Facts about Ankle Fractures
Fractures anywhere are serious, traumatic injuries. Your skeleton supports your entire body, and the bones in your feet absorb especially heavy forces. When these bones break, it weakens your foundation and limits your mobility. Your ankle joint is particularly important for both your ability to move around and your stability when you stand and walk. An ankle fracture requires proper care to fully recover and regain full strength.
Cracks in the Joint
An ankle fracture is a break in the bones that make up the ankle joint. The ankle is formed where the lower leg bones, the tibia and fibula, meet the foot. These two rest on top of a small bone called the talus, allowing the foot to flex up and down. When either the fibula or tibia undergo a stress or enough force, the resulting injury can cause a fracture.
This injury is usually a traumatic one. Bones are strong, but not indestructible, and a powerful enough force can push them past their limit. Damage happens suddenly—the foot may twist or roll the wrong way, or impact hard on the ground. You feel an immediate pain and often can’t support weight on the affected foot. Your joint will swell and bruise.
Fractures are classified by their severity. A simple break is a crack that goes all the way through the bone, but doesn’t force it out of alignment. A displaced break is more serious—the bone breaks and then dislocates from its proper position. The more bones that fracture at one time, the more complicated your injury. No matter how severe the problem, though, you need to have your ankle cared for immediately. Broken bones have to be properly aligned and immobilized to heal correctly. Otherwise you could develop complications that cause chronic pain and impaired joint mobility.
The key to a full recovery from an ankle fracture is to treat it early. Our doctors will evaluate your injury and use diagnostic images to check for a break in the bone. This will also allow our team to determine the severity of your fracture. Once we have a clear idea of the damage in your joint, we can move forward with the appropriate treatment.
Bones need to be correctly aligned as they heal so that the ankle will function properly. For a simple fracture, this isn’t an issue. A displaced fracture, however, will need to be manipulated back into place and may require surgical fixation. Once your bone is aligned, it will need to be immobilized in a cast or special boot. Most likely you will need to avoid bearing weight on that foot for some time. Icing and elevating the limb will minimize swelling and discomfort. After your bones have rejoined, you’ll be able to begin walking again. Although, you may still need physical therapy to help you restore your range of motion, strength, and stability.
If you think you may have an ankle fracture, you need to have your foot cared for immediately. Allowing your joint to go untreated could result in chronically uncomfortable, badly healed bones that weaken your whole limb. Instead of just hoping it feels better with time, contact the team of experts at Country Foot Care for a consultation. Appointment can be made on-line by clicking on the MAKE AN APPOINTMENT button at the top of this page or by calling either of our New York offices where our staff is waiting to assist you.