Ankle Fracture

By Tracy Wilcox, PT, DPT

Ankle Fractures

Ankle Fractures can cause significant dysfunction in your life. The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute has foot and ankle specialists who can help diagnose and treat your ankle fracture. There are several different types of ankle and foot fractures and each treatment may be different.  To read about cardiovascular exercises which you could do with a fracture, please read: https://www.joionline.net/library/show/4-cardio-workouts-you-can-do-with-an-injured-leg/

ankle fracture anatomy of the ankle joint

Anatomy of the Ankle

Types of Ankle Fractures

Lateral Malleolus Fracture

This is the most common type of ankle fracture. It is a break of the bump on the outside of the ankle (in the lower portion of the fibula).

Bimalleolar Ankle Fracture

This second-most common type involves breaks of both the lateral malleolus and of the medial malleolus, the bump on the inside of the ankle (in the lower portion of the tibia).

Trimalleolar Ankle Fracture

This type involves breaks in three sides of the ankle: the medial malleolus of the tibia, as well as the lateral malleolus and posterior malleolus (in the lower portion of the fibula).

Pilon Fracture (also called a plafond fracture):

This is a fracture through the weight-bearing “roof” of the ankle (the central portion of the lower tibia). This is usually a higher energy traumatic injury resulting from a fall from a height.

Within each of the above types, the fracture will be either:

  • Nondisplaced – Bones are broken but still in the correct position and alignment.
  • Displaced – Fractured portions of bone are separated or misaligned.

Symptoms of Ankle Fractures

Ankle fractures are treated at JOI

JOI treats ankle fractures

  • Immediate, throbbing pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Deformity
  • Difficulty or pain with walking or bearing weight

Treatment of Ankle Fractures

The type of fracture and the stability of your joint will determine the type of splint or cast that and how long it will need to be in place. Depending on the type of fracture, you may have a walking cast, which can bear some weight. You may still need a non-weight-bearing cast that will require the use of crutches to help you walk.

If your bones do not align properly, the doctor may realign them before placing the splint or cast. If the bones still do not align properly you may require an operation.
An operation will may be necessary if any bone has broken through the skin. If the bone breaks through the skin, the fracture is a compound fracture. This is more serious than a simple fracture.

Ankle Fracture Recovery Time

 JOI Physical Therapy for ankle fracture

JOI Physical Therapy for ankle fracture

It takes about six weeks for bones to heal. It may take longer for ligaments or other soft tissues to heal as well. Depending on the fracture you may or may not be able to put weight on your ankle.

If your fracture requires surgery; patients are typically non-weightbearing for 4 to 6 weeks until the bone heals. For the first couple of weeks, patients are in a splint and are elevating the limb most of the day. After 10 to 14 days, removal of sutures and the patient receives a removable boot. This allows patients to start moving the ankle and to shower. At the six-week visit, X-rays are taken to determine if the bone is healing.  Assuming the bone is well healing, patients can start weight-bearing/walking and physical therapy. Patients will generally have six to eight weeks of physical therapy.  Full recovery can take 6 months to a year depending on the patient.

Rehab for Ankle Fracture

Your physician may refer you to physical therapy to improve your strength, range of motion, balance, and help return you to your previous level of function. JOI has physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and athletic trainers that can develop a treatment plan of various exercises and manual interventions to return you quickly and safely to your favorite activities.

Ankle Fractures can cause significant dysfunction in your life. The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute has foot and ankle specialists who can help diagnose and treat your ankle fracture. There are several different types of ankle and foot fractures and the treatment may be different.   JOI also has DME (Durable Medical Equipment) for foot and ankle fractures. Cast shoes and walking boots can be given if you have a fracture.

If you want to learn more about ankle fractures, go to https://www.joionline.net/trending/content/ankle-fracture.

Ankle Pain

Many different conditions can cause ankle pain.

  1. Arthritis of the ankle.
  2. RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) or Osteoarthritis of the ankle.
  3. Fractures of the ankle.
  4. Ankle Sprain or Strain.
  5. Cartilage Injuries.
  6. Stress Fractures of the ankle.

The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute has Board Certified Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Surgeons, who will diagnose the pain in your ankle and provide an individualized treatment program.  JOI also has over 10 Physical Therapy Centers in the North Florida Region to provide the highest physical therapy level for the best outcome.  If you want to learn more about Ankle Pain, go to https://www.joionline.net/trending/content/ankle-pain

JOI Fracture and Injury Care

JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP Fracture care. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. To learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care.

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