The most common ankle fractures occur on the outside portion of the ankle, which is the distal or bottom-most part of the bone called the fibula. While standard ankle fractures are a relatively routine fracture that can generally be fixed and heal anatomically, if untreated they can be very problematic and lead to severe post traumatic arthritis. Therefore, it’s important to get expert care from the providers at ORTHOKnox in Knoxville, Tennessee. As orthopedic surgeons and ankle specialists, they can determine which ankle fractures will heal with a cast and which will need surgery. To receive expert care for an ankle sprain or injury, call ORTHOKnox or book an appointment online.
Ankle fractures may occur in one or more of the three bones that make up the ankle joint: the center ankle bone called the talus, or the distal leg bones, the tibia and fibula.
Ankle fractures typically occur during a fall or while you’re engaged in sports activities. The most frequent causes of an ankle fracture are:
Stress fractures caused by overuse and repetitive activities are also common, especially if you engage in running sports. These are classically treated in a boot or a cast and rarely require surgery. With a stress fracture, pain develops gradually from repetitive overuse, worsens with activity, and feels better with rest. There is also typically swelling or tenderness at the site of the stress fracture.
Ankle fractures cause symptoms such as:
Your treatment is determined by the location and severity of the fracture. When the bones are well aligned and the ankle is stable, you may only need a cast or brace to hold the bones in place as they heal.
However, when there is an open fracture, the bones are out of alignment, or the ankle is unstable, you’ll need surgery to ensure the bones are realigned and heal properly. Restoring normal alignment to all the bones is vitally important for preventing post-traumatic arthritis.
Surgery for a broken ankle usually includes an open reduction and internal fixation to reposition the bones, and hold them in place with special screws and metal plates.
Once the fracture is stabilized and begins healing, physical therapy is ordered to rehabilitate the ankle restoring motion and strength through exercise, manual therapy, and other techniques such as ultrasound..
If you develop any sign of an ankle fracture or sprain, it’s important to get immediate medical attention. Call ORTHOKnox to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.