An ankle fracture involves damage in one or several ankle bones. It might only involve a bend or miniature crack in the bone or it might shatter in several pieces. In some cases, the fracture might protrude through the skin.
Generally, the fracture is brought about by a twisting motion of the ankle. It can also be caused by a fall, direct blow to the leg or a medical condition that leads to weakened or brittle bones.
What are the signs?
The indications of an ankle fracture include:
- Popping or snapping sound at the time of injury
- Swelling, achiness, bruising or tenderness that arises after the injury
- Changes or deformity in the shape of the ankle
- Tenderness or discomfort when the site of injury is touched or if weight is placed on the foot
- Area in the foot or ankle is pale, cold or numb
Management of an ankle fracture
If an open wound is present with the ankle fracture, the treatment is aimed on controlling the bleeding or reducing the risk for infection.
In case the fracture is evidently deformed, it is straightened by the doctor. Medications are given first to make the procedure less painful.
The injured ankle is placed in a splint, cast or removable boot to prevent movement as it recuperates. The injury might take 6-9 weeks to fully heal. Special exercises are also recommended to improve the strength and maintain flexibility of the ankle.
Other measures to lessen the pain and swelling include:
- Applying an ice pack on the site of injury every 3-4 hours for 20 minutes every application during the initial 1-2 days after the injury.
- Position the injured ankle on cushions while sitting or lying down.
- Pain medications can be given such as ibuprofen
Most cases of ankle fractures are brought about by accidents that could not be prevented. Nevertheless, wearing shoes that fit properly and provide good support can help in preventing injury.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on an ankle fracture is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to how this type of fracture is managed, register for a first aid and CPR course with Ottawa First Aid.