A fracture is a partial or complete break in a bone. Fractures in the ankle can range from the less serious avulsion injuries (small pieces of bone that have been pulled off) to severe shattering-type breaks of the tibia, fibula, or both.
Many people mistake an ankle fracture for an ankle sprain, but they are quite different and therefore require an accurate and early diagnosis. They sometimes occur simultaneously.
Following an ankle injury it is important to have the ankle evaluated by a Podiatrist or Orthopedic surgeon for proper diagnosis and treatment.
If you are unable to do so right away, go to the emergency room and then follow up with a Podiatrist or Orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible for a more thorough assessment.
The affected limb will be examined by the Podiatrist or Orthopedic surgeon by touching specific areas to evaluate the injury. In addition, the surgeon may order x-rays and other imaging studies, as necessary.
Ankle fractures are common injuries that are most often caused by the ankle rolling inward or outward. Many people mistake an ankle fracture for an ankle sprain, but they are quite different and therefore require an accurate and early diagnosis. They sometimes occur simultaneously.
Treatment of ankle fractures depends upon the type and severity of the injury. At first, the foot and ankle surgeon will want you to follow the
Rest: Stay off the injured ankle. Walking may cause further injury.
Ice: Apply an ice pack to the injured area, placing a thin towel between the ice and the skin. Use ice for 20 minutes and then wait at least 40 minutes before icing again.
Compression: An elastic wrap should be used to control swelling.
Elevation: The ankle should be raised slightly above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.
Additional treatment options include:
Immobilization. Certain fractures are treated by protecting and restricting the ankle and foot in a cast or splint. This allows the bone to heal.
Prescription medications. To help relieve the pain, the surgeon may prescribe pain medications or anti-inflammatory drugs.
When is Surgery Needed?
For some ankle fractures, surgery is needed to repair the fracture and other soft tissue related injuries, if present. The Orthopedic surgeon will select the procedure that is appropriate for your injury.