Ankle and Foot Fractures
A fracture is a partial or complete break in a bone. Fractures in the ankle can range from the less serious avulsion injuries (small pieces of bone that have been pulled off) to severe shattering-type breaks of the tibia, fibula or both.
Ankle fractures are common injuries most often caused by the ankle rolling inward or outward. Many people mistake an ankle fracture for an ankle sprain, but they are quite different and therefore require an accurate and early diagnosis. They sometimes occur simultaneously.
Any sort of impact or injury can cause a foot or ankle fracture. The most common causes of foot and ankle fractures include:
• Car accidents - crush injuries common in car accidents may require surgical repair.
• Missteps - Putting your foot down wrong can cause a bone to break, subbing a toe against furniture can break a bone, and twisting the ankle just right can lead to a sprain or a break.
• Overuse - Stress fractures are common in weight-bearing bones, these tiny cracks are caused by repetitive stress over time such as long distance running.
• Impact form heavy weight
An ankle sprain can include any or all of these symptoms:
• Soreness or pain
• Stiffness in the joint
• Difficulty walking
Ankle fractures are common and cause by the ankle rolling. People may mistake an ankle fracture for an ankle sprain but they are very different which is why they require a professional medical diagnosis early on.
Following an ankle injury, it is important to have the ankle evaluated by a foot and ankle surgeon for proper diagnosis and treatment. If you are unable to do so right away, go to the emergency room and then follow up with a foot and ankle surgeon as soon as possible for a more thorough assessment.
The affected limb will be examined by the foot and ankle surgeon who will touch specific areas to evaluate the injury. In addition, the surgeon may order x-rays and other imaging studies, as necessary.
Treatment of ankle fractures depends on the type and severity of the injury. At first, the foot and ankle surgeon will want you to follow the RICE protocol:
Rest: Stay off the injured ankle. Walking may cause further injury.
Ice: Apply an ice pack to the injured area, placing a thin towel between the ice and the skin. Use ice for 20 minutes and then wait at least 40 minutes before icing again.
Compression: An elastic wrap should be used to control swelling.
Elevation: The ankle should be raised slightly above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.
Additional treatment options include:
Immobilization. Certain fractures are treated by protecting and restricting the ankle and foot in a cast or splint. This allows the bone to heal.
Prescription medications. To help relieve the pain, the surgeon may prescribe pain medications or anti-inflammatory drugs.