A member asked:

How can i tell if my ankle is broken or just sprained. haden sprain had a sprained ankle once before but this feels different should i go to the emerg?

12 doctors weighed in across 6 answers
Dr. Justin Esterberg answered

Specializes in Orthopedic Spine Surgery

Ankle: If you can stand on the ankle and put full weight it is most likely a sprain. If you cannot put any weight on that leg/ankle it could be a fracture or high ankle sprain which require further treatment. Either way you may want to see someone to get an x-ray in clinic or urgent care. Ice and elevate your ankle.

Answered 10/27/2017

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Dr. Jeffery VanYperen answered

Specializes in Podiatry

Get it checked out: I would recommend going to see a podiatrist--they will take an x ray to determine if it is a fracture vs. A soft tissue injury. In the meantime, start rice therapy (rest, ice for 20 minutes at a time, compression with an ace wrap, and elevation). Take some advil or aleve (naproxen) if you do not have stomach issues with these medications.

Answered 12/3/2015

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Get an x-ray: X-ray studies are helpful in this regards. Sometimes an MRI or bone scan can help diagnose more subtle/soft tissue injury not seen on normal x-rays.

Answered 6/10/2014

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Dr. David Hettinger answered

Specializes in Podiatry

Go to a podiatrist: A podiatrist can take x-rays if indicated and treat you with a variety of modalities based on the findings of the history of the injury and physical exam. Sometimes there can be damage to areas away from the ankle that a podiatrist will know to look.

Answered 12/10/2013

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Dr. Edward Hellman answered

Specializes in Orthopedic Surgery

Hard to say : It can be difficult to tell the difference between an ankle that is sprained verses one that is broken, and if there is a doubt, i would certainly get checked. Signs that are more consistent with a fracture include inability to bear weight on the leg, but it is so difficult to tell that we usually need to get an xray unless it is a fairly mild sprain. Thank you for the question.

Answered 1/1/2021

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Get it checked: It certainly sounds like you should have the ankle checked by a podiatrist. I'd skip the er unless you don't mind waiting several hours and possibly ending up with a big co-pay. If you explain your injury, most podiatry offices will get you in quickly and can do x-rays while you wait.

Answered 10/22/2016

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