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What are the Differences Between an Ankle Fracture and an Ankle Sprain?

It has happened to all of us, we are walking or running, and then all of a sudden, we roll our ankle. But how do you know if it is just an ankle sprain or an ankle fracture?

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains occur when there is a tear or stretch in one of the ankle ligaments. This happens when your ankle is forced out of its normal position, which is less severe than a fracture.

The symptoms of an ankle sprain include a painful ankle, swelling of the ankle, and limited range of motion.

An ankle sprain can be caused by walking, running, jumping, or any other physical activity. The pressure is not great enough to break a bone, but can either tear or stretch an ankle ligament.

Treating an ankle sprain is fairly simple. Most ankle sprains will not require surgery and will just need plenty of rest, elevation, and ice applications. More severe ankle sprains may need custom orthotics or physical therapy.

Ankle Fractures

An ankle fracture is simply a broken ankle. This happens when one or more of the bones in the ankle joints are broken. Three different bones make up the ankle: the tibia, the fibula, and the talus. When any of these bones are broken you have an ankle fracture.

Symptoms of an ankle fracture include extreme pain in your ankle and the inability to put pressure on it. Other symptoms include the inability to walk, bruising or swelling of the ankle, and deformities of the ankle.

An ankle fracture can be caused by a severe impact on the ankle while walking, running, jumping, overextending the ankle joints, or putting strong force on the ankle joints.

Most ankle fractures will require surgery to realign the bones. But to be sure, always visit a podiatrist for a thorough exam and an x-ray. Of course, you will need to stay off of your feet and elevate your ankle with ice pack applications until surgery can be done. This can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks to fully heal. Special orthotics and physical therapy may be needed as well.

Receiving a Diagnosis

It is extremely important to visit a foot and ankle doctor in Phoenix for a proper diagnosis. Ankle sprains and ankle fractures require different treatment plans. If left untreated, an ankle sprain or ankle fracture could cause further damage.

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