A sprain refers to stretches or tears in the ligaments – ankle sprains most commonly occur when the ligaments on the outside of the ankle are injured. A fracture refers to a broken bone, which may occur as a result of trauma or as a result of repetitive motions, in which case it is called a “stress fracture.” Ankle sprains and stress fractures are common especially among athletes, and can often be treated conservatively if diagnose early. Kesler offers both surgical and non-surgical care options to patients in Wayne as well as Pompton Lakes, Franklin Lakes, Oakland, NJ, Wyckoff, Fair Lawn, Midland Park, North Haledon, West Caldwell, and Paterson.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a sprained ankle and an ankle fracture based on symptoms alone. In both cases you may have difficulty bearing weight, it will be tender to touch, and may be swollen, bruised, or red. If multiple bones in the foot or ankle are broken, you will likely lose stability in the ankle and not be able to walk. However, it is possible to only break one bone in the foot or ankle without realizing how bad the injury is – but if it does not receive proper treatment, further ligament damage may occur and full recovery may never be achieved.
In both sprains and fractures, there will likely be swelling. If you feel numbness or tingling, it is more likely to be a break than a sprain. There may also be pain concentrated over the ankle or foot bones, and the ankle or foot will most likely be misshapen. You may have also heard a crack as the injury occurred. If you feel pain in the soft parts of the foot and ankle rather than tingling, it is likely to be a sprain. The injury may have occurred silently, or you may have heard a “pop” if the injury was more severe.