Ankle Fracture (cont.)
Broken Ankle Diagnosis
A doctor will evaluate the ankle to determine if there is an ankle fracture
or if the joint has been damaged sufficiently to become unstable. Joint
instability often suggests multiple fractures, a fracture with a ligament
injury, ligament injury alone, or dislocation.
The doctor will seek a history of the injury and will ask questions to
determine the possible fracture patterns.
- Where does it hurt now?
- How long ago did the injury happen?
- Does the knee, shin, or foot hurt also?
- How did the injury happen?
- Did the ankle turn in or out?
- Did the person hear a crack or a pop?
- Was the person able to walk immediately after the injury?
- Can the person walk now?
- Does the person have any new numbness or tingling in their leg, ankle,
- Has the person had previous ankle fractures, sprains, or surgeries on the
The doctor will perform a physical exam, looking for:
- Evidence of bruising, abrasions, or
- Swelling, bleeding, and tissue damage
- Pain, deformities, and the grinding or movement of broken bones of the
knee, shin, ankle, and foot
- Pain, excess looseness of a joint, or complete tear in ligaments
- Fluid in the joint and joint stability
- Seeking a pulse and looking for injured arteries
- Testing sensation and movement in both the ankle and foot
- Ankle X-rays if a broken bone is suspected; some doctors
may try to avoid unnecessary and costly X-rays by following certain guidelines
such as the Ottawa ankle rules (see reference 2)
- X-rays of the knee, shin, or foot depending on where pain is; children may
get a comparison X-ray of the uninjured ankle to see subtle changes in growth
plates due to injury.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/16/2013
Must Read Articles Related to Ankle Fracture
Ankle sprains are common sports injuries caused by extreme force, unnatural motion, or uneven ground. Sprained ankles often occur during exercise, but may also ...learn more >>
Bone Fracture (Broken Bone)
Fractures occur when bone cannot withstand the outside forces applied to the bone. Fractures can be open or closed. Types of fractures include: greenstick, spir...learn more >>
Bone Mineral Density Tests
Osteoporosis (or porous bone) is a disease in which bones become weak and are more likely to break. Bone mineral density tests check the strength and solidness ...learn more >>
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Broken Ankle: