Sprained Ankle vs. Broken Ankle: How to Tell the Difference

Sprained Ankle vs. Broken Ankle

Ankles are intricate structures that bear the full weight of our bodies, making them susceptible to injury. At LaserLab in Lake Mary, FL, we often encounter patients struggling to differentiate between a sprained and a broken ankle. Understanding the distinction is crucial for appropriate treatment and recovery. Here, we will elucidate the common ways ankles are injured, the differences between a sprain and a fracture, and how our advanced treatments, such as Summus Laser, can aid in recovery.

Common Ways to Sprain or Break an Ankle

A sprained ankle typically results from a twist, roll, or turn of the ankle in an awkward manner, leading to the stretching or tearing of the ligaments that hold the ankle bones together. Activities that can result in a sprain include walking or exercising on uneven ground, falling, or participating in sports where the foot may pivot suddenly.

Conversely, a broken ankle, or an ankle fracture, occurs when one or more bones that make up the ankle joint break. This can be caused by a direct impact on the ankle, such as a fall, a misstep, or a collision during sports. Sometimes, excessive force exerted over a sprained ankle can also lead to a break.

Differences Between a Sprained and Broken Ankle

Do you suspect that you may have a sprained or broken ankle? If so, it is essential to identify the differences between these conditions.


Sprained and broken ankles can present similar symptoms, including pain, swelling, bruising, and limited mobility. However, the severity and location of pain can differ. Sprains tend to cause pain around the soft tissues of the ankle, whereas fractures usually result in more localized pain at the site of the break. If the pain is severe enough that standing is impossible, it could indicate a fracture.

Physical Appearance

A broken ankle may display obvious deformity if the bone has been displaced. A sprain might just look swollen.

Sounds at the Time of Injury

A sharp crack at the moment of injury may signal a broken bone. On the other hand, a pop might mean a ligament, often part of the ankle joint, has been sprained.

Weight Bearing

The inability to bear weight on an injured ankle can indicate a possible fracture. A person with a sprained ankle might manage to walk, though it would likely be painful, and the ankle may be unstable.

Bruising and Swelling

Swelling is common with fractures and sprains; however, fractures typically cause darker bruising that shows up quickly following the injury. This bruising is due to blood from the broken bone leaking into the surrounding tissues.

Imaging Tests

The definitive way to differentiate a break from a sprain is through imaging. An X-ray can visualize a fracture, while an MRI can show a sprain’s soft tissue damage.

What Is the Next Step for Ankle Pain?

After sustaining an ankle injury, it’s vital to seek medical attention. Once a diagnosis is made, the focus shifts to recovery. This is where LaserLab and our advanced treatments come into play. For chronic and acute pain treatment, LaserLab has harnessed the innovative technology of the Summus Laser. This treatment is particularly advantageous post-injury, whether dealing with the aftermath of a sprain or a fracture set and in the healing phase.

What Is the Summus Laser?

The Summus Laser is a state-of-the-art class IV laser renowned for its deep tissue penetration capabilities. It is specifically designed to address the root causes of acute and chronic pain, providing an advanced solution for pain management.

Employing photobiomodulation, the Summus Laser stimulates cells to increase their metabolism, enhances muscle health, and dramatically reduces inflammation. The process fast-tracks tissue growth and repair without pharmaceuticals or invasive procedures.

One of its prime benefits is its anti-inflammatory action, which is vital for treating the acute pain of a sprained ankle or the chronic pain that can follow a fracture. The laser also boosts blood circulation within the treatment area, sustaining a longer-term reduction in inflammation and fostering a more robust healing environment.

Whether your ankle injury is new and acute or older and transitioning into a chronic issue, the Summus Laser is an effective component of a comprehensive treatment plan. It can relieve pain, reduce swelling, and accelerate healing.

How Do You Know if the Summus Laser Is Right for You?

If you’re considering the Summus Laser, the best way to determine if it’s the right choice is to schedule a consultation with us. During this appointment, we’ll discuss your goals and expectations for the treatment and evaluate your skin type, concerns, and medical history. We will provide detailed information on the technology behind the laser and the potential benefits and risks associated with treatment. 

We understand that choosing a cosmetic treatment can be a significant decision. That’s why we take the consultation process seriously and strive to ensure our patients are fully informed and comfortable before proceeding with any treatment.

Get the Support You Need to Recover From Ankle Injury Pain and Discomfort in Lake Mary, FL

Ankle injuries, whether a sprain or break, require time and care to heal properly. LaserLab’s use of Summus Laser therapy is integral to the recovery journey, minimizing discomfort and improving outcomes. We stand by our commitment to assist you in regaining strength, mobility, and function, allowing you to return to your daily activities without pain.

If you are struggling with an ankle injury and are uncertain about the next steps, let LaserLab in Lake Mary, FL, guide you toward a pain-free path. Our combination of advanced technology and personalized care plans has made us a pillar in the community for those suffering from acute and chronic pain. 

For more information on our treatments and to schedule a consultation with us, please contact us online or call us at (407) 999-6625

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