Is My Ankle Sprained or Broken?

Sprained ankles are very common, especially considering how many people play sports. A sprain will usually heal on its own with a good wrap, time off from bearing weight, elevation and some ice. Considering the price of an emergency room visit, the ER is not always a logical or frugal first choice. But if the ankle is broken, delaying care can be a bad thing. Knowing when to see a doctor about an ankle injury is important and can save both time and further complications. But how do you know? The team at Kansas City Foot Specialists put together these signs to look for to help determine if it’s a sprained or broken ankle.

Ankle Sprains Cause Less Pain
Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries. Because of the numerous tendons, ligaments and muscles in the ankles, a sprain can take a while to heal. Treating an ankle sprain at home is easy and usually requires no further attention than an ice pack and a wrap. However, should a sprain occur higher up in the ankle, you should seek medical attention to be sure that you don't have a fractured ankle which is a more serious injury.

TIP: Look for pain higher up in the ankle.

Related Read: Is My Toe Stubbed or Broken? 6 Tips For Assessing Your Injury

Broken Ankles Usually Can’t Bear Weight
Knowing the difference between an ankle sprain and a broken ankle is vital, as a broken bone can heal improperly if left for too long. Here are three signs to look for:


  • A broken ankle typically bears no weight

  • A broken ankle causes a large amount of pain when moved

  • Look for a large amount of bruising or pain to the bones on the side of the ankles

  • A broken ankle is also characterized by a noise (such as a "crack" or "snap")

Attempting to walk on a broken ankle is not advised as it can complicate the injury. If you think your ankle is broken, it’s best to see a doctor and get an xray to confirm it.

The best way to prevent sports injuries like ankle sprains and breaks is to wear proper footwear. If you think you may have sprained or broken an ankle, call us at (913) 338-4440 or contact us online.