Ankle Fracture2016-10-12T12:39:57-04:00

Ankle Fracture

ankle fracture Blacksburg, VA

Ankle injuries are very common in athletes and people performing physical work, often resulting in pain and decreased mobility. Pain after ankle injuries results from a torn ligament, an ankle sprain or from a broken bone known as an ankle fracture. Ankle fracture is a painful condition in which a break has been sustained in one or more of the bones forming the ankle joint. The ankle joint is stabilized by several ligaments and other soft tissues, which may also be injured during an ankle fracture.

The ankle joint is comprised of three bones; so a fracture of the ankle can involve one or more bones. Ankle fractures are classified according to location and which ankle bone is involved.

Symptoms of Ankle Fracture

The most common symptom of a stress fracture is pain, which usually tends to worsen with activity and  improve with rest. Swelling, bruising and tenderness around the area may also occur.

With an ankle fracture, there is immediate swelling and pain around the ankle, as well as impaired mobility. In some cases, blood may accumulate around the joint and manifest externally as bruising. In cases of severe fracture, deformity around the ankle joint is clearly visible, as bone may protrude through the skin. Some other symptoms of ankle fracture include:

  • Immediate and severe pain.
  • Swelling.
  • Bruising.
  • Tenderness when touched.
  • Inability to put any weight on the injured foot.
  • Deformity, particularly if there is a dislocation as well as a fracture.

Treatment of Fracture

First-aid treatment for fractures should be implemented immediately after the injury, even prior to seeing a doctor. You should apply ice packs and keep your injured foot elevated to minimize pain and swelling.

The treatment of ankle fracture depends upon the type and severity of the fracture to the bone and possible injury to its surrounding structures. Treatment begins with nonsurgical methods; but in cases where the fracture is unstable and cannot be realigned, surgical methods become the treatment of choice.

Nonsurgical Treatment

In nonsurgical treatment, the ankle bone is realigned, and special splints or a plaster cast are placed around the joint for at least two to three weeks. In some instances, depending on the type of fracture, patients may put weight on their injured legs right away; while others may have to wait for six weeks. At Sideline Orthopedics, you will come in regularly to repeat X-rays, so your doctor can make sure fragments of your fracture have not moved out of place during your recovery process.

Surgical Treatment

If the fracture is severe, involving several bones, your physician may suggest surgical treatment. The fractured bone is accessed by making an incision over the ankle area, and then specially-designed plates are screwed onto the bone to realign and stabilize the fracture. The incision is then sutured closed, and the ankle is immobilized with a splint or cast. During your regular visits to Sideline Orthopedics, we will monitor the progression of healing, then commence a rehabilitation program when appropriate to strengthen and increase range of motion in your healing ankle. The rehabilitation process will include physical therapy and regular exercises.

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