The ankle joint is considered as a resilient but a highly multifaceted joint in the human body. Once damaged, the ankle can end up intensely sore and the mobility is drastically limited. There are a number of bones that make up the ankle joint and fractures sustained in the area are often labelled and categorized based on the affected bones.
Once an individual is suspected with an ankle fracture, it is best to consult a doctor for proper assessment of the damage as well as severity of the injury sustained.
An avulsion fracture is somewhat vague to determine since most perceive this injury as a fracture while other specialists consider it as an ankle ligament injury. The knobs of the ankle or malleoli are situated on the exterior and another one on the interior of the ankle. The exterior lateral malleolus is the main point of attachment for the exterior stabilizing ligaments. In acute cases, rolling over or inversion injuries involves substantial tension pressure being exerted on the ligaments, particularly at these attachment points.
The bone will either break or the ligament will rupture severely. In some circumstances, the ligament can tear away from the lateral malleolus but take along a small bone fragment with it which is why it is called as an avulsion fracture.
It is important to note that the lateral malleolus is essentially the upper point of the bigger fibula bone that includes the exterior knob of the ankle. Various types of twisting injuries can lead to the fracture of the fibula farther up on its shaft and slightly farther away from the actual joint. Remember that this is still considered as an ankle fracture but the treatment approach is somewhat different.
Once the fibula breaks at this point, it can cause instability inside the ankle joint, thus requiring surgical intervention that involves the placement of plates and screws.
Pilon fractures of the ankle can develop with fractures on both the malleoli, including the fracture components of the distal end going up to the ankle region of the tibia where it articulates with the talus bone on the foot side of the joint. Take note that this creates another possible serious issue with the surface integrity and surgical intervention in order to repair any anomalies and step-offs on the joint surface. This injury characteristically increases the risk for the development of post-traumatic arthritis.
If two knobs or malleoli of the ankle are damaged, it is called as a serious unstable condition known as bimalleolar fracture. If treatment is not started as soon as possible, specifically surgical fixation of this fracture, the healing will be delayed. Understandably, the ankle might be left grossly misshapen, unstable and at risk for the development of traumatic arthritis.