An ankle fracture is a condition where one or more bones that make up the ankle joint are damaged or broken. This kind of fracture has varied severity ranging from a minor ankle fracture that won’t affect your ability to walk to the point where your ankle appears out of place and may get you unable to use the injured leg for months.
Because an ankle fracture can range from a small number of bones broken to several pieces, the instability of the ankle joint and the damages to the ligaments that surround it can vary.
Causes of an ankle fracture:
- Twisting or rotating your ankle
- Suffering from a fall
- An impact from a car accident
There are several signs and symptoms that may appear if you have an ankle fracture, they include:
- Severe ankle pain
- Swelling and bruising
- Inability to stand or put weight on the leg with the injured ankle
- A deformity of the ankle
If you’ve suffered an ankle fracture, it is important that you get immediate medical attention and be diagnosed to prevent any more injury and to receive the proper treatment for your ankle fracture.
Your doctor will perform an x-ray to determine if and how many broken bones are present after the injury has occurred. The x-ray may also cover the entire leg to determine if not only the ankle was damaged after the cause of the injury.
Your doctor may also perform a stress test to determine the severity of the damage caused by the ankle fracture by applying pressure on the injured ankle then taking an x-ray test to determine if surgery is required.
A CT scan may also be performed to determine the damages the ankle fracture has caused; this type of diagnosis is useful in cases where the fracture extends to the ankle joint.
An MRI scan may also be performed to reveal bones and ligaments to check how much damage is done to them by the ankle fracture.
Surgery may not be required to treat the injury indicating that the broken bone is not or is just barely dislocated. To determine if surgery is needed, a stress test is needed as this will determine if the ankle is stable or not. There are different methods for treating an ankle fracture to let it heal naturally, such as applying a leg cast.
But if your ankle is deemed unstable, surgery will be needed to repair the ankle fracture. During surgery, the bone fragments will be adjusted and repositioned to their natural alignment and will be held by special screws and plates attached to the outer surface of the bone. There are also cases where a screw or a rod inside the bone may be used to keep the bone fragments together while they naturally heal.
Disclaimer / More Information
The material posted on this page on an ankle fracture is for learning purposes only. Learn properly manage this injury by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.