Ankle Fracture

Feet | Orthopaedics | Ankle Fracture (Disease)


An ankle fracture is a break of the ankle bones. Signs and symptoms of ankle injuries and fractures tend to be obvious. Pain is the most common complaint. Swelling frequently occurs around the ankle too. Bruising about the joint can be seen, although not immediately. In severe fractures, there may be obvious deformities of bones around the ankle. Skin may be stretched over an underlying broken bone and bone may be exposed. If people injure nerves or blood vessels that supply to the foot, there may be more pain along with pale skin in the foot, numbness, or inability to move the foot or toes.

Causes and Risk factors

Fractures can occur with simultaneous tears of the ligaments. This can happen in several ways: rolling the ankle in or out, twisting the ankle side to side, extreme flexing or extending of the joint, severe force applied to the joint by coming straight down on it as in jumping from a high level.

Diagnosis and Treatment

On clinical examination, it is important to evaluate the exact location of the pain, the range of motion and the condition of the nerves and vessels. On X-rays, there can be a fracture of the medial malleolus, the lateral malleolus, or of the anterior/posterior margin of the distal tibia.

Treatment of ankle fractures is dictated by the stability of the ankle joint. Certain fracture patterns are deemed stable, and may be treated similar to ankle sprains. All other types require surgery, most often an open reduction and internal fixation. A cast or splint will be required to immobilize the ankle following surgery. ...