In comparison to a sprain, where you can usually walk on your ankles, ankle fractures tend to be very painful. Most people with a fractured ankle can't put weight on it. A fractured ankle or significant sprain causes immediate swelling and the ankle cannot be moved. The key difference is that sprains tend to heal in a week or two and the pain diminishes. A fracture will hurt until it is treated.
Causes and Risk Factors
Ankle fractures most often happen when your foot lands an uneven step, floor or playing field, and tilts. If the ankle does not get straightened in time, it can be severely twisted out of position and the bones can fracture.
The peroneal muscles running along the outside of lower leg and across the ankle are responsible for supporting your ankle. If they are weak, your chances of fracturing or spraining an ankle go up.