How Do I Know If I Broke My Ankle?

Sometimes patients will suffer a foot or ankle injury so painful they ask themselves: “Did I break my ankle?”, “Did I break my foot?”, or “Do I need x-rays?”.

I’m going to share with you the method that many Emergency Room doctors use to determine if they will send you for radiographs (x-rays) or not following an ankle or foot injury.

This information may help you understand the severity of your injuries, but is not intended to deter you from seeking appropriate medical investigations or treatment.

The Ottawa Ankle Rules were developed to help guide the decision of whether x-rays may be necessary to rule out an ankle fracture.

Do I need an x-ray?

What Are The Ottawa Ankle Rules

An ankle x-ray is recommended when:

There is pain in the malleolar zones and any of the following findings:

Bone tenderness over the lateral malleolus (or 6 cm above on the fibula)

Or

Bone tenderness over the medial malleolus (or 6cm above on the tibia)

Or

Inability to take 4 steps immediately and at the Emergency Department

How do I know if I need an ankle x-ray?
Bone tenderness over the medial or lateral malleolus.

A foot x-ray is recommended when:

There is pain in the mid-foot and any of the following findings:

Bone tenderness over the base of the 5th metatarsal

Or

Bone tenderness over the navicular bone

Or

Inability to take 4 steps immediately and at the Emergency Department

How do I know if I broke my foot?
Bone tenderness over the base of the 5th metatarsal or navicular bone.

 How to treat a broken ankle? …Or Foot?

If you have fractured either your ankle or your foot, you may require surgery if the injury is not stable.

However with stable fractures and some severe soft tissue injuries you might have to wear an Aircast Boot.  If you do need one, the link will take you to Amazon where you can have one shipped directly to you.  After all, you probably don’t feel like walking to the store right now.

Please see the Affiliate Marketing Disclaimer.

Therapy following this type of injury may include:

      • Manual therapy / Hands of mobilization
      • Range of Motion exercises
      • Strengthening
      • Proprioception / Balance

    • Gait Training / Walking Training
    • Modalities for pain and swelling

  • Consult with your health care practitioner if you think you broke your ankle or foot so that an appropriate treatment plan can be developed.
  • Feel free to ask questions, share an experience, or leave a comment below.

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