An ankle fracture means that one or more of the bones in your ankle are broken. Ankle fractures are common injuries, especially for athletes. They usually happen when too much stress gets placed on the ankle
- Tenderness to touch
- Swelling and bruising around the ankle
- Pain increases with activity and eases with rest
- Inability to put weight on the ankle
- Deformity of the ankle
Ankle fractures are usually caused by twisting or rolling your ankle. Sometimes they happen due to an acute injury, such as from a fall or car accident, or simply following a mis-step. Occasionally, ankle stress fractures may develop over time, due to chronic overuse without adequate time for recovery, repair, and rebuilding.
Ankle fractures are categorized in two ways: unstable and stable. Stable fractures have enough support from bones and ligaments, the tough fibrous tissue that connect bones, so that there is little motion at the fracture site. Unstable fractures are more severe and usually involve torn ligaments. If there is too much motion at the fracture site, the fracture may not heal, or may heal improperly.
Treatment of ankle fractures will depend on the severity of the fracture. Stable fractures are typically treated non-surgically.
If the ankle fracture is unstable or out of place, surgery may be the right treatment option for you. In these cases, surgery can help the ankle regain its proper function and prevent arthritis from developing. During the procedure, the orthopedic surgeon realigns the broken bones and holds them together with pins/screws and plates. The surgeons may use arthroscopic surgery.
Recovery time from an ankle fracture can vary widely depending on the extent of the injury. Typically, after treatment with a cast or surgery, it takes at least six weeks for broken bones and ligaments to heal enough to start weight bearing activities with a walking boot.
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