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Ankle Fracture

The ankle actually consists of two joints, one on top of the other. A fractured ankle may involve one or more bones, as well as injury to the surrounding connecting tissue (ligaments).

Anatomy of the Ankle

Another joint (subtalar) is just below the ankle joint, where the ankle bone attaches to the heel bone (calcaneus). This joint enables the leg to rock from side to side. Three sets of fibrous tissues connect the bones and provide stability to the two joints. The lumpy bumps you can feel on either side of your ankle are the ends of the bones of the lower leg. The humerus on the outside of the ankle (lateral malleolus) is part of the fibula; The small protuberance on the inside of the ankle (medial malleolus) is part of the shinbone.

When A Break Occurs

Any of the three bones that make up the ankle joint can be broken as a result of a fall, vehicle accident, or other trauma to the ankle. Because a severe sprain can often hide the symptoms of a broken ankle, every ankle injury should be examined by a physician. Symptoms of a broken ankle include
There may also be damage to the ligaments in a broken ankle. Your doctor will order an X-ray to locate the exact location of the break. Occasionally, a CT (computed tomography) scan or bone scan will also be needed.

Treatment And Rehabilitation

If the fracture is stable (without damage to the ligament or mortise joint), it may be treated with a leg cast or brace. Initially, a long leg cast may be applied, which may later be replaced with a short walking cast. It takes at least six weeks for a broken ankle to heal, and it may be several months before you can return to play at your previous competitive level. Your doctor will probably schedule additional X-rays while the bones heal, to be sure that changes or pressure on the ankle are not causing the bones to shift. If ligaments are also torn, or if the fracture has created a loose piece of bone that can irritate the joint, surgery may be needed to “fix” the bones together so they can heal properly. . The surgeon may use a plate, metal or absorbable screws, staples, or tension bands to hold the bones in place. Usually, there are few complications, although the risk is higher in diabetics and smokers. Afterwards, the surgeon will prescribe a program of rehabilitation and strengthening. Range of motion exercises are important, but keeping weight off the ankle is equally important. A child who breaks an ankle should be checked regularly for up to two years to make sure that growth progresses properly without deformities or unequal leg-length. The ankle actually consists of two joints, one on top of the other. A fractured ankle may involve one or more bones, as well as injury to the surrounding connecting tissue (ligaments).