Is It Sprained or Broken?

May 22, 2012

Healthy Life


Ankle injury

Ankle injury


Most athletes have suffered some kind of ankle injury. But you don’t have to be a professional athlete. Each day, approximately 25,000 people suffer a sprained ankle.
Usually this is an inversion (lateral) sprain, which comprises about 90% of ankle sprains. Other sprains include an eversion (medial) sprain, which over-stretches the deltoid ligament. A high ankle sprain, common in contact sports, involves straining or tearing the ligaments above the ankle that connect the tibia and fibula. The resulting injury from these sprains
can range from a Grade 1, in which there is only mild damage to the ligament, to a Grade 3, which involves a complete tear of the ligament and an unstable joint. Treatments can range from orthopedic boots and compression bandages to soccer braces, which provide support and compression and may also help to prevent injury. But before you can determine how to
treat your injured ankle, you will need to know whether it’s sprained or broken. This can be difficult to tell at first glance.

Consider the nature and sound of the injury

—If you twisted your ankle while walking, running, or turning you may have heard a distinct popping sound. No, that doesn’t mean it’s broken. In fact, it most likely means you sprained it. A hard fall or severe impact, such as would be experienced in a car accident or taking a tumble down a staircase, would be more likely to cause a break. The sound of a break is usually a cracking sound.

Examine the swelling and look of the joint

—Sprains are more likely to cause swelling that is not completely immobilizing. In other words, a sprained ankle may be very tender but will still allow slight stretching. Look at the joint. If the area looks crooked or lumpy that could indicate a fracture.
Look for bruising and check for numbness

—A broken ankle is more likely to cause painful bruising, which may indicative of a small fracture in the bone. Also feel for numbness—numbness could means the ankle is broken.

Put some weight on it

—If you can stand up and walk, it’s not broken. The ability to put any kind of significant weight on an ankle signifies that it is probably just sprained.
Both sprained and broken ankles are painful, but they require different medical treatments. Many people will tolerate fractures for weeks, thinking an ankle is only
sprained. Next time you injure your ankle, run the preceding checklist to determine what action you need to take.


Is It Sprained or Broken

This site is for information and support only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment!

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