Over the winter months, some of us will probably experience slips and falls in the ice and snow. Probably the most common injury experienced as a result of these accidents is a sprained ankle. This post sets out to explain how to know if you have sprained your ankle. It will also help you to differentiate between the symptoms of an ankle sprain vs those of a fracture.
A natural question to ask will be whether the aching ankle is actually a sprain that should be treated in the prescribed manner. It’s also important to be sure that you have not experienced a more serious injury such as a broken ankle. If so, your injury cannot be treated at home and will require specialist medical attention.
How To Know If You Have Sprained Your Ankle
To know whether you may have sprained your ankle, look for the following signs or symptoms:
Snapping Or Popping Sound Or Sensation
A snapping or popping sensation at the instant you experienced the injury. This could be the result of the tearing of ankle ligaments that characterize an ankle sprain. This can be one of the most reliable signs of an ankle sprain. However, it is possible to experience a sprain without any discernible sound or sensation.
Ankle pain and swelling starting immediately after you receive the injury. The greater the pain level, the more severe the sprain may be. However, you can also experience ankle pain as a result of a fractured ankle. We have provided some pointers below to help you distinguish between an ankle sprain and a fracture.
Bruising & Tenderness
Bruising and tenderness in the region of your ankle is another sign that can help you to know whether you have sprained your ankle.
Discoloured skin around your ankle.
Ankle stiffness or instability. Like the popping sound or sensation mentioned above, this is an extremely reliable indicator of an ankle sprain (particularly ankle instability).
Difficulty Walking Or Standing
Difficulty walking or standing on the ankle.
A combination of some or all of the above symptoms may be an indicator to help you know whether you have an ankle sprain. However, you can experience some of these symptoms whether you have sprained your ankle or broken it. So it’s important to understand the differences between the symptoms of these 2 injuries.
Ankle Sprain vs Fracture
As we have mentioned above, an important reason why you should know whether you have sprained your ankle is to eliminate the possibility of an ankle fracture. The following pointers can help you to distinguish between the symptoms of an ankle sprain vs those of a fracture.:
- As we have mentioned above, a sprain may be accompanied by a popping noise. However, a fracture may be indicated by a “cracking” instead of popping noise;
- Although a sprain may indicate itself by pain, a fractured ankle is more likely to be accompanied by numbness or tingling. However, pain may still be possible;
- With a fracture, your pain, numbness or tingling will occur directly over your ankle bone. If you have sprained your ankle, the pain is more likely to occur in a soft area of the joint;
- Does your ankle appear to be misshapen or “out of line”? If so, that can be an indicator of a fracture.
If you notice one or more of the symptoms above, you should see a doctor. He or she will be able to help you know whether you have sprained your ankle or broken it.