What Are the Symptoms of a Bruised Ankle?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2019
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A bruised ankle is a relatively common injury and can cause symptoms that range from mild to severe in nature, Pain, swelling, and redness are among the most common symptoms associated with a bruised ankle. The swelling and discomfort can make it difficult or impossible to put pressure on the affected foot. Treatment for these symptoms may vary according to the specific situation and generally involves rest, cold compresses, and over-the-counter pain relievers. Any specific questions or concerns about a bruised ankle on an individual basis should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Sports injuries are among the most common contributing factors to the occurrence of a bruised ankle, although there are other potential causes, including automobile accidents or overuse of the surrounding ligaments. In most cases, mild to moderate pain occurs as a result of the injury. If severe bruising occurs, the pain may be quite severe.

Swelling often occurs when injury to the ankle is sustained. The degree of swelling can vary greatly, ranging from barely noticeable to becoming so severe that it is impossible to wear a shoe. The combination of pain and swelling may cause difficulty when trying to walk, and it may be impossible to place any weight on the ankle.


Some degree of skin discoloration is to be expected when a bruised ankle occurs. In the beginning, the area around the ankle may appear red, later turning into the familiar purple bruise. If the discoloration becomes severe, a doctor should be consulted to make sure no blood clots are present.

The various symptoms of a bruised ankle are usually treated individually after a doctor has evaluated the injured area and has ruled out additional damage. Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen usually provide sufficient relief from the discomfort associated with this type of injury. Ice packs or cold compresses may be used to reduce swelling, and the patient may find relief from resting the ankle and keeping it elevated above the heart.

In rare cases, blood clots may develop underneath the skin as a result of a bruised ankle. Prescription medications may be given in an effort to prevent complications from these blood clots. In the most extreme situations, surgical intervention may become necessary to remove the blood clots or repair any additional damage to surrounding tissues. Carefully following the instructions of a doctor can usually prevent the development of severe complications, and a bruised ankle usually heals completely within a few weeks.


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Post 4

I had seven screws on a plate with a pin on my ankle and now a year later, it's messed up. I have large turquoise bruises all over the side of my foot where the surgery was and it's really sore. I don't know what to do.

Post 3

@turquoise-- If the ankle was inverted, it's probably sprained. But if the ankle received trauma from an object or something else, it's probably just bruised.

Post 2

@turquoise-- That's a great question, it can be difficult to tell if an ankle is sprained or just bruised.

I have done both though and the difference between them was the color of my ankle, and the intensity of the pain. When I bruised my ankle, it was red and only slightly swollen. There was pain only when I touched it.

When I sprained my ankle, there was no redness, just a lot of swelling and pain. It hurt whether I touched it or not.

If you're not sure what type of ankle injury you have and the symptoms get worse, definitely see a doctor.

Post 1

How do I tell apart a bruised ankle bone and a sprained ankle bone?

I fell down this morning and my ankle is bruised and slightly swollen. I'm not sure if it's serious or not. If it's sprained, I'm going to see a doctor, if it's just bruised, I plan on treating it at home.

Is there any way to tell them apart?

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