Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School



A health care professional may suspect that you have a sprained ankle based on the history of your injury and your current symptoms. To confirm the diagnosis, he or she will examine your ankle for:

  • Swelling or deformity

  • Inability to feel someone touching the skin

  • Circulation

  • Discoloration

  • Instability

  • Areas of tenderness

  • Limitation in range of motion

  • Inability to bear weight

For severe ankle injuries, a health care professional may request X-rays to determine whether a bone is broken. Fractures can occur with or without a sprain and can cause similar symptoms.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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