a degree of stiffness in the ankle joint, as well as a moderate degree of swelling. Bleeding or bruising may or may not occur.

In a second degree or grade two ankle sprain, ankle pain progresses from barely present or noticeable to moderate, sometimes severe. The ankle’s ability to bear any kind of pressure or weight becomes severely compromised, as it becomes extremely painful to do so. In addition, some instability of the ankle joint itself will be present, normally to a moderate degree. The ligaments themselves, in a grade two ankle injury, have been torn more severely and, consequently, more pronounced stiffness and swelling may be present, as well as a higher degree of bruising.

In a third degree or grade three ankle sprain, ankle pain may not initially be present (the injured person may be in a minor “state of shock” following the accident). In some cases, the individual may experience sudden, severe ankle pain, followed by a total absence of pain, and may alternate several times between the two conditions. Severe swelling of the ankle joint is present and is a tell-tale sign of the total rupture of a ligament. There will be a complete loss of motion, as well as a total inability to bear any weight whatsoever.

Regardless of whether one’s ankle pain is due to a sprain or a fracture, one should seek professional medical help immediately. Never waste time guessing as to the precise nature of an ankle injury. Leave that to your attending medical professional. A permanent impairment or loss of mobility is not a consequence to be taken lightly.

See: Sprained Ankle Symptoms and Treatment

How To Tell if The Ankle is Broken or Sprained, Last Update: 3/7/2017

9 thoughts on “How To Tell if The Ankle is Broken or Sprained?

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  • July 20, 2017 at 4:50 am

    Hi there. Great post as avulsion fractures are often missed in lateral ankle sprains.
    One great way to know if you should see a doctor is that if you cannot weight-bear then you could have a fracture and should get it checked. (this is part of the Ottawa ankle rules). Thanks

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  • February 19, 2018 at 3:10 am

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