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Is My Ankle Broken or Sprained?

Athlete Holding Their Ankle in Pain On A Training Mat

Injuring an ankle can be an incredibly painful experience. The joint may be difficult to walk on or swollen, bruised, and tender to the touch. Because symptoms of broken and sprained ankles are very similar, it can be difficult for patients to identify which type of injury they’ve sustained in the moment. Recognizing the telltale signs can help determine if visiting urgent care for ankle pain is the ideal solution. Here, A+ Urgent Care describes the two injuries and how they can be treated.

Symptoms of Sprained Ankles

The ankle bones are held together by durable bands of tissue called ligaments. These ligaments help stabilize the joints and prevent any excessive or unsafe movements. If these ligaments are forced to go beyond their normal range of motion, a sprain occurs. Many motions can result in this injury, such as rolling or twisting an ankle or turning it in an unusual manner. The common symptoms of a sprained ankle include:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Instability
  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Restricted range of motion

Symptoms of Broken Ankles

The ankle is made up of three different bones that comprise the joint, and there are many ways that these bones can be broken or fractured. It can occur as a result of a slip or fall that’s caused the ankle to twist, or it can be the result of direct trauma. Broken ankles range in severity based on the type of break and how many have occurred in the joint. These breaks can be minor, consisting of tiny cracks, or they can be extreme, causing skin punctures. Symptoms of a broken ankle are as follows:

  • Throbbing pain
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling

Additionally, the patient may not be able to place weight on the joint.

How to Tell the Difference Between the Two Injuries

With such similar symptoms and causes, it can be difficult for patients to identify whether they’ve sprained or broken an ankle. However, they can ask themselves these questions to help assess the damage:

  • Does the ankle look deformed?: Swelling occurs in both injuries. But if a patient looks at their ankle and notices that it’s deformed or out of place, this is a good indication of a broken bone.
  • Is there numbness?: Patients with a sprained ankle will feel the pain associated with the injury. Numbness or a tingling sensation is common for patients who have suffered a broken bone.
  • Were noises heard with the injury?: While it may be difficult to do so, thinking back to remember if there was a noise at the time of injury can help identify if the ankle is sprained or broken. Patients who have suffered a sprain won’t hear anything at all, or may only hear a popping sound in severe cases. If the bone broke, a cracking noise may be noticed.
  • Where is the pain located?: Determining the source of the pain can help patients establish the type of injury. Pain located on or directly around the bone is a good indication it might be broken. Pain near the soft part of the ankle can be due to a sprain.

Visit Urgent Care for Ankle Pain

It is estimated that thousands of people experience ankle injuries every day. Patients who have suffered this ailment, whether it is a sprain or a break, can receive the treatment they need at urgent care facilities. These clinics have the necessary resources to provide patients with a variety of healthcare services, such as diagnostic imaging, splints, and braces.

X-ray technology allows the healthcare provider to get a better understanding f the type of injury sustained and the level of severity. With this valuable information, the physician can provide the patient with the best possible treatment plan. Also, urgent care centers often accept a wide range of insurance providers. This allows patients to receive the medical attention they need without having to stress over the finances.

Call A+ Urgent Care for Your Ankle Injury

Patients with minor broken bones and fractures can receive urgent care for ankle pain at a local facility. Located in Clifton, New Jersey, the qualified medical staff at A+ Urgent Care can accurately identify a wide variety of conditions and offer comprehensive treatments onsite. For more information about our healthcare services and the other conditions we treat, contact us today.

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