Hurt your ankle? Know the symptoms of

symptoms of ankle sprain vs fracture

The ankle is a complex joint composed of several pieces that work together to allow the foot to move. All of these moving parts make the ankle vulnerable to injury – either a sprain or fracture. These injuries frequently occur during exercise or sports. Simple falls, twists, or missteps are also common causes of both the ankle conditions.

So, let us help you understand the difference and the symptoms of ankle sprain vs fracture.

What is an ANKLE SPRAIN?

An ankle sprain is a condition that arises when there is a damage to a ligament. The ligament is a connective tissue that connects bones and can get partially or completely damaged if an injury occurs. Sprains are frequently graded as 1, 2, or 3, depending on the number of ligaments involved. The severity of sprains also depends upon whether ligaments are stretched, partially torn, or completely torn.


An ankle fracture is a bone break. The fracture can be a non-displaced crack in the bone, indicating that the bone is still aligned, or it can be displaced, disrupting the bone’s normal alignment. A broken ankle is most typically caused by a fall, car accident, high-impact sports, or injuries involving excessive force.

Evaluate these QUESTIONS to comprehend if it is an ankle sprain or fracture

What did you hear at the time of the injury? A sprain usually occurs silently or with a ‘pop’ sound in severe cases. With a fracture, you may hear a ‘crack’. A fracture may also produce a ‘grinding’ or ‘crunching’ sound when moved after the injury.

Is your ankle crooked, warped, or irregular in shape? Swelling can be caused by both fractures and sprains. However, if your ankle is out of alignment, it is most likely a break/fracture.

Are you experiencing numbness in the affected area? While sprains are typically excruciatingly painful, fractures frequently cause tingling or numbness. If you experience numbness, seek medical attention right away because a lack of blood flow can have serious long-term consequences that may necessitate surgery.

Where is the pain if you are in pain? It is most apparently a fracture if your ankle hurts or feels tender when you touch directly over your ankle bone. However, if you have pain in the softer part of your ankle, it is most likely a sprain.

Symptoms of ANKLE SPRAIN vs FRACTURE - In a nutshell

Ankle Sprain

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Instability
  • Popping sensation
  • Restricted range of motion

Ankle Fracture

  • A sudden sharp pain (mostly severer than a sprain)
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Noticeable deformity (especially if your ankle is also dislocated)
  • Difficulty bearing weight on your foot



Sprains and fractures of the ankle are not mutually exclusive. As a result, it is possible to have both experiences at the same time. Sprain/fracture combinations are actually quite common. So, seek medical advice to ensure you get an accurate and complete diagnosis.


A sprain of grade 2 or 3 usually necessitates immobilisation in the form of a boot or brace. You can use the technique of elevating and icing in tandem to help achieve the goal of reducing bruising and pain. The pain will gradually subside as the ligament heals, and the patient should be able to resume normal activities.

Physical therapy is also used to regain muscle stability after an injury has occurred. Grade 1 sprains usually heal in one to two weeks, but grade 3 injuries can take up to twelve weeks to heal.


In the case of a fracture, the ankle must be immobilised immediately. Crutches or a cast may be required. To aid healing, the doctor may attempt to realign the broken bones. If the bones do not stay in place even after undergoing attempts to stabilise the fracture, you may require surgery.

You may also be recommended icing, elevation and pain relievers to reduce the discomfort and pain.

ankle pain treatment in Dubai

Who is an ideal candidate for bunion surgery?

A bunion (hallux valgus) is a foot condition in which the base of your big toe protrudes on the inside of your foot, creating a bump-like structure. This bump happens when your foot alignment shifts, causing your big toe to move towards your smaller toes. The pressure from the bump against your shoe, as well as your big toe rubbing against your second toe, can cause pain. Furthermore, pain in the ball of the foot can occur as a result of the big toe’s improper alignment.

Primarily, conservative therapies are used to treat bunions. However, if your bunion pain persists despite these treatments and worsens to the point of immobility, our doctor may recommend surgery.

Our physician Dr KP Meda is a well-known ankle and foot specialist. His patients prefer him for his minimal invasive bunion surgery method and his successful track record of handling several such cases.

Want to KNOW MORE about symptoms of ankle sprain vs fracture? Consult our ankle and foot specialist!

With more than 23 years of experience, Dr KP Meda is a well-known podiatrist in Dubai. His treatment for ankle sprains and fractures is a safe and effective way to get back on your feet faster. Dr Meda’s comprehensive range of ankle pain treatment in Dubai, including exercises, wraps, braces and pain management techniques; which means that every patient gets the best care possible for their specific injury.

Book an appointment today!