Tell the difference between an ankle sprain and a break by evaluating the area for discoloration, swelling and possible deformities. Learn how numbness and other symptoms can aid in determining if a limb is sprained or broken with information from a firefighter in this free video on first aid.
You know at some point in time many of us are going to incur injuries to our lower extremities including the foot and ankle. Hi, I'm Captain Joe Bruni and what I'm going to discuss and go over is how to tell the difference between a sprain and a possible break in the ankle or foot region. Expose the foot and the ankle region by removing any foot covering and sock that may be in the area. If the area looks discolored or angulated or not in alignment, it very possibly may be a break of the ankle. Normally, with a sprain, there will be swelling and discoloration, but no deformity in the ankle or foot region. Also, ask the person if they feel any numbness. Numbness is usually a sign of a break. Sprains are generally more painful than an actual break in this area. Apply some type of ice in the area to treat it for fifteen minute intervals, on and off, and a pressure bandage if it's a sprain. With a break, normally the person will not be able to move the foot area or be able to stand on it. With a sprain, they may be able to apply slight pressure by trying to stand or move the foot; although, it may be painful, it generally will not be broken if they are able to move it or put slight pressure on it. With a break, they will not be able to move it or stand on it at all. A sprain or a break is a pretty painful experience and both may require a trip to the emergency department for x-ray and further evaluation, but with proper treatment, pain and swelling can be alleviated until the patient arrives at the emergency department. I'm Captain Joe Bruni. Stay safe and we'll see you next time.