Ankle Fractures and Sprains

Ankle Fractures and Sprains

What is it?

An ankle fracture is a broken bone in the ankle joint. Ankle sprains, meanwhile, occur when the ligaments in the joint are partially torn.

Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors

Ankle fractures can occur in many ways that impact this area, such as twisting or turning over the ankle while suddenly stopping when running. The risk factors for ankle sprains include:

  • Playing sports
  • Dancing
  • Jumping
  • Participating in activities on an uneven surface

Symptoms of ankle sprains include:

  • Pain and tenderness
  • Swelling and bruising


A doctor will diagnose an ankle fracture or sprain by examining the foot, reviewing symptoms and medical history and conducting imaging tests, such as X-rays. There are three grades of ankle sprains according to the damage to the ligaments. The grades are:

  • Grade 1 - Stretching or tiny tears in the ankle ligament
  • Grade 2 - Partial tearing of the ligament with minor joint instability
  • Grade 3 - Severe or complete tearing of ligament tissue with considerable joint instability


Treatments for ankle sprains include:

  • Resting
  • Icing
  • Wrapping the toe with an elastic bandage
  • Elevating the toe above heart level
  • Changing or modifying footwear to offer more protection
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medication

Treatments for ankle fractures range from splinting minor fractures to keep the joint stable while it heals to surgery to rebuild an ankle that has been "shattered."

Have Questions?

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Orthopaedic Specialists

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