Any type of irregularities in your body is problematic. However, staying well-informed about your injury will help in a quick recovery. Thus sprained ankle and broken ankle both are painful. Both of these occur with similar kinds of injuries. However, it is essential to know that there are certain differences between sprained ankle vs broken ankle.
Sprained ankle refers to the injury caused due to torn or stretched joints of the ankle’s ligaments. It is the injury taking place due to a single or more than one fracture of the bones of the ankle.
However, it is difficult to find out the differences between a sprained ankle vs broken ankle. It is mainly in the cases when the sprained ankle is severe. Thus, you can do an x-ray to identify the injury in the ankle is broken or sprain.
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Symptoms of broken ankle vs sprain ankle
Well, the symptoms vary a little between sprained ankle vs broken ankle. A broken ankle involves symptoms like swelling of the ankle in the injured area. This may also lead to skin purpling or bruising. It does not enable the ankle to carry weight. A broken ankle may also give rise to the possibility of deformity of that area. It also causes severe pain in the injured area.
The symptoms of a sprained ankle may involve pain in the outside of the ankle. It causes redness and swelling. A sprained ankle can generate increased fluid in the affected area leading to swelling. It is also responsible for decreasing joint mobility.
How does a broken ankle feel?
In the comparison of sprained ankle vs broken ankle, the broken ankle may result in great suffering. A broken ankle is a fracture caused in any three bones among talus, tibia, and fibula. It takes place due to stress in the ankle joint bone and is far beyond the strength of the elements. In this case, tearing of the ligaments and ankle fracture may be caused simultaneously.
It would be best if you had a physical examination for diagnosis in both the cases of sprained ankle vs broken ankle. Specific treatments for healing a broken ankle are casting, wrapping, taping, surgery or booting. An x-ray can also be done if required. This depends on the kind of severity of the pain that occurred due to the injury.
The time that a broken ankle may take to recover is about 4 to 8 weeks. It might take around several months to regain the movements of the joints by the ankle. The fractures that would require surgery might take a few more time to recover injury.
Different kinds of Ankle Fractures
Ankle fracture is caused by either one or multiple fractures of bones. The following are the different kinds of ankle fractures that might occur.
Lateral Malleolus Fracture
This is the fracture at the outer portion of the ankle. It consists of the fibula bone.
Medial Malleolus Fracture
This is the fracture that occurs at the inside portion of the ankle. This portion consists of the tibia bone.
Posterior Malleolus Fracture
Posterior malleolus is known as the ankle bone that is present at the back of the tibia bones.
Bimalleolar refers to the fracture of the two bones of the ankle. In this case, mainly the lateral and medial malleoli bones fractures. This may cause the ankle joint to become unstable.
In this case, all the three bones that are lateral, posterior, and medial malleoli ankle bones break or fracture. This is a severe injury that causes due to tremendous force, dislocation, or the disruption of the ankle’s ligaments.
This injury is also known as a high ankle sprain. However, it is treated to be a fracture. It might cause the twisting of the outer portion of the ankle bones. This may be responsible for the injury of the fibula bones. It may also affect the knee (proximal) portion and lead to a severe ankle sprain.
Sprain vs fracture foot
There are specific differences between a foot sprain and a fractured foot. The following are the differences in signs of a foot sprain and fracture.
A foot sprain is a result of an injury in the soft tissue. The symptoms of the sprained foot are swelling, pain, inability to manage weight, and discoloration of the foot area. You can treat it by resting, icing, taking OTC (over-the-counter) medication, and elevation. However, a severe sprain might require surgery, rehab, visiting the hospital, or would need crutches.
The human foot comprises 19 muscles, 107 ligaments, 26 bones, and 33 joints. A foot fracture is caused due to a breaking of a bone. As the symptoms are almost similar to the symptoms of a foot sprain, if you feel that the foot is fractured, you can take help from experts.
Certain breaks in foot bones may result in deformation of the skin of the leg or foot. Fracture of the foot is also responsible for the pain or numbness in the areas more than the injured spot. Some other symptoms are constant cold feeling in the area, discoloration, difficulty in movement, and inability to bear weight. It is advisable to consult a doctor when the following discomforts may occur.
- Inability to manage weight on the limb that has been affected
- Numbness of the injured area
- Infection signs like red streaking of the affected area and also fever
- It also causes pain on the top of the affected area
Broken ankle swelling how long
A fractured or broken ankle would require six weeks if surgery is not needed. However, the recovery of the same highly depends on the depth of injury. Consulting a doctor can help the healing to take lesser time compared to the period that has been discussed. The following are some of the recommended steps that can help to recover the swelling early.
Using a knee scooter: Knee scooter can help eliminate the risks of slipping that might be a reason to fall. They are an efficient alternative to crutches.
