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Should my child get an x-ray for a sprained ankle?

If your child is between the ages of 12 and 16, it may be important for them to get an x-ray to make sure they did not fracture or injure a growth plate. Health care professionals follow a set of rules called the Ottawa Ankle Rules to decide if a patient needs to be referred for an x-ray.

Those rules include a person’s inability to walk four steps, pain with touch 6 cm behind or on the lateral malleolus and/or medial malleolus, pain with touch at the base of the 5th metatarsal, and pain with touch at the navicular. (This answer provided for NATA by the Eastern University Athletic Training Education Program)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.