Signs of Broken Ankle Vs Sprained Ankle

Signs of Broken Ankle Vs Sprained Ankle

Signs of Broken Ankle Vs Sprained Ankle: Follow this diagnosis guide to find out if your ankle is most likely broken or swollen.

 

 

Signs Of A Broken Ankle:

Signs of Broken Ankle Vs Sprained Ankle
This is the sign of an obvious broken ankle. Note the massive deformity. If your ankle looks like this, read no further, you have your answer!

 

A broken ankle always has a history of trauma:

  • A suddenly twisted or bent ankle.
  • Tripping or falling over something.
  • Severe impact such as a fall.
  • Trauma experience in a car accident.
  • Even an awkward step down the stairs can cause it.

 

Symptoms of a broken ankle:

  • Severe pain.
  • Ankle swelling to the injured area.
  • Bruising & purple skin.
  • Very tender region.
  • Inability to put weight on the ankle.
  • Possible deformity to the area.

 

 

A Broken Ankle Vs Sprained Ankle:

1)Sprained Ankle:

Signs of Broken Ankle Vs Sprained Ankle
A sprained ankle is usually do to an inversion ankle sprain. This results in stretching or tearing of the ligaments on the outside of the ankle.

Ankle Sprain symptoms:

  • Pain, mostly on the outside.
  • Swelling & redness.
  • Increase in fluid within the area.
  • Decrease in joint mobility.

 

How long does an ankle sprain last?

  • Most ankle injuries heal in about 1-2 weeks at most.
  • There a types of ankle sprains that cause cause rupture of the ligaments.
  • These injuries may need surgery & may take 2-3 months to heal.
  • But in 90%+ of cases, you should start feeling better after a few days.
  • This is especially true if you use anti-inflammation treatment protocols.

 

Ankle Sprain Treatment:

If it does seem like you have a sprained ankle rather than a broken ankle: Follow this guide to find out exactly how long your ankle treatment will take.


Keys to ankle sprain treatment include:

  • Rest, Ice, Compression, Inflammation.
  • Protection.
  • Physiotherapy.
  • X-ray, CT, MRI or nuclear imaging of the joint.

 

2) Broken Ankle:

It is very difficult to tell the difference between a sprained ankle & a broken ankle. But these signs might make diagnosis more likely:

  • Gross deformity.
  • Dislocation of the ankle.
  • Difficulty moving the ankle.
  • Cracking or snapping noise during the injury.
  • More severe trauma: large fall or motor vehicle injury.

 

 

Broken Ankle Vs Sprained Ankle Prediction:

The Ottawa Ankle Rules are a system designed to predict if someone is more likely to have an ankle injury or a sprained ankle:

 

A broken ankle is more likely if:

 

1)Pain in the tibia 6 cm within the ankle.

  • Two bones make up your leg.
  • The tibia is the inside & the fibula is the outside of the leg.
  • The tibia is the major weight bearing bone.

2)Pain in the fibula 6 cm within the ankle.

  • The fibula is the outside of your leg.
  • It makes the outside boney part of your ankle.
  • If pushing against it hurts, it may be an ankle fracture.
  • **The soft area below the edge of the bone will hurt in a ankle sprain, but not the bone itself!**

 

Signs of Broken Ankle Vs Sprained Ankle
If the tibia or the fibula are tender on palpation within 6 cms: then you are more likely to have bone damage.

 

3) You cannot stand on the ankle.

  • If you cannot bear weight, this is more likely a fracture.
  • Especially a couple days later if you have been icing & elevating the leg.
Signs of Broken Ankle Vs Sprained Ankle
If you cannot put any weight on your ankle after a couple days: you are more likely to be experiencing a broken bone.

 

4)Tenderness on the outside bone of your foot.

  • If the middle outside bone of your foot (5th metatarsal) is hurting, you may have a jones fracture.
  • This is not a broken ankle, but can be just as serious.
  • The 5th metatarsal is a weight bearing bone & if broken can take a very long time to heal.
Signs of Broken Ankle Vs Sprained Ankle
If the outside of your foot is very tender. You may have a fracture of your 5th metatarsal. This is known as a Jones Fracture & will likely need surgery.

 

5)Tenderness when you press on top of the foot (less likely).

  • The bones in the middle of your foot may be broken.
  • But this is much more unlikely.

 

Signs of Broken Ankle Vs Sprained Ankle
A navicular fracture is possible, but these are extremely rare.

 

6) Unable to bear weight on your foot after a couple days.

  • Especially if you have been icing , elevating & taking anti-inflammatories.
  • Just like not being able to put ankle, this also happens with your foot!