Ankle fractures are commonly caused by high impact to the bones, such as twisting, falling, or getting hit in the ankle. Ankle fractures will typically involve one, two, or even three breaks in the bone around the ankle. The three primary bones that make up the ankle are the tibia, fibula, and talus.
Each of these bones can be fractured during an ankle injury. With ankle fractures, the inability to walk on the affected ankle can cause difficulty with most daily movements. If untreated, this can lead to long-term complications, including ankle arthritis.
- Severe pain, bruising and swelling
- Point tenderness over the affected bone
- Inability to put weight on the injured foot
- Deformity of the ankle joint
- Numbness or weakness in the foot in some cases
Ankle fractures are typically diagnosed with X-rays. This type of imaging will provide specific details regarding the type and extent of the fractured bone. An MRI can also determine if there is any damage to the surrounding tendons and ligaments.
The most common treatment for a severe ankle fracture is surgery. This involves using fixation (plates and screws), either internally or externally, to stabilize the fractured bone. Because several bones make up the ankle, it’s essential to ensure the bones are healing correctly and are aligned. After healing, it’s important to restore gait, strength, and balance. This is done through working with a physical therapist to allow you to return to normal ankle function.