Ankle Fracture Overview and Treatment

Ankle Fracture Symptoms and Treatment

A fracture describes a break in one or more of the ankle bones. fractures are often thought of as a sports injury but you do not have to be an athletes to sustain an ankle fracture. Ankle fractures are categorized as unimalleolar (1 broken bone), bimalleolar (2 broken bones) or trimalleolar (3 broken bones). Simply put, the more bones that are fractured (broken), the more unstable the ankle becomes. Fractures can happen at any age.

 

Bony Anatomy of Ankle Joint:

The ankle joint is made up of 3 bones:

  • Talus – bone that sits between tibia, fibula and calcaneus
  • Tibial – shin bone
  • Fibula – bone to the outside of ankle joint

 

What are Some Causes?

  • Rolling the ankle
  • Twisting the ankle
  • Direct trauma / impact such as car accident
  • Landing awkward after a jump
  • Walking or running on uneven surfaces

 

What are Some Symptoms:

  • severe pain
  • swelling around the joint
  • Bruising around the joint
  • inability to walk or apply pressure on the injured foot
  • Ankle area is tender to touch
  • Ankle joint may feel loose
  • Ankle deformity (if the joint is dislocated)

 

Conservative Treatments:

If the fracture is stable and there is minimal displacement of the fractured bone (s), you may be placed in a blow the knee weight bearing or non-weight bearing for 6 weeks.

 

Surgical Treatments:

If the fracture is unstable and displaced, surgical intervention may be needed to reduce the fracture (reposition the fracture) into a normal alignment. In most cases screw and (or) plates will be used to hold the bone fragments together while they heal. Usually, it takes 6 weeks for the bone to heal.

 

Physical Therapy / Rehabilitation:

Physical therapy and strengthening exercises may be needed to strengthen your leg and ankle so you can get back to normal walking and physical activity.

 

Image:

Ankle fracture
Ankle Fracture (Bi-malleolar)