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.
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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.
An ankle fracture is accompanied by one or all of these symptoms:
Pain at the site of the fracture, which in some cases can extend from the foot to the knee
Significant swelling, which may occur along the length of the leg or may be more localized
Blisters may occur over the fracture site. These should be promptly treated by a foot and ankle surgeon.
Bruising that develops soon after the injury
Inability to walk—however, it is possible to walk with less severe breaks, so never rely on walking as a test of whether a bone has been fractured
Change in the appearance of the ankle – it will look different from the other ankle
Bone protruding through the skin—a sign that immediate care is needed. Fractures that pierce the skin require immediate attention because they can lead to severe infection and prolonged recovery.