Ankle Sprains

Ankle injuries are one of the most common bones and joint injuries for athletes, weekend warriors, and those of us just walking through different daily activities. Many people assume it is easy to tell the difference between a fractured bone and a joint sprain because they share many symptoms. However, sprained ankles are difficult to identify because they share many of the same symptoms as a fracture. Therefore, it is often hard to know what is causing your pain. This is why we thought it would be useful to put together a brief article discussing this subject. If this is something that you’re interested in learning more about, read on as we discuss the differences between ankle sprains and ankle fractures.

What’s the Difference Between an Ankle Sprain and an Ankle Fracture?

Your ankle is a complex joint that connects the bone in your lower leg (the tibia) to the bone in your foot (the talus). Three other smaller bones (the fibula and two small bones next to it) provide additional stability. This joint is in charge of helping you move, and any damage to it might cause pain or disrupt your movement.

Both ankle sprains and ankle fractures result from potentially similar activities, such as tripping or falling, but they differ in that a sprain occurs when the ligament is damaged, whereas an ankle fracture requires fracturing the bone.     

How Can You Tell If It’s a Sprain or a Fracture?

Both ankle sprains and ankle fractures can cause pain, swelling, and bruising. In addition, it may be difficult to put weight on your injured foot, especially if you have sprained or fractured your ankle. To determine the difference between a sprain and a fracture, you should consult an ankle expert. A medical professional will use physical evaluation and X-rays and/or a CT scan to identify the injury.

Here are some symptoms you should look for to determine whether your ankle injury is a sprain or a fracture:

Signs of an ankle sprain

  • Ability to walk on your injured ankle
  • Mild-to-moderate pain 
  • Ankle instability
  • Some swelling and bruising

Signs of an ankle fracture

  • Inability to bear weight on your ankle 
  • Moderate-to-severe pain 
  • Swelling and bruising 
  • Deformity of the ankle

When Should You Consider Seeking Medical Attention?

If you think your injury is just a sprained ankle, but the swelling has not gone down in a few days or if it hurts to walk after resting for a few days, seek medical attention as the issue may be more serious. Severe pain in your ankle, or the inability to walk at all, means you should not wait to seek medical care. 

Ankle fractures and sprains can cause serious and debilitating complications, which can be cured only by following the right procedure. Treatments are available for your successful recovery that are provided by trained ankle specialists. This ensures that you will get back on your feet and back to your daily routine as quickly as possible.


We hope this article proves to be useful when it comes to helping you differentiate these two injuries. Knowing and being able to spot the difference will save you from more serious injuries, as you’re more likely to consult a medical professional once you know that something is wrong. Be sure to keep everything that you’ve learned here in mind so that you can make the most informed decisions that will help you take better care of your body.

Invigor Health is a massage therapy clinic offering affordable physiotherapy in Sydney. Our goal is to provide high-quality services to help people get over their body pains in the safest way possible. Meanwhile, we also offer a holistic health and fitness check and do a movement screen to see which aspects we can further help. Book online on our website today and visit our clinic near you.

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