Sprain vs Fracture Foot: What’s the Difference


Sprain vs Fracture Foot. Ankle sprains, strains, and fractures are common in the general population, despite the belief that athletes are more prone to them. Ankle sprains and fractures can be caused by stepping off a curb incorrectly or on uneven terrain.

There are two most prevalent forms of ankle injuries. Both require prompt medical attention to guarantee good recovery and long-term ankle health. If you overlook an ankle injury, thinking it’s only a sprain, you may end up with long-term ankle instability.

Below we lay down some signs and symptoms to help you assess the causes of your ankle discomfort.

Sprain vs Fracture Foot: What’s the Difference

How is a sprain different from a fracture?

The similarities between sprains and fractures might make it tough to recognize which one you’ve got. But the distinction is simple. Ankle fractures are breaks in the bone, whereas sprains are injuries to the ligaments and tendons of the body.

Sprains occur when the ligaments that surround your joint strain or rip. This may occur as a result of a fall or a sports injury, among other things.

Fractures are most commonly caused by trauma, such as a vehicle accident or a hard fall. After breaking a bone, you’ll feel instant agony surrounding it.


If you’re unclear if you have a sprain or a fracture, you must see a doctor to rule out other possibilities. Below are some of the most common symptoms to look out for.

What are the signs of a foot injury?

There is a wide range of symptoms of a sprained ankle, including:

  • The sound or feeling of a joint popping or cracking
  • It is difficult to move the damaged region.
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Swelling and pain

Symptoms of a broken foot

After breaking a bone in your foot, you may also suffer the following symptoms:

  • Itching, redness, and a swollen appearance
  • It’s natural for shattered bones to rub against each other, producing a sound known as crepitus. A loud crunching sound results from this action
  • The inability to bear weight on the injured foot
  • Limb abnormality

Diagnosis and treatment

Sprain vs Fracture Foot: What’s the Difference

X-rays, MRI, and other imaging tests are the only ways to identify if you’ve sprained or fractured your ankle. When determining the severity of your injury, you must have an appropriate diagnosis.

Diagnosis and treatment of a Sprained Foot

An x-ray may be taken of your foot by your doctor to determine the extent of the injury. While your foot heals, your doctor may prescribe you crutches or splints to ease the discomfort.

It can take anywhere from six to eight weeks or more for more severe injuries. They might need a cast or splint to recover. Surgeons may be needed to remove damaged bone and ligaments in severe cases. Healing might take anywhere from six to eight months.

Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen can all be used to relieve pain. These painkillers may be purchased at your local pharmacy.

Diagnosis and treatment of a Broken Foot

Your doctor will examine your foot for soreness during the physical examination. If you know exactly where the pain is coming from, you can narrow down the possibilities for its origin.

To determine your range of motion, they may have you move your foot in various directions. Your doctor may advise you to walk a short walk so that he may observe your walking style.

The following imaging tests may be recommended by your doctor if you have signs of a broken bone:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computerized tomography (CT)
  • Bone scan
  • X-rays

Non-surgical treatment is feasible if the fracture is slight and the bone hasn’t been displaced. The rest-ice-compression-elevation (RICE) procedure is commonly used to treat foot and stress fractures without surgery:

R- REST or relaxation is essential. Staying off your injuries helps speed up the healing process. To aid in the immobilization of your foot and ankle, you’ll most likely be required to wear a cast.
I- Swelling and inflammation can be reduced by applying ICE to the affected region for 20 minutes at a time. Every 40 minutes, apply more ice.
C- Swelling can be reduced by applying COMPRESSION to the wound.
E – To help decrease inflammation, you need ELEVATION. Keep your foot and ankle elevated just above the heart level.

Surgery may be required to treat a more significant fracture and any injured ligaments, tendons, or muscles.

Seeking medical attention for a sprained or fractured foot

Sprain vs Fracture Foot: What’s the Difference

If you suspect fractured bones, you should consult a doctor right once. Avoid letting the condition worsen before seeking treatment. Injuries that go untreated might lead to severe problems. Your foot’s form may be permanently altered due to an infection.

Consult a medical professional if any of the following apply to you:

  • Your condition worsens.
  • The foot hurts and swells more.
  • Numbness and circulatory issues affect your foot.
  • The sole of your foot goes blue and becomes numb due to the lack of blood flow.
  •  A bone protrudes from the skin.
  • Your foot has a deformity and is positioned incorrectly in relation to its normal position.
  • Walking, standing, or putting any weight on the foot is impossible.
  •  If you see any red streaks or redness surrounding the wound, you may have an infection.

If your symptoms aren’t too severe, you should still consult a doctor, regardless of how you feel. After a fracture, some patients may not experience severe pain or swelling, yet they may still need medical attention.

A sprain or other less serious injury might be diagnosed by your doctor rather than a fracture.

Don’t just let your ankle recover on its own

Medical attention is necessary even if you believe you just have a minor sprain. Ankle sprains and fractures should be adequately treated and left to heal properly.  Otherwise, they can lead to long-term gait issues, repeated ankle sprains, and severe ankle instability.

After receiving proper ankle injury treatment, you can resume your favorite activities with confidence.

RapidCare Emergency can help you if you’ve sustained an ankle injury. You may schedule online or phone appointments. Our job is to help you get back on your feet as soon as possible.