Health and Fitness

Diagnosing Ankle Sprains and Breaks

Cody Rowan
Written by Cody Rowan

Ankle sprains are not uncommon, especially for people who are physically active. Rolling your foot on the basketball or tennis court can result in an ankle sprain, which could be a minor injury, or a more serious one if ligaments are torn or the ankle is broken. Here is how to tell if your ankle injury is serious.

Self-Diagnosing a Sprain

When your foot is rolled and you feel pain in the ankle, your first instinct is to assume it is an ankle sprain. People who are athletic can often stand up and walk on a minor sprain, and some professional athletes may be back on the court or the pitch in just a few moments. However, the casual tennis or football player may not be able to simply walk off problems with their ankle. Instead, they need to determine if it is a sprain or worse.

Sprain Symptoms

The symptoms of a sprained ankle are generally as follows:

  • Sudden pain
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Unable to bear weight on the ankle

Sprains have various degrees, with mild sprains being tender to the touch and having little to no swelling. With a minor sprain, you may be able to walk on your ankle. More serious sprains may involve ligament tears and will be very painful and will swell up quickly. Most people usually cannot bear weight on their ankle if they have a serious sprain.

The most common ligament torn in a serious sprain is the anterior talofibular ligament or the calcaneofibular ligament. These ligaments connect the ankle to the foot and are located on or near the bony protrusion on the outside of the ankle.

To begin treating a sprained ankle in Singapore, rest it, place ice on the area which is swollen or on the ankle in general, wrap it with a compression bandage, and elevate the foot. Try to put weight on the ankle after icing it for twenty minutes. If you can’t bear any weight on it, then you may need to see a doctor and have your ankle x-rayed.

Is It Broken?

Self-diagnosing a broken ankle can be difficult because you may not have much pain or swelling if it is a hairline fracture. Some breaks will be obvious due to dislocation of the ankle, along with hearing an audible snap as it is injured. One of the main differences with a sprain as opposed to a break will be the inability to bear weight on the ankle.

If you’ve iced the ankle, notice a dislocation of it, or cannot bear weight on it, you should have it x-rayed. A broken ankle may just need to be wrapped or braced, but in some cases, surgery may be called for. Unless you have it x-rayed, you may not know whether your ankle is broken unless it appears crooked, you heard an audible noise when you twisted or rolled your foot, or you cannot bear any weight on it.

If there are torn ligaments or the ankle was severely broken, then you may need physical therapy for your ankle. This will help maintain your range of motion so the joint doesn’t stiffen and keep you from walking without a limp.

About the author

Cody Rowan

Cody Rowan

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