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How can swelling in the ankle post injury be identified as a sprain or a fracture?

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Posted on Wed, 22 Aug 2018
Question: Yesterday I fell and really hurt my ankle.Now it's swollen and very painful o walk.

How do we tell the difference between a fracture and a sprain
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (56 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Need an X-ray.

Detailed Answer:

Hello,

I have reviewed your query and here is my advice.

If there is significant swelling and pain, I recommend you go in to be seen at urgent care or ER where a doctor can examine it and get an x-ray. It is often impossible to know whether there is a fracture without an X-ray.

It is important to know the status (fracture vs sprain) because the expected course of treatment and recovery can be different.

I'm sorry your are having so much pain. But do go in now and have it looked at and X-ray.

Take care.

Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh, General & Family Physician
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3134 Questions

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How can swelling in the ankle post injury be identified as a sprain or a fracture?

Brief Answer: Need an X-ray. Detailed Answer: Hello, I have reviewed your query and here is my advice. If there is significant swelling and pain, I recommend you go in to be seen at urgent care or ER where a doctor can examine it and get an x-ray. It is often impossible to know whether there is a fracture without an X-ray. It is important to know the status (fracture vs sprain) because the expected course of treatment and recovery can be different. I'm sorry your are having so much pain. But do go in now and have it looked at and X-ray. Take care. Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh, General & Family Physician