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From The Doctors

Is it a sprain or a break?

April 10, 2017


Is it a sprain or a break?

One minute you’re walking along thinking you’re looking real good in those stiletto booties and the next you’re on the ground, both your ego and your ankle bruised and in pain.

The question you ask yourself—after you wonder if anyone just saw you bust your ass in broad daylight—is likely, “Is it broken or just sprained?”

In either case, after you’ve grumbled about your clumsiness and possibly shed a tear about your now-scuffed suede boots, you’ll still want to seek treatment. But knowing the differences between the two will help you know what to expect. Prompt attention will help get you back on track, no matter which of these issues you are facing.

What are signs of a sprain?

Many people who suspect a break because of pain actually have a sprain. One of the most common symptoms of a sprain is pain in the soft tissue area, but not the bone. You might still be able to walk easily enough, but pain or weakness often occurs when there is ligament damage. Having an injured ankle checked out is always a good precautionary measure—and you’ll probably sleep a lot better at night.

What are signs of a break?

If most of the pain in your injured ankle is over the bone, this might be a sign that you’ve fractured it. Further confirmation comes when you discover it’s hard to bear weight on it and you’re cursing the siren song of those buttery-soft boots. The longer you put off getting some type of treatment after injuring your ankle, the more likely you are to sustain lasting damage or develop arthritis.

How do these injuries happen?

Although you can fracture an ankle during a fall, twisting your leg in the wrong direction can also cause a break. Sprains are also common when you twist your ankle after stepping in something or taking a spill on an icy sidewalk. In many cases, you might not realize how badly you’ve injured your ankle until the swelling starts, which can happen with both a sprain and a break.

How are sprains and breaks treated?

Imaging scans such as X-rays can diagnose whether your injury is a sprain or fracture. Both injuries can often be stabilized and treated non-invasively, which means no surgery. A splint or boot (no, not Louboutin) may be used to immobilize the ankle in either case. If the injury is severe enough, you may need to use crutches to take the weight off the affected foot. You’ll also relegate your high-heels to the back of the closet for a while.

What should you do if you have a sprain or break?

Contact us for an appointment at Innovative Express Care. Don’t hobble around in pain insisting you’ll be fine, get it checked out and we’ll quickly help you get started on the road to recovery.

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