Sprained Ankle vs. Broken Ankle: Know the Difference

A closeup of a man holding a swollen ankle with both of his hands.

Thousands of people experience ankle injuries each year. 

From a simple yet painful twisted ankle that can lead to a sprain to more complicated ankle break injuries, understanding the difference between an ankle fracture vs. sprain is imperative to your treatment and overall well-being. 

If you or a loved one are living with ankle pain or have recently experienced an ankle injury, our experienced and compassionate team at Oxford Urgent Care is here to help.

Continue reading to learn more about the differences in symptoms and treatment for a sprained ankle vs. a broken ankle below. 

Ankle Sprain vs. Fracture

Distinguishing between an ankle fracture and a sprain involves considering several factors.

An ankle sprain occurs when the ankle ligaments stretch or tear due to twisting or rolling the foot, causing pain and swelling. Conversely, an ankle fracture means one or more bones in the ankle joint are broken, causing intense pain and possible misalignment.

Sprained Ankle Symptoms 

Symptoms of a sprained ankle include

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty moving the ankle joint

Minor to moderate sprains may let you put some weight on the ankle, while severe sprains might make the ankle unstable.

Broken Ankle Symptoms

A broken ankle is more severe than a sprain and usually brings intense and localized pain, swelling, bruising, and an inability to put weight on the ankle. 

In severe cases, bones might protrude or cause visible deformities.

Sprained Ankle Treatment 

Treating a sprained ankle involves the RICE method—Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation—to reduce swelling and pain. 

In addition, gentle exercises and physical therapy can help restore strength and movement.

Broken Ankle Treatment 

Managing a broken ankle often means immobilizing it with a cast or splint for proper bone healing. Sometimes, surgery is necessary, especially if bones are out of place or unstable.

Understanding the symptoms and treatments for sprained and broken ankles is vital. While sprains might improve with home care, broken ankles usually need professional medical attention and sometimes surgery. 

Visit Oxford Urgent Care for Immediate Ankle Care

You shouldn’t live with unrelenting ankle pain, especially following an injury. If you’re wondering what’s causing your ankle issue, we can help determine whether you’re living with a sprained vs. broken ankle.

At Oxford Urgent Care, we know how important it is to address sprained or broken ankles quickly. If it’s affecting your daily life, we’re here to help with comprehensive ankle pain treatment when you need it most. 

You can visit us seven days a week with no appointments ever necessary. Our team is here to take care of your ankle injury immediately so you can feel relief and start healing sooner.