Keeping the foot elevated: This can help to reduce the swelling of the ankle. It is also responsible for decreasing the pain. Following this process, you can also apply ice to the area of injury to reduce the pain.
Purchasing shower chair: While taking a shower, you can use this shower chair to assure that the ankle does not have to bear weight, contributing to the healing process. This can enable one to take a shower properly while suffering from broken ankle swelling with overall stability.
Taking necessary supplements: Lack of calcium intake can result in a delay in healing of the swelling. It is an efficient supplement for people suffering from broken ankles. The patients are also recommended to intake Vitamin D. Fish oils can also heal a fractured ankle.
Listening to the doctor’s advice: For a severely broken ankle, you can consult doctors. Listening to a doctor and taking his advice is recommended for the fast recovery of the broken ankle. Doctors can suggest the best medication for healing broken ankles quickly and efficiently.
Can you bear weight on a broken ankle?
Bearing weight can be dangerous for a broken ankle. It can create more problems for patients suffering from broken ankles. Carrying weight can contribute towards worsening the swelling and pain of the fractured ankle. It can also make the healing process lengthy. Thus it is best to avoid weight during the process of healing of broken ankle. It can create pressure on the ankle during the process of healing and further deteriorate the condition.
The time required to heal a broken ankle is six weeks. Thus after this period, you can try carrying weight little by little. It would help if you did not put too much pressure on the broken ankle and the affected area. The process should regain by carrying the bearable weight.
However, if possible, you can restart weight-bearing from the two weeks’ time after the broken ankle has taken place. Thus by the 6th week, the patients might gain access to the process of weight-bearing. It will also be easier for these patients to get back to work as the healing process ends.
After the six weeks of treating the broken ankle, people bearing weight are getting back to their work efficiently. Thus you can bear weight during healing based on the severity of the broken ankle.
Signs of a broken ankle
The signs of both the case, sprained ankle vs broken ankle, are more or less similar. However, one will be more painful than the other.
A broken ankle is an injury caused to the bones. It may be caused due to the twisting injury either by a fall or misstep, leading to various consequences. It can be either tiny cracks on your bones or severe cracks that would take a long time to heal.
The following are the symptoms that can ensure that you are suffering from a broken ankle.
- Immediate and throbbing pain
- Pain or difficulty on walking as well as bearing weight
You should give some time to check if it heals with self-care. However, if it does not work and the swelling does not get better, you should consult a doctor. You can also consult a doctor if you find difficulty walking and bearing weight for an extended period. This is true in both sprained ankle vs broken ankle cases.
There might be different causes that can result in a broken ankle. The following are some of the reasons behind the same.
- Car Accidents
Risk factors of broken ankles
There are also certain risk factors of getting a broken ankle. The following are some of the risk factors that might be responsible for the same.
- Participation in sports with high risks: The twisting injuries, direct blows, and stresses can cause broken ankles from sports like football, basketball, soccer, etc.
- Using improper techniques or equipment in sports: Improper techniques like lack of enough stretching or warming up before participating in a sport may cause a broken ankle. An example of using improper equipment is using shoes that are not fitting correctly.
- Increasing the level of activity suddenly: Whether trained or fresher athlete, a sudden increase in the ranks of activity may cause a broken ankle. The process should be gradually increasing rather than rapidly.
Broken ankle treatment
Both sprained ankle vs broken ankle requires good treatment. A broken ankle, whether small or big, requires proper treatment to heal it properly. The following are some of the methods of treatment for a fractured ankle.
Icing and Elevation: The swelling is evident after a broken ankle. Thus the essential step of treating it is by reducing the swelling. This is responsible for reducing the pain and decreasing pressure of the surrounding areas of the fracture.
Immobilization: This is the process of applying a cast or splint that can hold the ankle in its place. This is very useful in the healing process of the broken ankle. It also contributes to reducing the pain by allowing rest to the ankle joint and subsiding the swelling.
Crutches: This is important to heal the broken ankle by managing weight-bearing and providing rest to the ankle bones. Crutches acts as great support at the time of the healing process of the broken ankle.
Surgery of the Ankle Fracture: This is the process you can use in case of the severity of the broken ankle. The following are the considerations for broken ankle surgery.
- Ankle joint stability
- Improving the medical and health conditions of the patients.
Thus it is essential to be patient while dealing with the healing of a broken ankle. It would help if you did not push very hard for recovery, which may increase the risks or delay in recovery. Thus you should consider the supplements that the doctors will refer for fast healing of the same.
Avoid walking from uneven surfaces. You can take certain precautions to avoid a broken ankle or fracture. You can wear properly fitted shoes. People can avoid exercises when they are too tired or not willing to can also prevent the same.
Whatever be the injury, you will have to take an adequate amount of rest in sprained ankle vs broken ankle. Otherwise, the deformity may persist, which may stay a lifetime.