A broken ankle is also known as an ankle “fracture.” This means that one or more of the bones that make up the ankle joint are broken.
A fractured ankle can range from a simple break in one bone, which may not stop you from walking, to several fractures, which forces your ankle out of place and may require that you not put weight on it for a few months.
Simply put, the more bones that are broken, the more unstable the ankle becomes. There may be ligaments damaged as well. The ligaments of the ankle hold the ankle bones and joint in position.
There are three bones make up the ankle joint:
o Tibia – shinbone
o Fibula – smaller bone of the lower leg
o Talus – a small bone that sits between the heel bone (calcaneus) and the tibia and fibula
A fracture is a partial or complete break in a bone. In the ankle, fractures can range from the less-serious avulsion injuries (small pieces of bone that have been pulled off) to severe, shattering-type breaks of the tibia, fibula, or both.
Ankle fractures are common injuries that are most often caused by the ankle rolling inward or outward. Many people mistake an ankle fracture for an ankle sprain, but they are quite different and require an accurate and early diagnosis. Both can occur simultaneously.
o Twisting or rotating your ankle
o Rolling your ankle
o Tripping or falling
o Impact during a car accident
An ankle fracture is accompanied by one or all of these signs and symptoms:
o Pain at the site of the fracture, which in some cases can extend from the foot to the knee.
o Significant swelling, which may occur along the length of the leg or may be more localized.
o Blisters may occur over the fractured area. These should be promptly treated by a surgeon.
o Decreased ability to walk—it is possible to walk with less severe breaks, so never rely on walking as a test of whether a bone has been fractured.
o Change in the appearance of the ankle so that it differs from the other ankle.
o Bone protruding through the skin—a sign that immediate care is needed! Fractures that pierce the skin require urgent attention because they can lead to severe infection and prolonged recovery.
The team at Foot & Ankle Wellness Center of Western Pennsylvania is available at 5 Convenient locations to take care of your foot and ankle needs. Call one of our offices today!!