Sprained, Strained, Or Broken Ankle

Health & Medical Blog

Many people struggle with ankle pain, but if your pain has suddenly appeared, you may not know the reason. Sprains, strains, and breaks are common, but understanding the difference between them can be difficult. If you would like to know more, keep reading to determine what kind of ankle pain you have.

Sprained Ankle

An ankle sprain occurs when sudden damage causes the ligament to overstretch. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bone to bone, which allows them to move in relation to each other. One of the leading causes of a sprained ankle is an ankle roll, but twisting your ankle oddly can also damage the ligament.

Sprained ankles are often swollen and may even feel tender to the touch. You may be able to walk on the foot, but there is usually a lot of pain when you bear weight on the ankle. You may also have bruising, loss of range of motion, and instability in the ankle.

Treatment depends on the severity of the sprain. Some people recover at home with RICE care (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), but others need devices to help secure the foot or stay off the foot. If the ligament is torn, surgery may be necessary.

Strained Ankle

An ankle strain occurs when there is damage to the tendon or muscles connected to the tendons. A tendon connects bone to muscle, which allows the muscle to move the bone. The symptoms of a strained ankle are quite similar to a sprained ankle, such as limited mobility and pain. However, because muscles are involved, you may also have muscle weakness with a strained ankle.

As with a sprained ankle, treatment often includes rest and staying off the foot, but surgery may be necessary if a tendon is severely damaged and/or won't heal.

Broken Ankle

If one or more bones in the ankle break, it's considered a fracture. Your ankle can break in many areas, but any fracture can cause severe pain, swelling, and the inability to support weight. Fractures can be caused by sudden damage like a fall, but stress fractures are also possible.

A stress fracture often occurs when you start some new activity for which your ankle is not prepared. The sudden stress puts unwanted pressure on the bones. Ankle fractures can be complicated to heal, especially if they involve multiple bones. Surgery is often needed, and screws and plates may be needed to stabilize the ankle during healing.

Ankle pain can make life difficult, especially if it makes it hard to walk. There are many causes of ankle pain, but none of them should be ignored. Even minor pain today could become something serious in the future, such as arthritis. If you would like to know more, contact a healthcare center, like the Nashville Healthcare Center.


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