Enquire now
Enquire NowCall Back Whatsapp Lab report/login
Ankle Fractures - Symptoms, Causes and Treatments - CMRI

Home > Blogs > Ankle Fractures - Symptoms, Causes and Treatments - CMRI

Ankle Fractures - Symptoms, Causes and Treatments - CMRI

Orthopedics & Joint Replacement | by CMRI | Published on 28/11/2022


Adventurous or not, our body is often the first casualty of physical mishaps. This is probably the reason why joint injuries are common in individuals who are frequently engaged in sports or outdoor activities. One such common injury is related to the feet and ankles. 

The ankle joint consists of the Tibia, Fibula and Talus Bone (ankle bone that connects your leg to the foot). An ankle is considered to be broken if there is a fracture or multiple fractures in the ankle joint. Broken ankles are often painful and can cause immense discomfort. Furthermore, prolonging the treatment of a fractured ankle can lead to significant complications and a long-term disability. Let us find out how you can know if your ankle is fractured and what you should do to reduce the risk of complications.

Ankle Fracture: What Are The Symptoms?

Ankle fractures usually occur due to a common twisting mechanism. Children often encounter twisted ankles while playing or running around. However, it can also indicate a sprain. An individual with a fractured ankle will primarily experience pain with varying intensity and swelling around the ankle region. However, the swelling can spread to the foot and move up towards the knee if the condition persists. As the person puts more weight on the affected ankle, the pain may become unbearable and may eventually require treatment. 


What Causes A Broken Ankle? 

Most broken ankles are a result of excessive twisting. But there are several factors that can trigger rotational injury. The majority of people with a fractured ankle encounter accidents, sports injuries or high-force impacts from a fall or collision. In rare cases, fractures can be a result of long-term medical conditions which affect bone density. Let us know more about the severity of a broken ankle and how we can identify the types of fractures. 

Types of Ankle fractures

Doctors classify ankle fractures according to the location of the broken bone. Our ankle joint comprises three major bones - The tibia (the shinbone), Fibula (the smaller bone of the lower leg), and Talus (a small bone that sits between the heel bone, the tibia and fibula). Based on the region affected by the fracture, they are classified into the following types - 

  • Lateral malleolus fracture: The most common type of ankle fracture that refers to the breakage of the lateral malleolus (the knobby bump on the outside of the ankle). 
  • Bimalleolar ankle fracture: This type involves the breakage of both the lateral malleolus and the medial malleolus (knobby bump on the inside of the ankle). 
  • Trimalleolar ankle fracture: Trimalleolar ankle fracture is the breakage on the three sides of the ankle: the medial malleolus, the lateral malleolus and the lower portion of the posterior malleolus of the tibia.
  • Pilon fracture (Plafond fracture): This type of fracture usually occurs due to high-impact traumatic injury resulting from a fall from a height. 

Within each of the above ankle fractures, the doctor further categories the condition into displaced fractures (fractured portions of bone are separated or misaligned) and Non-displaced (bones are broken but still in the original position and alignment). 


How Can I Treat A Fractured Ankle Bone?

After the diagnosis which usually involves imaging tests such as x-rays, MRIs, and CT-scan, the doctor may proceed with the treatment. Broken ankle treatment usually depends on the type of fracture, the severity of the fracture, the primary cause of a fractured ankle, and the medical health of the patient.

Surgical procedures to treat a fractured ankle involve healing the bone as close to perfect as possible and preventing any misalignment in the bone. Mild ankle breakage can be treated non-surgically with a splint, leg cast or other protective devices like a walking boot to help patients walk immediately. 

For more severe cases, doctors may recommend surgery which is necessary to prevent improper healing that can lead to other complications. In addition, surgery may also be a viable treatment method if the fractured ankle is caused due to a medical condition which has impacted the density of the bone.

Recovery After A Fractured Bone

The bone may require 6 to 8 weeks to heal depending on the severity of the fracture. Since pain and fever are common after the treatment, the doctor may prescribe pain management medicines for relief. It is also important to follow post-operative tips and preventive measures to ensure full recovery and avoid complications. 

You may also be referred to a therapist to begin your exercise program to heal faster. You can return to your daily routine once your cast is opened. However, consult your doctor before resuming sports and daily activities for long-term health benefits. Sometimes there are certain complications related to improper cast which can cause discomfort. Seek medical assistance in case you are experiencing the following -

  • Damage to your cast or splint
  • Severe pain which becomes unbearable
  • Swelling in your foot or leg above or below your cast or splint
  • Numbness, tingling, or coldness in your foot, or your toes
  • Unable to move your toes
  • Increased swelling in your calf and foot
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

FAQs -

Can you walk with an ankle fracture?

It is generally not advisable to put pressure or weight on the fractured ankle. However, in case of mild fractures, you can use supporting devices which can help you walk and perform daily tasks.

Does a fractured ankle need a cast?

Most ankle fractures require a cast if the degree of misalignment is mild. If the fractured ankle is due to a medical condition, the doctor may perform surgery to treat it. It is only after a comprehensive diagnosis and imaging tests that the doctor can suggest an effective treatment method.

Is a fractured ankle worse than a broken bone?

Most people assume breaks and fractures to be separate entities. However, there is no difference between the two. It is only after a comprehensive diagnosis and radiology testing that the doctor can determine the nature of the issue.