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Ankle Sprain vs. Fracture: How to Tell the Difference

Ankle Sprain vs. Fracture: How to Tell the Difference

Most people have experienced it. You’re strolling along and you suddenly lose your footing. Maybe you missed a step or didn’t see a small rock that put you off balance. As you try to correct yourself, you feel a sharp, shooting pain in your ankle. You know you’ve sprained it, at the very least. 

If it’s just a sprain, the ankle can probably heal on its own with rest. But it could be something more serious, such as a fracture, which requires additional care. All you know is that right now, it hurts.

To find out if you’ve fractured your ankle, you can take advantage of our urgent care services here at SmartClinic Urgent Care in West Covina and Santa Clarita, California. Visiting us for an ankle injury gives you a way to confirm that the ankle isn’t broken but merely sprained — or, if it is broken, to start proper treatment right away.

Does your recent ankle issue warrant a trip to see us? Let’s find out. 

How to differentiate ankle sprains and fractures

A fractured ankle is a broken ankle. Medical professionals use these terms interchangeably. 

Telling the difference between an ankle sprain and a fracture/break can be tricky because both conditions come with fairly similar symptoms, including: 

However, some symptoms point to either a sprain or a fracture. If the pain feels as though it stems from a soft part of the ankle — for example, around the tendons, muscles, or ligaments — it’s probably a sprain. If it hurts worst over one of the three bones in your ankle, it could be broken. 

Some other signs that your ankle problem could be a fracture include:

If any of those signs of a break sound familiar, don’t wait to come in to see us. And even if you’re not sure, it’s well worth a visit. 

Finding out for sure

If you think you might have fractured your ankle, we can perform an X-ray right here at our clinic. This gives you a way to know for certain what’s going on in your ankle. That way, you can start the right care plan to help it heal as quickly as possible. 

If you want to get back on your feet ASAP, knowing whether your ankle is broken or sprained can make a world of difference. If you hurt your ankle and you want to find out what’s going on, walk in or call SmartClinic Urgent Care at either location.

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