An ankle fracture is a crack or break in one or more of three bones—the tibia, fibula, and talus—that form the ankle joint. This type of injury often results from trauma, such as a fall. It can also occur during strenuous physical activity, such as running or jumping. In any of these scenarios, the ankle may be stressed beyond its normal capacity, resulting in a broken bone.
What Are the Symptoms of a Broken Ankle?
In addition to pain that develops immediately after the injury, an ankle fracture can cause swelling, bruising, and difficulty walking, bearing weight, and wearing shoes. A visible deformity may also appear, such as an abnormal bend to the ankle. Because a less serious sprain can produce similar symptoms, it is important to seek prompt medical attention to ensure appropriate treatment. In Torrington, Wyoming, you can consult with a board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon who specializes in foot and ankle conditions and emphasizes personalized care.
How Is a Broken Ankle Treated?
Ankle fracture treatment can vary based on the stability of the break:
Treatment For a Stable Ankle Fracture
A broken bone that has not shifted out of alignment can usually be treated without surgery. Crutches can be used to help keep weight off the damaged bone as it mends, and a boot or cast may be worn to immobilize and support the injured ankle. If necessary, medication such as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) can be taken to help relieve pain and swelling. As comfort allows, targeted stretches and exercises can be performed to help prevent stiffness and muscle weakness.
Treatment For an Unstable Ankle Fracture
A broken ankle is considered to be unstable if:
- The ends of the broken bone have shifted out of alignment
- Multiple breaks are present
- More than one bone is broken
- The ankle joint is damaged
Surgery may be considered to properly reposition the bones and place pins, screws, or other hardware to secure the bones in place as they heal. Physical therapy is usually recommended after surgery to help build muscle support in the area of the break.
If you’ve injured your ankle and suspect that it might be broken, you should seek prompt medical attention. Contact Premier Bone & Joint Centers to set up a consultation at our satellite clinic in Torrington, WY, right away.