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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Bone trauma and fractures

Question: Rolled Ankle Possibly Fractured, or Torn Ligament?

 walao - Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:02 pm

I have a history of former sprains and rolls on my ankles, which are already extremely weak due to excessive pronation. About five years ago, in my freshman year of high school, I rolled my left ankle so badly that it tore a ligament. I was able to walk on it, with a limp, about ten minutes later, but it was bruised and painful for weeks on end. When I went to the ER a couple weeks after rolling it, they took an x-ray, but never called us back. I remember the nurse saying that I had an extremely high pain threshold if I was able to walk on that ankle. It went untreated, besides a simple store-bought ankle brace, and it became a lingering pain that had me limping for about a year if I walked too much on it. Even now, I have a habitual limp from it, but my orthopedic had prescribed me a pair of custom arch supports to keep me from hurting myself again, and for a while it was helping, I usually only limp now if I've been on my feet for too long.

Just now, however, not even fifteen minutes ago, I was taking one of my daily walks around the neighborhood and I was about five minutes from home, and of course I was wearing my arch supports, but I guess they don't do much to support the ankle. I must have stepped on a rock or something, because my left ankle suddenly buckled underneath me as I stepped on it and though I didn't hear a crack (I had headphones on), I could FEEL something crack in my ankle, like popping a knuckle. Except harder and more painful. I managed to keep myself from falling, and having a bit of experience with sprains and twists, I limped and took it slow on the way home, careful not to put too much weight on it.

I don't want to have my mom take me to the hospital if I don't have to, but this time is different from the past times I've rolled my ankle. I've never heard or felt it crack before like that, and upon some self-examination, it even seems different from my previous injuries. I still have a small amount of mobility in the ankle for the time being, but it seems like it's getting stiffer by the minute, and I can't move my toes at all.

I've heard that you can't move your ankle or put weight on it at all if it's broken, but I wanted to know if there's a possibility that it could be a fracture, or if it's possible that I could have re-torn that same ligament that I injured before, four years ago. I would really like an expert's opinion on this before going to a doctor, because those visits aren't cheap and I don't want to waste money going if all they're going to tell me is to put some ice on it and call it a day.
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:27 am

User avatar Hello,
The pop heard with an ankle sprain does not necessarily mean the ankle bone(s) are fractured. Usually, it is a sprain ...even a severe sprain.
If the ankle is tender or painful when squeezing the leg just above the ankle and/or it hurts to bear weight, then x-rays are indicated.
Play it safe, have it x-ray'd.
For long term rehab of the ankle, see a physical therapist who will teach exercise that may help a future sprain.

Take care.

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