What Is An Ankle Fracture?

Common ankle injuries treated by Ryan Foot and Ankle Clinic are ankle fractures. Rolling your ankle, either inward or outward, often causes this injury. It is easy to mistake an ankle fracture for ankle sprain, so it is recommended you have the injury examined by one of our foot and ankle specialists. An accurate, early diagnosis is key to recovery.

Ankle fractures can vary in severity from a partial to complete bone break. Ankle injuries where small pieces of bone that have been broken off are called avulsion injuries. Severe breaks can include shattering of the tibia, fibula, or both.

Symptoms of an ankle fracture include some or all of the following symptoms:
» Bruising that appears quickly after the injury
» Obvious swelling, either localized or along the full leg
» Localized pain at the fracture, sometimes radiating from the foot up to the knee
» Inability to walk or stand
» Blisters at the fracture site (seek immediate treatment from a foot and ankle surgeon)
» The ankle looks different the other ankle

A compound fractice is when the broken bone pierces/protrudes through the skin. Seek immediate medical attention to reduce the risk of severe infection and extended recovery time.

How Are Ankle Fractures Treated?

It is very important to have the injured ankle examined by a foot and ankle surgeon for proper diagnosis and treatment. If you have an ankle fracture and cannot get to Ryan Foot and Ankle Clinic right away, go to the emergency room and schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible for a thorough assessment. X rays and imaging studies will be used to determine the type and severity of your injury and a course of treatment will be recommended.

Treatment will include the R.I.C.E. protocol:

  • REST: Walking with the injury may cause further damage; it is best to stay off of the ankle.
  • ICE: Ice packs should be applied for 20 minutes on, 40 minutes off. Use a thin towel or cloth between the icepack and your skin.
  • COMPRESSION: Your foot and ankle specialist will use an elastic wrap to control the swelling.
  • ELEVATION: Keeping the injured ankle above the level of your heart will also help reduce the swelling.

Your podiatrist may also use a cast or splint to protect and restrict the ankle during healing and prescribe anti-inflammatories and pain medication, as needed.

What To Expect If Surgery Is Recommended?

If surgery is needed to repair the fracture and possible soft tissue injuries, your Ryan Foot and Ankle Clinic surgeon will select the procedure that is appropriate for your injury. It is imperative to follow your surgeon’s instructions after treatment to reduce the risk of infection, deformity, arthritis, and chronic pain.

If you have an ankle fracture or would like more information about this condition, give us a call at one of our 5 local podiatry offices in Charlotte, Concord and Harrisburg today for more information or to schedule an appointment.