A fracture is a partial or complete break in any bone in the body. Fractures in the ankle can be less serious such as avulsion injuries (small pieces of bone that have been pulled off) to severe crush breaks of the tibia, fibula, or both.
Ankle fractures are common injuries that are most often caused by the ankle rolling inward, outward or direct trauma. Many people mistake an ankle fracture for an ankle sprain, but they are quite different and therefore require an accurate and early diagnosis.
Indication for Ankle Surgery
Usually ankle fractures are referred to as unimalleolar (fracture of one area ankle bone), bimalloelar (fracture of areas two ankle bones), trimalloelar (facture of 3 areas of the ankle) or a Pilon (many fragments of the ankle) fracture. In most cases bimalloelar fractures undergo surgery or if there is a large gap in the fractures surgery will be indicated for all ankle fractures. The goal of surgery is to restore and stabilize the ankle joint in order to slow down the development of arthritis.
At first you will need to follow the R.I.C.E. protocol:
- Rest: Stay off the injured ankle.
- Ice: Apply an ice pack to the injured area for 20 minutes once every 2-4 hours 2-4 weeks
- 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.
- Immobilization. Certain fractures are treated by protecting and restricting the ankle and foot in a cast or splint, patient is also non weight bearing
Ankle Fracture Surgery
If the ankle fracture surgery is indicated, the fracture is reduced (reposition the fracture) into a normal alignment and position, then screws and (or) plates will be used to hold the bone fragments together while they heal. In severe cases an external fixator (fixation on the outside of the body) may be used in order to stabilize the ankle. Usually, it takes 6 weeks for the bone to heal.