There are some things you are expected to know the difference between. Coke and Diet Coke, for example, or your child and every other similarly sized human who is not your child.
When it comes to a bad ankle sprain and a broken bone, however, it can be more difficult to discern the difference than you might expect.
And of course, if one of these injuries just happened to you, you are certainly not in the best position to make a patient and well-considered analysis!
Knowing the difference between an ankle sprain and a fracture can be helpful in certain ways, and we will be going over some tips for how you might be able to tell if you likely have one or the other. However, it is important not to miss the forest for the trees here.
You are not a podiatric expert, and you are not expected to be. But you are expected to get help for an injury when you need it.
If an injury is so bad that you are having trouble figuring out whether it’s a bad sprain or a full-on break, then you definitely need help.
Your reaction to either situation should be the same: Stop what you’re doing immediately, take weight off the affected leg, and contact us right away! You don’t have to tell us exactly what it is; it’s our job to tell you.
Regardless of the condition, it will clearly require proper treatment. A sprain is not “less troublesome” than a fracture – at least not in all cases. If either one doesn’t heal correctly, it can cause lasting problems down the road. This may mean chronic pain, ankle instability, or even arthritis.
So with that cleared up, let’s actually dive into ways you might be able to tell a fracture from a sprain.
Before going any further, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page with what these injuries comprise.
Both can happen when the ankle experiences a sharp or intense twist. Heavy impacts are more likely to result in a fracture, however.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself that can help you narrow down what your injury might be. These are not guarantees, but very good information to take note of for when you talk with us.
Remember: no matter which of the above symptoms may apply to you or not, do not try to “walk it off” or ignore the problem. Stop activity, get off your injured leg, and give us a call. We will quickly get to the cause of your injury (perhaps requiring an imaging test to confirm the diagnosis and ensure there isn’t more than one type of injury), then recommend the best course of treatment for your needs.
Call our office to tell us what happened and schedule an appointment. We will see you as soon as possible, as necessary.
Enid – (580) 237-3338