Broken ankle

A broken ankle can occur from a severe ankle sprain and involves damage to one of the ankle bones.

Close look on the ankle

The ankle joint is comprised of 3 bones ā€“ tibia, fibula and talus. A broken ankle can involve any of these bones.

What are the causes?

One can end up with a broken ankle in various ways. The usual injury involves rolling of the ankle to the side the same as an ankle sprain. During this movement, there is only soft tissue damage, however in forceful or rapid motions, a fracture occurs.

Broken ankle

A broken ankle is an acute traumatic injury due to a significant ankle sprain or strike.

Extensive bending or extension of the joint might also result to a break as well as excessive force such as falling from a tall height.

The stress fractures can also occur in the ankle, particularly on the talus. The injury develops due to constant overstraining of the bone usually from abnormal foot biomechanics specifically overpronation.

How do I know if I have a broken ankle?

In most cases, a broken ankle is an acute traumatic injury due to a significant ankle sprain or strike. The indications include the following:

  • Abrupt significant ankle pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising over the next few hours
  • Inability to bear weight with intense pain over the site of the fracture

In most cases, an X-ray is performed to confirm a diagnosis.

Management

The treatment for a broken ankle is decided on an individual basis. In almost all instances, the ankle requires immobilization in a brace or cast. Adequate rest from weight bearing must be observed between 1-8 weeks. For minor cases, such as a stress fracture, treatment involves partial weight bearing using a walking boot or a crutch.

Most fractures are immobilized with a cast for up to 6 weeks. This allows the bone time to recuperate without any stress from motion or weight bearing. After this phase, the cast is taken out and a rehabilitation program is started right away.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on a broken ankle is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage fractures, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Surrey, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

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