Broken Ankle


Know the basics

What is broken ankle?

A broken ankle is also known as an ankle “fracture”. It occurs when one or more of the bones that make up your ankle joint are broken.

Broken ankle can be a simple break in one bone, which may not stop you from walking. But in some severe cases, broken ankle can force your ankle out of place and that require your leg to be immobilized for few months.

How common is broken ankle?

Broke ankle is quite common because it can happen to people of all ages. During the past 30 to 40 years, doctors have noted an increase in the number. If older people have broken ankle, they may face many complications related to bone problems in the future.  However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of broken ankle?

Signs and symptoms of broken ankle contain:

  • Pain in the ankle, sometimes this pain prevents you from walking.
  • Swelling and bruising around the joint or fluid within the joint itself, most likely blood. This bruising can track down toward the sole of your foot or toward the toes.
  • Visible deformities of bones around the ankle.
  • Stretched skin over an underlying broken bone.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should see your doctor if:

  • You cannot bear the pain.
  • Pain killers do not work.
  • Your ankle can not move.
  • You see the deformity of the ankle bones.
  • Bones cross out the skin.
  • Your foot changes into blue color.

Know the causes

What causes broken ankle?

Broken ankle can be caused by:

  • Twisting or rotating your ankle;
  • Rolling your ankle;
  • Tripping or falling;
  • Impact during a car accident;
  • Flexing or extending the joint;
  • Applying severe force to the joint such as jumping from a high level;

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for broken ankle?

There are many risk factors for broken bone, especially if you are an athlete who frequently join strenuous activities, or have a history of broken bone. The environment where you work also contribute to the risk of broken bone.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is broken ankle diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask you about symptoms, situation that your ankle was broken, your medical history at first. After that, doctor will do a careful examination of your ankle, foot, and lower leg.

X-rays are the most common diagnostic technique that can show if the bone is broken. X-rays may be taken of the leg, ankle, and foot to make sure that nothing else is injured.

Stress test: depending on the type of ankle fracture, doctor may put pressure on the ankle and take a special x-ray, called a stress test. This x-ray is done to see if certain ankle fractures require surgery.

Computed tomography (CT) scan: this scan can show a cross-section image of the ankle, which help the doctor evaluate your bone condition. It is especially useful when the fracture extends into the ankle joint.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: these tests provide more detail about your bone and soft tissues. For some ankle fractures, an MRI scan may be done to evaluate the ankle ligaments.

How is broken ankle treated?

First Aid

First aid techniques are very important to help stabilize a bone until you can reach the hospital. Right first aid can reduce complications that may happen. It includes the following steps:

  • Ice the injury, especially swelling area;
  • Clean the wound with soap and water;
  • Cover the wound with a bandage.

If your ankle is broken and dislocated, the doctor may decide to manipulate them back into right place. To keep the bones in the correct position while you are taken to the hospital, a splint will usually be applied to protect your ankle.

At the hospital, the doctor will then decide whether you need surgery or if you just need a cast to support your ankle as it heals naturally.

Medical treatment

  • Cast: broken ankles need to be put in a plaster cast or splint for around six weeks. During this time, you must not put any weight on the broken ankle. After the next few weeks, the doctor can advise you about things you can do to help your ankle heal. They may also replace your original plaster cast with a lighter one or a special removable boot as you recover.
  • Surgery: if the fractures are severe, you will be required a surgery that needs to cut in the skin and puts back the bones into right position. A combination of plates, screws and wires may be used to hold the bones together, and the wound is closed using stitches. The metalwork is not normally removed later on unless it becomes a problem.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage broken ankle?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you manage the risk of injured bone:

  • Being careful in your activities.
  • Proper footwear when participating in sports also may reduce your risk.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: August 18, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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