Do I Need an X-ray of my Ankle?

Do i need an x-ray of my ankle?

At one point or another, most people will experience some type of a possible ankle injury during their lifetime. Whether you just twisted your ankle on the stairs, rolled it off of the sidewalk, or slammed it while you were playing your favorite sport, ankle injuries can hurt a lot.

Of course, depending on how serious the injury is, there are different ways to go about how you handle treating your injury. Maybe you just need to put an icepack on it for a little, or maybe you can just walk it off, but if you’re thinking, “is my foot broken?” you might need an X-ray.

In order to detect a fracture, or a broken bone, you will need to get an X-ray. However, this can be harder to determine than many people imagine. So, when you ask yourself, “do I need an X-ray?” there are certain things you should be looking for. Here are some tips to help you figure out whether you should get an x-ray

At First Glance:

Unsurprisingly, there are some ankle injuries that are clearly serious enough for an x-ray and some that are a lot less obvious. So the first step in determining whether you need an x-ray or not will be to look at the ankle that is hurt and compare to the ankle that isn’t after it happens.

If there are significant differences, such as a deformed bone, or severe swelling and bruising, you will probably want to get an x-ray immediately. However, if there is no obvious deformity, and your ankle definitely hurts, it can be a lot more difficult to decide whether you need an x-ray.

Ottawa Ankle Rules:

Luckily, there are specific guidelines that medical professionals typically use to determine whether a patient will need an x-ray called the Ottawa Ankle Rules, and you can follow these guidelines to help you decide how serious you believe your ankle injury might be. So, here are the guidelines –

You will probably need to get an x-ray if:

1.     You experience a significant amount of pain on the outside of your foot where your little toe is, specifically around the fifth metatarsal as well as on top of your foot by the navicular bone, which is on the top of your foot close to where the heel is.

2.     You feel a lot of pain when you or someone else touches the back half of the malleolus, which is the ball looking thing on the side of your ankle, or six centimeters above and/or below the malleolus.

3.     Or, you experience extreme pain or the inability to walk four steps immediately after the injury and at the time of examination.

You can always use these guidelines to determine whether you will need an x-ray in the case that there is no obvious or significant deformity to the ankle soon after the injury occurs.

At the end of the day, if you are worried that you may have broken a bone in your ankle, then a trip to the doctors won’t hurt (unless, of course, you walk there). A doctor, or an orthopedic expert, can always give you educated advice on how to properly care for your injured ankle. 

By Russell McBurnie