By Thomas Gorman ATC
By: Thomas Gorman, ATC
Ankle injuries are among the most common injuries involving bone and joint. Many people have difficulty distinguishing between an ankle fracture (broken bone) vs an ankle sprain following an injury to the ankle. In order to differentiate between the two, signs and symptoms must be considered, but it is difficult to rule out a fracture without the use of x-rays.
Broken or Fractured Ankle
A broken ankle involves fracturing one of the bones that makes up the ankle joint. This includes the tibia (the main bone of the lower leg), the fibula (the smaller bone on the outside of the lower leg), or the talus, making up the top of the joint. A broken ankle is considered to be any chip, crack, or break to any of these bones.
Fractures can occur in a variety of ways but typically occur as a result of severe force to the joint, by rolling the ankle on the side, or even extreme flexing or extending of the joint.
Signs and symptoms may include, but are not limited to:
- difficulty walking
- deformities of the bones around the ankle & bruising
Treatment of a fracture varies depending on the severity and type. It is best to consult with an orthopedic physician to discuss the options available to you.
Sprained ankles are extremely common, especially when it pertains to sports injuries. The difference between a broken ankle and a sprain is that there is no fracture, chip or crack in any of the bones in the ankle. In a sprained ankle, one or more of the ligaments that surround the joint have been stretched or torn due to some outside injury. The ligaments attach bone to bone in a joint and help provide stability. Depending on the severity of the sprain, an orthopedic doctor may treat it with immobilization, crutches, and/or physical therapy.
The physical therapists at Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute can help restore mobility and strength in the ankle for both fractures and sprains alike.
How To Treat Ankle Pain With JOI Physical Therapy
When treating patients for ankle pain, JOI Rehab clinicians will commonly focus on range-of-motion with active and passive mobility exercises. Another form of therapy is strength training. This will help with stability of the ankle. Balance position sense is another key factor in treating ankle pain and preventing patients from losing their sense of balance due to ankle injuries. Different pairs of shoes may also help with healing ankle pains. Lastly and perhaps most importantly is keeping up with your health. Weight loss and a healthy BMI are always recommended in the treatment of ankle pain.
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, call (904) 858-7045