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What is the Difference Between a Sprained Ankle and Broken Ankle?
Posted by Administrator on 1/21/2013
Injuries suffered to the small joint of the ankle can also be extremely difficult to diagnose due to the amount of swelling that may occur when an injury happens to that region of the body.  So what is the difference between a sprained ankle and a broken ankle?  This is a very good question and you will find all of your answers within this article that will help you determine the difference between a sprained ankle and a broken ankle.

First off it is important to have a general understanding of the anatomy of the ankle, and we will begin by discussing the ligaments of the ankle. Ligaments are tough, rope-like fibers that connect bone to bone. When ligaments are injured, it is called a sprain. The symptoms of a severe sprain are very similar to those of a broken bone. It is impossible to know without a doubt whether a bone is broken or just sprained without an X-ray.

It can be very difficult to determine the difference between a sprained ankle and a broken ankle for someone who is not a medical professional. When a bone in the ankle is actually fractured, it is known as a broken ankle or ankle fracture. It is usually the small bone to the outside of the ankle, known as the fibula, that is broken.

How to Tell the Difference Between a Sprained Ankle and a Broken Ankle?

According to research conducted by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, around 25,000 individuals suffer from an ankle sprain every day. It is important that you learn to tell the difference between a sprained ankle and a broken ankle, especially if you are an athlete who plays sports on a regular basis. Below is a list of steps that you should follow in order to determine whether you are suffering from a sprained ankle or broken ankle.

The first thing you should do is consider how the injury took place. If you stepped on an uneven surface, twisted your foot or lost your balance, you most likely suffered a sprained ankle. If you tripped, suffered a hard fall or experienced heavy impact, like an automobile accident, then you may very well have broken your ankle.

Examine your ankle to determine if there is any swelling. If the ankle is swollen and tender but you can still move it, it is a sprained ankle.

Rate your pain. A broken ankle will cause swelling, bruising, numbness and tenderness; however, a sprained ankle is often more painful. On the other hand, if you experience immediate, severe pain or the ankle is deformed, you most likely have a broken ankle.

Try to walk on your ankle. If you can walk, even if it is painful, this is an indication that the injury is just a sprain. If you cannot put any weight on the affected foot, your ankle is probably broken.

A professional health care provider will be able to tell you for sure if your ankle is broken or just sprained. Your doctor will take an X-ray, which will help determine for sure the exact injury. Your doctor may also decide to perform a stress test to determine if surgery is necessary and determine which ligaments you have injured.

Recovering From an Ankle Sprain

The recovery time for a sprained ankle depends on a number of different factors, including the amount of swelling present, the extent of the sprain, initial care and whether or not you choose to undergo treatment from a physical therapist. A Grade 1 ankle sprain with minor pain and swelling will generally take one to two weeks to heal. The most common sprain, a Grade 2, can take from four to six weeks to heal. The most serious type of ankle sprain is a Grade 3, which can take from eight to twelve weeks to heal completely.

Best Ankle Braces for Ankle Sprain

1) Ossur Gameday Ankle Brace
Brace Description: Figure-8 strapping provides inversion/eversion support and compression that mimics athletic taping. However, unlike athletic taping, the GameDay can be quickly and easily adjusted without shoe removal

2) Breg Ultra Zoom Ankle Brace
Brace Description: The Ultra Zoom ankle brace is the most advanced brace on the market. Exclusive Performathane technology enables the ankle brace to form to the ankle for enhanced comfort and long term support. Designed for daily use to help with ankle instabilities.


3) Breg Silicone Elastic Ankle Support
Brace Description: The Silicone Elastic Ankle Support provides instant compression for relief from pain, swelling, and inflammation around the joints in the ankle. The contoured silicone insert is designed to fit around the malleolus for added pain relief in sensitive areas.

Recovering From a Broken Ankle

Recovery success from a broken ankle depends on the method of treatment that you choose. You will recover from a broken ankle much faster if you do not move the leg much, especially before treatment has been administered. If the bone has actually cracked and it becomes brittle, then the recovery time will be considerably longer. To speed recovery of a broken ankle, refrain from putting any weight on the ankle. Use an ice pack to keep the swelling down, which will effectively reduce pain as well. Some patients will need to use a cane or crutches to help keep weight off the affected ankle. Keep in mind if surgery is required to correct your broken ankle, recovery time will be significantly increased.

If you believe that you have suffered from a broken ankle it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Once you receive the proper treatment and your ankle has stabilized you may find it beneficial to wear ankle brace or support, such as the ones listed above.

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