Ankle Fractures

Overview:  The ankle joint is made up of the tibia, Fibula and the Talus.  Ankle Fractures usually happen after a traumatic incident, such as a car accident, a fall, or a twisting injury.  We commonly see ankle fractures in the winter from slipping on ice and in the summer from a sporting injury, but can happen at any time.  Ankle fracture means that one or more of the bones that make up the ankle joint are separated into pieces. There may be ligaments damaged as well.  A fractured ankle can range from a simple break in one bone, which may not stop you from walking, to several fractures, which forces your ankle out of place and may require that you not put weight on it for three months. 

 

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Symptoms:

-  Immediate pain and swelling.

-  Unable to put weight on the affected extremity.

-  A “Pop” may be heard at the time of injury.

-  Bruising may develop immediately or hours to days later.

-  Tender to touch.

- If severe the ankle may show a deformity and look out of place.

Diagnosis:

- Usually made by X-rays and physical exam. 

- CT scans for more complex injuries and to assist with surgical plan if necessary.

- MRI are sometimes ordered to evaluate ligaments and tendons

Treatment:

Non-Operative:

-  May involve casting or immobilization for a period of time.

-  Weight bearing will be determined at the discretion of the treating physician.  It is likely you will need to walk with crutches.

-  Frequent X-rays will be done until healing is confirmed.

-  Physical therapy and ankle rehabilitation protocols.

Operative:

-If the ankle is unstable operative management may be recommended and Different techniques for surgery can be used. Screws, a plate and screws, or different wiring techniques can all be used, depending on the fracture.

Pre-Op Care:

-  Pre-operative history and physical

-  Pre-Operative screening labs

-  Preoperative  X-rays

Post-Op Care:

-  Daily incisional care, keep incision clean and dry and replace the bandage daily, with a clean dressing.

-  Pain medication when needed. 

-  Sling for comfort

-  Post-op clinical visits for suture removal at 2-3 weeks after surgery.