You’re pretty sure you’ve sprained your ankle. It’s pretty swollen, and it hurts to move it—there’s no way you could put your full weight on the foot. There’s a bruise running along the side of your foot and you can’t walk without assistance.

The trouble is, these are also symptoms of an ankle fracture. So how can you tell if you’re suffering from a strain, a sprain, or a broken bone? 

An experienced Phoenixville podiatrist may use the following methods to diagnose your sprained ankle:

  • Physical exam. Your doctor will need to move your ankle into different positions to asses your injury. While this can be painful for severe sprains, it is necessary for the doctor to discover which ligament has been damaged. Your doctor should also check your foot, toes, lower leg, and your knee to see how far up the leg the damage was done. 
  • Diagnostic testing. It is common to fracture an ankle at the same time the ligaments are torn. A broken bone will often have similar symptoms as a sprain, so your doctor may order x-rays in order to determine which injury you have before he recommends treatment.
  • Grade the injury. Your doctor should be able to tell you if your ligaments have been pulled or are completely torn, and if you could suffer long-term complications, such as instability or chronic pain in the ankle. The grade of your injury will also depend on the amount of swelling, pain and bruising, and if you have hurt your ankle in the same place before.
  • Imaging tests. If the physical exam is not conclusive, your doctor might call for an MRI to discover if there are any injuries to the joint surface, healing abnormalities or other problems that could extend your healing time. If your ankle is too painful or swollen, you may choose to wait a few days before the MRI scan.

At HealthMark Foot & Ankle Associates, we know that recovery from a sprain is a long and painful process. That’s why we begin your sprained ankle treatment in PA with a personalized rehabilitation plan that works for your schedule and lifestyle, making your recuperation as easy as possible.

Call us today at 610-565-3668 for an appointment in Media or in Phoenixville at 610-933-8644. You can also click the link at the top of this page to receive a FREE copy of our book, The Foot is Not an Island: Recognizing Vitamin D Deficiency & How to Correct It.