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Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement | Posted on 12/31/2022 by RBH
Have you fractured your ankle recently, or do you think you might have one of late? Ankle fractures are also referred to as broken ankles. It occurs when one or several other bones are broken or compromised. The fractures or breaks can occur in varied ways and at times based on the seriousness there might be a need for ankle fracture surgery.
It is crucial to understand ankle fracture surgery in-depth if recommended by your doctor. It involves the ankle anatomy which is formed of three different bones. These three bones are the tibia, fibula, and talus.
In this write-up, we will be covering everything about ankle fractures and how you can be sure whether you have a broken ankle or not depending on your symptoms. We will also include a discussion on other treatment options for you.
The information given in this write-up is only for informational purposes and it is recommended to consult a professional doctor.
An ankle fracture is a breakage of one or both of your ankle bones. It usually occurs because of a twisted ankle causing ankle injury. You can experience the problem from sports or even a simple fall or trip. When experiencing this condition, there is a probability that there is a bone breakage on the outer ankle side, the inner side, and maybe on both sides.
At the same time, you can break more than one ankle joint bone. If more ankle bones are broken, then the severity of the injury will also be more. A serious fracture needs ankle surgery and it might take more than two weeks to completely recover from an ankle fracture surgery.
There are varied types of ankle fractures that can happen depending on the three bones and their malleoli. First, you must understand the two overarching categories which include:
There are other types of ankle fractures other than these two which are:
Yes, there are ankle fracture symptoms you can experience. Some of the symptoms are easily diagnosed while others might be complex to diagnose. Every individual experiences pain differently, so the symptoms below might be present or not. Here are the common symptoms:
If you have had an accident recently, or twisted your ankle, and are experiencing any ankle symptoms mentioned above, then you must reach out to a professional orthopaedic doctor immediately. Depending on the seriousness of the fracture, your doctor will initiate diagnosis, discuss treatment options and will clear if your problem requires ankle fracture surgery.
Your orthopaedic doctor will begin with evaluating the tender points, abnormalities, swelling, and bruising. The doctor will ask you to move so that he/she can assess your form. If your symptoms represent that you have fractured your ankle, then your doctor will continue with testing. Here are the common tests your doctor might involve for ankle fracture diagnosis:
Once all your tests are completed and your doctor confirms a broken or fractured ankle, the next step will be to identify the right treatment options for you.
To recommend ankle fracture treatment, your doctor will first evaluate the seriousness of the broken ankle. If there is no need for ankle fracture surgery, then your doctor will recommend:
Ankle fracture surgery is usually recommended in severe cases. If your doctor recommends ankle fracture surgery, then your doctor will suggest:
Your doctor might recommend different types of ankle fracture surgery depending on how severe the injury is:
It doesn’t matter what type of ankle surgery is recommended, the primary objective is rebuilding and supporting the ankle so that recovery after ankle fracture surgery is smooth and heals in the correct position. After surgical treatment, there is a probability that you won’t be able to bear weight for around two weeks or up to eight weeks. After the ankle is healed properly, physical therapy can help in strengthening the ankle and returning to normal movement.
The primary benefit of ankle fracture surgery is it can help in ankle healing properly and reduces the probability of developing traumatic arthritis.
Every surgery comes with risks, even if they are common or not. So, like any other surgery, you must be mindful of ankle fracture surgery complications or side effects. Here are the risks that are related to the surgery:
Here are other risks specific to ankle fractures surgery which include:
Get in touch with your doctor to understand the risks of your procedure and what are the chances of complications.
Ankle fractures are among the problems which require timely treatment hence it is important to consult your doctor immediately after symptoms are observed. If you have gone through ankle fracture surgery, you must know that there is still a probability of re-injuring your fractured ankle if you begin moving too fast to resume activities. There will be times you might feel agitated, anxious or frustrated waiting for your ankle to recover. Make sure to speak to your orthopaedic doctor about all your concerns. The doctor will certainly give your recommendations about their programs and services which can help you.
How long after ankle fracture surgery can you walk on a fractured ankle?
Your healthcare expert will assist you with this and will tell you when it is okay to put weight on your fractured ankle. In general, it takes more than six to ten weeks. Make sure not to put weight on the ankle too soon as it might hinder recovery.
Is ankle surgery risky?
Yes, ankle surgery is among the riskiest surgery as it causes complications such as infection, heavy bleeding, and blood clots. It can also cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels in the ankle.
Is ankle fracture surgery painful?
Yes, you can anticipate being in some degree of pain after the surgery. However, the pain begins subsiding after a few days or weeks, depending on the surgery type.