What is the Difference Between Ankle Sprain and Fracture?

The majority of the injuries that happen more often are the fractures and sprains. However, it can be difficult to tell one injury apart from another. The fracture is defined as the break in one or more parts of the bone of the ankle, such as calcaneus, fibula, talus, and tibia. On the other hand, the sprained ankles are defined as the injury in the ligaments of the ankle because of the excessive stretching beyond the limits. The similarity in the situation is that both of the injuries can be painful and can occur because of the same injuries. Some of the common reasons for the ankle injuries are walking on rocky surfaces, injuries incurred while playing the sports, road accidents, etc. 

What is an Ankle Sprain? 

Sprained ankle, muscle injuries and muscle strain

The ankle sprains can happen from the range of mild to severe. They are most often seen in the people who take part in strenuous sporting activities. The common symptoms of the sprain are swelling, instant pain, inability to walk, and bruising. If the effect of the pain is less, the patient may feel some tenderness when the area is touched and may not experience the swelling. In some of the serious cases, the swelling is significant, and the pain is unbearable, where the weight on foot can increase the pain even more.

If you are suffering from an ankle sprain, you can follow the protocol called as the RICE protocol, which consists of REST, icing, usage of the compression bandages to wrap the bandage around the injured area. You can also try elevating the foot to decrease the swelling and pain. In some cases, you may wear a splint or a boot to keep the ankle stable and in one position without any inconvenience. You can try taking over-the-counter-medications to lessen the pain. If you are a sports lover and need to go out in the field quite often, you can try the treatment of physiotherapy to take care of the sprained ankle. 

What is Ankle Fracture? 

Ankle Fracture Leg Bones Broken

The ankle fractures are similar to the ankle sprains. It is called as the sports injury because many athletes are known to incur a fracture. But more than the ankle sprain the ankle fracture requires immediate medical attention. There are some signs you can be aware of, which will help you to identify the ankle sprain. If there is a deformed ankle or sort of numbness in the foot, you have to visit the doctor immediately. If the swelling and the pain did not become less in a day or two, it is a sure sign for you to visit a doctor. You can also follow the above-mentioned RICE protocol. If there is a weakness, and the blood circulation is disrupted in the area of the injury, urgent medical attention is required. There are certified sports physicians specially trained to treat the sports ankle fractures. You can pay a visit to them to take good care of the ankle and treat the injury.

The Diagnosis 

At the time of the physical test, your doctor will examine the ankle. They will touch and check the points of tenderness and move the foot to check the motion. The doctor will see what points cause you pain and inconvenience. If the injury is serious, the doctor will tell you to take the following steps. 

  • The doctor will ask you to take the x-ray where a small amount of rays of radiation passes through the injured area, and the image of the bones are shown. If anything is broken, you will be treated accordingly. 
  • Possibly the doctor will tell you to take MRI Magnetic resonance imaging, to view the 3B image of the injured area. 
  • More rest is needed for the injury to heal and the broken bones to mend. So the doctor will advise you to avoid physical activities for some time and may also prescribe you doses of medicine to ease the pain and treat the injury. 
  • The doctor will ask you to do simple movements daily to make the ankles work together, which will quicken the process of healing. It will also help to lessen the sprains and support the joint. 

Know How to Tell the Difference 

The symptoms are very similar that many people get confused if it is an ankle sprain or an ankle fracture. So how can you learn to know which is which? There are some differentiating features which can help you. You can recall if there was a definite sound when the injury took place. You may have felt it. A cracking noise during the injury is a sure sign of it being a fracture. A popping sound will come if it is a sprain. 

Another factor is the shape of the ankle. If it appears to be different than it normally is, for instance, if it is deformed or crooked in comparison and also swollen, this may be the case of fracture. The third sign is the feeling of numbness in the ankle. If you are not able to move the ankle even a little bit than it is broken, you may have to take the x-ray to know about the problem clearly. The sports injury doctor will know what to do, so visit the doctor is you identify the signs. 

How to Lessen the Risks of Ankle Injuries? 

There is no way where we can avoid sudden accidents or falls which may break the ankle and prove fatal. However, there are some things which we can do to be careful and aware. You can reduce the risks by not playing when tired, eating a healthy diet, and staying steady. You can nourish your muscles by maintaining a balanced diet. You can be ready before exercising by warming up a bit by stretching the muscles and bones. Wearing suitable and convenient shoes can save your ankle even if you fall. Always run on the surfaces which are flat because you are more likely to move at a good pace in the even surfaces. 


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