I am a snowboarder, and I've had a couple of painful ankle sprains. Should I do something about it?
Absolutely. What feels like a series of ankle sprains could actually be a break in the main ankle bone, called the talus. The fracture commonly involves a small bump on the outside of the talus. This kind of injury is common among snowboarders but hard to see on an average X-ray. Doctors can identify ankle fractures by X-raying the ankle at a specific angle and by using a CAT scan. The CAT scan provides a detailed X-ray that looks like "slices" of the bone tissue.
If left untreated, an ankle fracture can lead to bigger problems, such as ongoing pain, ankle arthritis, and the inability to do sports. Once your doctor identifies the problem, he or she can suggest ways to treat it. Whether you wind up having a cast or an operation, you'll be better off in the long run if you tend to your ankle now.