Ankle sprains are pretty common, especially for active children and athletes. Sprains occur when the ligaments within the ankle are stretched too much, twisted in the wrong direction, or when they tear. Normal ankle sprains heal well if you stay off of the injured leg and rest it. Elevating the leg above your waist while lying down can help to lessen swelling that may occur, as will placing an ice pack wrapped up in towels on the area with gentle compression.
As long as your ankle has not been fractured, you are okay to place light weight on your injured leg. However, when a fracture occurs you should receive a proper diagnosis with our board-certified urgent care physicians.
So how do you know if you need an X-ray to diagnose an ankle injury?
Generally, if you have the following symptoms after an accident that injures your ankle, it’s best to get an accurate diagnosis with an X-ray:
- Visible change in anatomy
- Immediate pain that is unbearable
- Inability to bear weight on that foot
- Swelling and bruising
- Tenderness accompanied by the above symptoms
If you are unable to walk on your foot, you have most likely incurred a fracture. This is not always the case though, so an X-ray is required to make the appropriate diagnosis before beginning treatment. Both sprains and fractures will lead to pain, swelling, and possibly even bruising.
If you are experiencing pain or tenderness in the outer or inner ankle bone, the inner arch, or the outside of the foot, these are good indicators that there may be a fractured bone causing your pain rather than a sprain. In order to heal the bone, your foot will be casted to keep the bone from shifting so it heals correctly.
You place a lot of weight and pressure all on this one joint in your body – even just walking exerts a significant amount of force. Luckily, a sprain usually heals with a little TLC and time, but occasionally the injury appears to be smaller than it truly is. In these cases, it is best to see an orthopedic expert for diagnostic imaging.
Our urgent care facility is equipped with on-site X-ray machines for your convenience. Our highly skilled team of emergency medicine physicians are able to provide a fast diagnosis since we do not have to wait for results from third-party radiologists. Your injury will be set, casted, and on its way to healing in no time.
Accidents can happen at any time. We are open and ready to help you seven days a week, 365 days a year, with no appointment necessary. For more information or for our office hours, please call our Fairless Hills urgent care center at (267) 202-6433.