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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

If you're an athlete or maybe just particularly clumsy, you've probably had that moment of horror when you trip and your ankle makes a terrible noise. 

The pain is excruciating, and you're probably sitting on the ground contemplating whether you just need ice or if you should get an x-ray. The only definitive way to tell if there's a broken bone is with a radiograph, but there are a few ways to figure out what could be wrong.

Signs of a Sprain

A sprain involves the ligaments in a joint, and doesn't affect the bone in any way. There's a difference between a twist and a sprain, too. If you roll your ankle and experience some pain that goes away over the next few minutes, then you simply twisted your ankle, and didn't cause any long-term soft tissue damage. If you have a sprain, you'll immediately feel intense pain. Since the ligaments are affected, your ankle will typically swell and start to bruise. The damaged ligaments will make it difficult or impossible to move the joint.

Another good indication you might have a sprain, is if you heard any noises coming from the joint at the time of injury. A pop is usually the most commonly described sound, and a snapping sound means you probably have a more severe injury involving the bones. If you have a sprain, you will still be able to put weight on the joint, but it will hurt a lot.

Signs of a Fracture

Fractures have symptoms similar to sprains, but there a few key differences you should take note of. First, the pain will be far worse than it would be with a sprain. While you're still able to bear some weight with a sprain, a bone break will keep you from putting any weight on the joint at all. There will also be some swelling and bruising, but probably not to the extent a sprain would, and will possibly look a little different, or be concentrated to one area. The swelling from a fracture is typically lumpy and misshapen, especially if there's a dislocation or a compound fracture.

Instead of a popping noise, your ankle will make a snapping or cracking sound at the time of injury, followed by intense, blinding pain, nausea, and dizziness. 

The area might be numb or extremely painful to the touch, all depending on how bad the break is. Broken bones take six to twelve weeks to heal, and require the use of a cast and in some cases surgery. If you suspect you have a broken bone, do not put any weight on it, and apply ice to the area as you make your way to the nearest hospital.

Sprains and breaks are both annoying and painful injuries, especially if you're athletic. The only way to determine your injury is to see a doctor and to get an x-ray. Paying for treatment of a broken bone can be expensive, but with help from the hospital you can find a payment plan to cover everything from the cast to the initial x-rays. For injuries that weren’t due to any fault of your own, speak to a lawyer like
Marc Johnston to see what other financial options you might have. Next time you aren’t sure if an injury is worth the crutch, use this advice to know if it’s a sprain or something more serious. 


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