ZocdocAnswersWhat is the difference between a sprained ankle and a hairline fracture?

Question

What is the difference between a sprained ankle and a hairline fracture?

I thought I sprained my ankle. But after three weeks my ankle still hurts. How do I know if I have a small fracture?

Answer

Sorry to hear that you are suffering from foot pain this long after your injury. Deep ankle sprains can certainly continue to be painful long after the injury occurred, but if you are still feeling pain this long after an injury it does suggest that you should speak with your doctor for further evaluation. He or she will be able to perform a complete physical examination and should be able to determine quite a bit of information from this activity. Additionally, he or she will be able to order an x-ray if they feel that this is appropriate, which is often the gold standard method for determining whether or not there has been a fracture. Your doctor will also be able to make recommendations or provide equipment or prescriptions that can help you to recover more quickly, which is yet another reason to speak with him or her. Finally, your doctor will be able to refer you to a specialist if he or she feels that it is necessary for the complete treatment required to get you, literally, back on your feet. Please speak with your doctor to determine if you have sprained your ankle or fractured it, and what you should do next.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.