Fracture Ankle (Overview)
Fracture Ankle are among the most common of the bone and joint injuries. Often, the degree of pain, the inability to walk, or concern that a bone may be broken is what might cause you to seek care in an emergency situation.
The ankle joint is made up of three bones that articulate together, the tibia, fibula, and talus (some authors also include the calcaneus bone and label the joint as the subtalar joint and considerate it part of the ankle):
- The tibia, the main bone of the lower leg, makes up the medial, or inside, anklebone.
- The fibula is a smaller bone that parallels the tibia in the lower leg and makes up the lateral, or outside, anklebone.
- The far ends of both the tibia and fibula are known as the malleoli(singular is malleolus). These malleoli are the lumps of bone that you can see and feel on the inside and outside of the ankle. Together they form an arch or mortise (a recess) that sits on top of the talus, one of the bones in the foot.
When a doctor talks about an ankle fracture, he or she is usually talking about a broken bone of the tibia or fibula.
Causes of Ankle Fracture
An ankle fracture can occur when the joint is forced beyond its normal range of motion or there is a direct blow to the bone itself. Common cause of ankle fracture:
- Car accidents. The crushing injuries common in car accidents may require surgical repair.
- Falls. Tripping and falling can break bones in your ankles or feet, as can landing on your feet after jumping down from a great height.
- Impact from a heavy weight. Dropping something heavy on your foot is a common cause of fractures.
- Missteps. Sometimes just putting your foot down wrong can result in a broken bone. Many broken toes have happened when people stub their toes on furniture. Twisting your ankle just right can cause a sprain or a broken bone.
- Overuse. Stress fractures are common in the weight-bearing bones of your ankles or feet. These tiny cracks are usually caused over time by repetitive force or overuse, such as running long distances. But they can also occur with normal use of a bone that’s been weakened by a condition such as osteoporosis.
Symptoms of Ankle Fracture
Common symptoms of an ankle fracture include:
- Pain to touch
- Inability to walk on the leg
- Deformity around the ankle
Some people feel or hear a snap at the time of injury and assume that means something has broken. However, a snapping sound or feeling is not always a sign of a fracture.
Diagnosis of Ankle Fracture
- CT Scan
Treatment for Broken Ankle / Fracture Ankle
Surgical and other procedures
- Reduction. If you have a displaced fracture, your doctor may need to manipulate the pieces back into their proper positions — a process called reduction. Depending on the amount of pain and swelling you have, you may need a muscle relaxant, a sedative or even a general anesthetic before this procedure.
- Immobilization. To heal, a broken bone must be immobilized so that its ends can knit back together. In most cases, this requires a cast. Minor foot fractures may only need a removable brace or shoe with a stiff sole. A fractured toe is usually taped to a neighboring toe, with a piece of gauze between them.
- Surgery. In some cases, a surgeon may need to use pins, plates or screws to maintain proper position of your bones during healing. These materials may be removed after the fracture has healed if they are prominent or painful.
NOTE: If you are unable to weight bear and have limited range of movement after an injury, you need to seek medical attention immediately as you are at risk of having FRACTURE ANKLE.