The Difference Between a Sprain and a Fracture in a Foot

June 10th, 2020

female sitting on a grey couch with a foot fractureWe all know how easy it is to experience a sprain in your ankle or foot. Especially for children whose day typically includes some sort of running, jumping, and flying through the air. It’s eventual that they land wrong and suffer a sprain—or worse—a fracture.

As a foot doctor, Dr. Verville understands how hard it can be to tell the difference between a sprain and a fracture, so this blog will walk you through these two types of injuries, so you will be better equipped to spot their differences.

Foot or Ankle Sprain

A sprain occurs when a ligament within the foot or ankle stretches or tears, preventing side-to-side movement. Unfortunately, many Frisco patients believe they can effectively treat a sprain on their own, but in reality, some sprains will not heal without the intervention of a foot doctor.

You’ll know you’ve experienced a sprain if you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Mild to moderate discomfort, bruising, and swelling
  • Limited range of motion
  • Difficulty walking or putting weight on the injured foot
  • Popping sound when the injury occurs

It’s important that patients in Frisco not wait to decide to call a foot doctor based on the amount of pain they are experiencing—as each patient’s tolerance for pain varies—and pain does not necessarily dictate the extent of an injury. If you avoid visiting a foot doctor like Dr. Verville after a foot or ankle injury, you risk the ligament healing improperly, meaning the foot or ankle will remain weak and more susceptible to future injuries. 

How to Treat a Sprain

After foot doctor, Dr. Verville, determines you or your loved one has experienced a sprain, she will prescribe the following types of treatments to provide relief and healing:

  • Icing and anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling
  • Elevating and resting the injured area frequently to speed healing
  • Not walking or putting much weight on the ankle to avoid re injury
  • Using a medical brace to support and reduce swelling

Foot or Ankle Fracture

A fracture is defined as an injury to the bone. Frisco patients can experience a fracture from a simple misstep, or from a major incident such as a wreck or other type of trauma.

Much like a foot or ankle sprain varies from patient to patient, the same goes for a foot or ankle fracture. By conducting imaging such as X-rays and MRIs, a foot doctor can effectively determine the severity and exact location of a fracture.

You’ll know you’ve experienced a fracture if you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Immediate, throbbing pain
  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Pain that increases with activity and decreases with rest
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Deformity
  • Difficulty in walking or bearing weight

How to Treat a Fracture

Treatments for a fracture vary from patient to patient and can only be determined by a foot doctor like Dr. Verville. Some Frisco patients may require plates, rods, or screws to ensure the fracture heals properly, while others only need a splint or a cast to encourage healing.

Dr. Verville may recommend the use of the following types of treatments (or a combination of treatments):

  • Medication for pain relief
  • Physical therapy
  • Removable brace, boot, or shoe with a stiff sole
  • Non-removable cast

Foot Doctor, Dr. Verville of Frisco’s RNV Podiatry Can Help!

With more than a decade of experience providing diagnosis and treatment for foot and ankle sprains or fractures, Dr. Verville is an expert at knowing the difference between the two.   Regardless of if you believe you have experienced a sprain or a fracture, call Dr. Verville to schedule a consultation so she can properly diagnose and treat your condition. You can reach a member of her friendly team at (214) 385-8822.