Sprained Ankle vs Broken Ankle in Powder Springs, GA
If you've hurt yourself and want to know how badly, it can be hard to tell if you've got a sprained ankle vs a broken ankle. Now, because of the way it's constructed, there are lots of ways you can injure your ankle. Take your ankle joint. It's made up of the ends of your tibula and fibula bones. And those bones are connected by several different ligaments, helping stabilize your body and keep your ankle in motion.
If you hurt your ankle in any way, it's very important to correctly diagnose and treat the injury right away. Otherwise, your injury may not heal properly, increasing your risk for chronic pain and arthritis. Want to prevent this outcome? In this post, we'll help you identify sprained and broken ankle symptoms. Then, we'll share tips for treating or even preventing these injuries.
What is a sprained ankle?
Most ankle sprains happen when you roll, turn or twist your ankle. This awkward motion takes the ankle out of its proper position, stretching or even tearing your ligaments. If you don't quickly or properly treat your sprain, or if you resume activities too soon after a sprain, you raise your risk for recurring sprains. Or for further complications.
What is a broken ankle?
Most broken ankles involve the fibula's lateral malleolus. When you break this bone, you may have a clean fracture. But if ligaments are aslo involved, the injury may be more complicated. With a clean break, you can usually treat an ankle fracture without surgery. But if ligaments or bones like the , medial or posterior malleolus are also injured, you may need to surgically repair the injury. Otherwise, mobility may be affected, and arthritis will be more likely to set in.
Sprained Ankle vs Broken Ankle: What are the Symptoms?
The symptoms for both these injuries are fairly similar, making it harder to tell the difference on your own. They include bruising, swelling, and pain. Bearing weight on the affected ankle will be difficult, but not impossible.
Because of the overlapping symptoms, it's hard to diagnose a sprained or broken ankle outside of our podiatry practice in Powder Springs, GA, serving Lost Mountain, Marietta, Dallas, Kennesaw, Acworth, Hiram, and Cobb and Paulding Counties. That's why, when you come in with any of these symptoms, we'll likely order an ankle x-ray to properly diagnose your injury and provide appropriate treatment.
Is an ankle sprain or break more painful?
The pain you feel from an ankle injury will vary by individual. Your discomfort will depend on your personal tolerance levels, as well as the severity of your sprain or fracture. The number of bones or ligaments involved will also impact how much pain you feel.
Can you still walk on a broken ankle?
Yes, you can walk on a broken ankle. Just as you can walk on a sprained ankle. As a result, your ability to walk on your affected foot or ankle can't help you tell the difference between a sprained vs broken ankle. How can you know which injury you're dealing with? The answer is simple: you really can't diagnose an ankle injury on your own. Instead, you need to come into the office right away to get a proper diagnosis, and the right treatment. Want to stay out of the office? The only way to do that is to protect your ankles from injuries in the first place. And here's how you can do just that.
Sprained Ankle vs Broken Ankle: Prevention Tips
There are a number of ways you can protect your ankles from sprains or fractures. First, you can focus on strengthening your bones and ligaments, both through your diet and your exercise. Taking a daily vitamin D supplement of at least 600 IU for adults under 70, and 800 IU for adults over that age, can strengthen your bones and help prevent fractures.
Then, workouts that focus on balance and coordination can help boost stability in your ankle's ligaments, reducing your risk for rolling injuries. But even simple acts like daily walks, or weight bearing exercises, can help reduce your ankle injury risk. By strengthening the muscles that support and surround your ankle, you reduce it's workload and increase your odds for a healthy future.
Shoe choice matters, too. If you have high arches, you're at a higher risk for ankle sprains. But you can reduce that risk by choosing supportive shoes, and by adding custom orthotics to your foot wear when possible. (These are medical grade shoe inserts that correct your body's specific instabilities. As such, they are one of the best tools you can use to prevent ankle sprains.)
Of course, even with your best efforts, injury prevention isn't always possible. So, when that's the case, you'll want to explore the treatment differences for a sprained ankle vs a broken ankle.
Treating Sprained and Broken Ankles in Powder Springs, GA
How we treat your sprained ankle vs broken ankle will depend on the severity of your injury. For that reason, we won't be able to determine your exact treatment plan until we've given you a thorough diagnostic exam. Still, there are a few standard treatment plans that we can share with you.
With a sprained ankle, treatment will usually involve RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. If you're in lots of pain, you may add over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. Most of your recovery will happen at home, but you'll need to come into the office to rule out a fracture before starting your at-home recovery. Also, you should check with our podiatrist, Dr. Alvin Cowans, before resuming your normal activities. Otherwise, your recovery may be compromised.
In contrast, after we diagnose a broken ankle, we'll need to immobilize the affected area. (This may mean putting you in a walking boot or wearing a cast, depending on the severity of your injury.) In some cases, you may need surgery to repair a fractured ankle and make sure your bones are in alignment. Otherwise, your injury may never heal properly.
Want to protect yourself from a sprained or broken ankle? Follow some of our preventative tips. And, if you experience any ankle pain, especially after rolling or twisting your foot, schedule an immediate appointment in the office. We'll see if you have a sprained ankle vs a broken ankle, and get you the care you need to ensure a full recovery.