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Ankle FracturesFractures in the ankle can range from the less serious avulsion injuries, or small pieces of bone that have been pulled from the parent bone, to severe shattering type breaks of the tibia, the fibula, or both.
Ankle Fractures are common injuries that are most often caused by the ankle rolling inward or outward. Many patients mistake an ankle fracture for an ankle sprain. These are very different and therefore require and accurate and earl diagnosis. Often we may see these two injuries simultaneously.
Symptoms of an ankle fracture are most often accompanied by one or all of these symptoms:
- Pain at the site of the fracture, which rare cases may extend from the foot to the knee.
- Significant swelling, which may occur along the length of the leg or may be more localized.
- Blisters may occur over the fracture site. These should be treated quickly.
- Bruising that develops soon after the injury.
- Inability to walk, however, it is possible to walk with less severe breaks, so do not rely on walking as the test of whether the ankle is broken.
- Change in appearance of the ankle from one to the other.
- Bone protruding through the skin, this is a sign of immediate care. Fractures that pierce the skin require immediate surgical management.
At Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists we have highly trained foot and ankle surgeons that will evaluate the ankle injury to determine the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Dr. Craig H. Thomajan DPM, FACFAS, has had extensive surgical training in evaluation and surgical management of complex rear foot and ankle fractures. He is Board Certified in Foot, Rear foot and Ankle Reconstruction by The American Board of Podiatric Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
Treatment of ankle fractures depends upon the type and severity of the injury. Initially the best line treatment of any ankle injury is R.I.C.E protocol.
Rest: Stay off the injured ankle. Walking may cause further injury or increase the chance of an accessory injury.
Ice: Apply an ice pack to the injured area. Use a washcloth or a dishtowel between you and the ice. Use ice for 20 minutes "on" and then wait at least 40 minutes before applying icing again.
Compression: Any elastic wrap will work provisionally to control swelling.
Elevation: The ankle should be raised slightly above the level of the heart to reduce swelling.