Video: Ankle and Foot Fractures: The Ottawa Rules

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We’ve just returned from Big Sky, Montana, where we attended the National Wilderness Medical Conference and also certified in AWEP, advanced wilderness expedition provider. One of the things they discussed in the course is something  that would be useful information for the survival medic to know: The Ottawa Rules.

The Ottawa Rules are a set of guidelines that help decide if a patient with certain foot or ankle pain should be evaluated, in normal times, by X-ray to diagnose a possible bone fracture. They’re not the only ways to diagnose a fracture versus a sprain, but for certain areas, they might point you in the right direction.

These are especially useful in survival, where x-rays are just not going to be an option. If the Ottawa rules suggest an x-ray should be done, you should consider that person a likely candidate to have sustained a fracture and proceed accordingly.

Joe Alton MD uses a famous foot model to teach you the Ottawa Rules and give you a clue as to when you’re dealing with a broken bone, even without x-ray support.

To watch, click below:

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,


Joe Alton MD

Joe Alton MD

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Hey, don’t forget to check out our entire line of quality medical kits and individual supplies at Also, our Book Excellence Award-winning 700-page SURVIVAL MEDICINE HANDBOOK: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE FOR WHEN HELP IS NOT ON THE WAY is now available in black and white on Amazon and in color and color spiral-bound versions at

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