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Ankle Fracture Surgery

Ankle Fracture Surgery

What is an Ankle Fracture?

An ankle fracture can range in severity from a thin crack to a shattered or crushed bone. Because we depend so heavily on the intricate coordination of all the delicate bones that make up our ankles, an injury that might seem minor still needs to be taken seriously. Like an elaborate belt and pulley system, each bone, ligament, and tendon is depended upon to make the whole ankle function optimally. We can help you.

The most common ways of referring to different kinds of bone fractures:

  • Closed fracture: bone does not break through the skin
  • Open fracture (or compound fracture): bone protrudes from the skin
  • Hairline fracture: a thin crack in the bone
  • Single fracture: breakage in one location only
  • Segmental fracture: breakage in two locations
  • Comminuted fracture: breakage into multiple pieces
  • Displaced fracture: breakage into uneven pieces, making realignment difficult
  • Non-displaced fracture: breakage into fairly even pieces, making realignment easier
  • Greenstick fracture: bone has broken on one side and is bent on the other
  • Torus fracture: bone has broken on one side, causing a bump on the other side

If there is bone protruding from your skin, it’s easy to see the fracture, but there are many different kinds of ankle fractures, most under the skin. You could have a single break or several. You could have a hairline fracture or a serious displaced fracture. If you’ve had an ankle injury that caused ongoing pain, come see us.

The pain of a fracture is intense, and you may lose the ability to move your ankle completely. Never try to fix a possible fracture on your own. Anytime you’ve injured your ankle, you need to see a doctor, and MOSA has a proven track record. We can diagnose your injury quickly and see that you recovery promptly and correctly.

If you’ve had an injury to the ankle, you need to see a doctor. But fractures can also be caused by osteoporosis and overuse. If your ankle pain is intense, come see us immediately. We know everything about ankles, and we can see you through any casts, splints, medications, or surgeries you might need, and then we can help you through recovery and any follow-up therapy you require. Don’t wait for an injury to heal on its own. You don’t want to take any chances where your ankles are concerned.

Causes

Fractures can be caused by a wide variety of activities or situations.

Trauma is a common culprit. Fractures from trauma are typically caused by bearing all the weight of a fall on the foot, ankle, or leg, a vehicular accident, or a sports injury.

Osteoporosis can lead to fractures because bones are weakened by this condition and more easily broken by minor stressors.

Overuse is another cause because when muscles fatigue from overuse, the pressure on the bone may be strong enough to cause a fracture.

Sign & Symptoms

While there are always exceptions, if you have a fractured bone, you are usually in pain, particularly upon moving adjoining areas.

  • Swelling, bruising, and if open, bleeding
  • Intense pain
  • Inability to move the affected area
  • Numbness and tingling in the affected area (sometimes)

Diagnosis & Treatment

Time is of the essence in stabilizing the ankle to avoid further injury, more swelling, and internal or external bleeding.

If you think you have broken an ankle, the first step is to immobilize the affected area and get to a doctor or ER for evaluation. While you are in transit, a makeshift splint like a rolled magazine may help keep a broken ankle supported. Keeping your ankle raised and gently applying ice is helpful in reducing swelling, making treatment easier.

In the ER or primary care office, an X-ray may be ordered, or an MRI if soft tissue damage is suspected. Treatment of fractured bones falls into these broad categories:

  • Stabilize/immobilize for self-healing (hairline fractures and some simple fractures can be treated this way)
  • Realign bones by manipulation in the case of closed, non-displaced fractures with one and sometimes two fracture sites may be candidates
  • Surgically realign bones in the case of non-displaced fractures
  • Surgically realign or repair bones (sometimes with the use of bone grafts) by using hardware such as pins, screws, plates, or wires, temporarily or permanently, to hold bone alignment in place

Recovery

Casts, splinting, and other appliances and aids are used in various combinations to allow fractures and joint dislocations to heal. This usually takes 3-6 weeks, depending on the nature and location of the break, as well as the age and overall health of the patient.