How to Tell the Difference Between Ankle Sprains and Ankle Fractures.
As the Pearland, Texas, school year kicks off, many students will be going out for sports, especially soccer and football. Along with the excitement of getting to play comes the very real possibility of an injury, especially an ankle injury. Here’s what you need to know about ankle breaks and ankle sprains:
What’s the Difference Between Ankle Sprains and Ankle Fractures?
If you sprain your ankle, one or more ligaments tear from being stretched beyond the customary range of motion. Ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect bones with other bones at the joints. A fractured ankle can involve a clean break of one ankle bone or a compound fracture of two or more bones. Both injuries can be painful and serious, but it’s not always obvious which injury you have suffered.
How Do I Know Which Ankle Injury I Have?
Sprains involve pain in the soft tissues around the ankle. Serious sprains can impair walking as well. Fractures involve pain on a bone and an inability to walk.
Symptoms of a Sprained Ankle
Ankle sprains often occur while playing sports and can be mild or severe. Serious sprains can cause rapid and substantial swelling, severe bruising and sudden, intense pain; you might not be able to walk on that foot. Mild sprains may involve only slight tenderness in the soft tissue areas with minimal bruising, little or no swelling and no interference with walking.
Symptoms of a Broken Ankle
Fractures are also common sports injuries and can range from mild hairline fractures to severe compound breaks. If the break is serious, your ankle may appear twisted, crooked or deformed, and there could be swelling, numbness and extreme pain. If your ankle is broken, you will probably be unable to put any weight on it.
When to See a Doctor
If you suspect that your ankle is broken, see a physician immediately for an x-ray, especially if the break makes your ankle look deformed. Numbness, reduced circulation, inability to stand up, weakness and extreme pain are also indications of a serious fracture that should be seen by a doctor right away.
With a sprain, you have more leeway in the treatment process. You can watch the ankle for two to four days, apply the RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) treatment to stabilize the injury and see what happens. If you are still experiencing significant discomfort, black and blue marks, swelling or an inability to walk after two to four days, head for the nearest urgent care doctor and get it checked out. Your doctor might prescribe a splint or a boot to stabilize the ankle, and for serious sprains, you might need physiotherapy before resuming sports activities.
Don’t try to push through an ankle injury. You can easily make the problem worse, and that can lead to long-term ankle disability and arthritis. To learn more about treatment for ankle sprains, strains and fractures or to see an urgent care physician in the Pearland, Texas, area, visit Prime Urgent Care.