By Tracy Wilcox, PT, DPT
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 4 cardio workouts you can do with an injured leg
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
- Immediate, throbbing pain
- 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
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 ankle fracture.
Many different conditions can cause ankle pain.
- Arthritis of the ankle.
- RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) or Osteoarthritis of the ankle.
- Fractures of the ankle.
- Ankle Sprain or Strain.
- Cartilage Injuries.
- 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 ankle pain
JOI and JOI Rehab
JOI Physicians continue to offer online new patient appointments. This is another option to make it more convenient to make new patient appointments with less phone hold times. Follow the link below to select your JOI MD and schedule online.
You can still call 904-JOI-2000 to make new patient JOI Physician Appointments if that is your preference. A new option, you can now schedule and cancel follow-up appointments with your physician at the JOI Patient Portal.
To make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.