Q:

How can I tell if my ankle is broken or sprained?

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Quick Answer

A swollen and tender ankle that is still movable is likely a sprained ankle, while a broken ankle is typically swollen, bruised, numb, tender and deformed, according to Sports Injury Advice. Sprains usually result from stepping on an uneven surface, twisting the foot or losing balance. A broken ankle usually results from a hard fall or heavy impact.

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How can I tell if my ankle is broken or sprained?
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Full Answer

Common symptoms of a sprain include pain, swelling and inflammation, according to the National Health Service of the United Kingdom. This type of injury occurs when one or more ligaments are twisted, torn or stretched.

Sports Injury Advice explains that a sprained ankle is usually more painful than a broken one. However, a person can still walk with a sprained ankle, but the injury is often painful. When a person experiences sudden, severe pain and the ankle becomes deformed, the injury is likely a broken ankle, according to Sports Injury Advice, and individuals often cannot place any weight on the affected foot. The NHS states that pain, inability to walk, swelling and a "crack" sound usually indicate a broken or fractured ankle.

It is important to see a health care provider to determine whether an ankle is broken or simply sprained, according to Sports Injury Advice. Doctors generally take an X-ray to find out the exact injury and conduct a stress test to determine if surgery is necessary.

Learn more about Breaks & Sprains

Related Questions

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    What is the typical healing time for a broken ankle?

    A:

    Depending on the severity of the injury and type of treatment, the broken bones in a broken ankle typically heal after six weeks, and most patients resume nonstrenuous daily activities within three to four months, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Some people take up to two years to recover from ankle fractures.

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    How do you sprain your ankle?

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    According to WebMD, most ankle sprains occur when a person makes a rapid shifting motion while the foot is planted, causing the ankle to either roll outward or the foot to roll inward. This stretches and damages the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. An opposite reaction, in which the ankle rolls inward and the foot rolls outward, can cause a sprained ankle, but this situation is less common.

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    What are the symptoms of a sprained ankle?

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    Symptoms of a sprained ankle may include pain, swelling, tenderness and bruising at the injury site, according to WebMD. Individuals with severely sprained ankles also may have difficulty walking or maintaining balance. Sprains also can cause tearing or popping sensations at the moment of impact.

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    What are some ways to break your ankle?

    A:

    Common causes of a broken ankle include car crashes, the impact of a heavy object, falls, twisting the ankle and overuse, states Mayo Clinic. High-impact sports, faulty sports equipment, particular work environments, certain medical conditions, gender differences and a cluttered, poorly lit home may lead to a broken ankle.

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