Steve and Dr. Cole discuss the potential recovery from a break vs a sprain.


These two injuries can result in similar symptoms and can be hard for people to differentiate. It is important to understand the differences.

The ankle joint is made up of bones, muscles, cartilage, ligaments and tendons. An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments, a strong band of tissue that support and stabilize the ankle bones, are stretched or torn. This happens when the ankle is moved in awkwardly with a twist, turn or roll.

A sprained ankle is an injury that occurs when you roll, twist or turn your ankle in an awkward way. This can stretch or tear the tough bands of tissue (ligaments) that help hold your ankle bones together.

Lateral ligament sprain-This is the most common ankle sprain, one which causes a throbbing pain on the outside of the ankle. This sprain may also cause swelling and bruising. With a tear, you may also have a distinct feeling of the joint giving out.

Medial and high ankle sprains-These are less frequent that lateral ligament sprains and usually occur if the ankle rolls outward. Pain is present on the inside of the ankle. If the foot rotates out in relation to the leg, it can cause a high ankle sprain (commonly seen in football players), characterized by pain above the ankle.

Symptoms of an Ankle Sprain

  • Bruising
  • Discolored skin
  • Inability to bear weight
  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Tender to the touch

Symptoms of an Ankle Fracture

Depending on the severity of the break(s), you may experience:

  • Ankle deformity
  • Bruising
  • Inability to bear weight
  • Immediate, severe pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness to the touch

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