A concise, evidence-based medical tool that saves you money


Do I need an X-ray for my injured ankle if I can walk on it and don’t have pain on the inside ankle bone, the outside ankle bone, and where the foot connects with the ankle?


MedHead Confidence Score: 7
Amount Saved: $150 urgent care visit, $150 ankle x-ray cost post


MedHead Message:

Called the Ottowa Ankle Rules, knowing these few facts will keep you from having to pay for an unnecessary x-ray. If you can walk right after the event, and don’t have specific bony tenderness, bypass the x-ray, get an elastic bandage, wrap it up, get some ice, elevate and keep off weight bearing for a few days. Ibuprofen will help with pain and swelling. An x-ray is indicated if you still have persistent pain after a week.


1.Bachmann LM et al. Accuracy of Ottawa ankle rules to exclude fractures of the ankle and mid-foot: systematic review BMJ, Feb 2003; 326: 417 2. Dowling S et al.Accuracy of Ottawa Ankle Rules to exclude fractures of the ankle and midfoot in children: a meta-analysis. Acad Emerg Med. 2009 Apr;16(4):277-87


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