An ankle fracture is a common injury that involves a break in one or more bones that make up the ankle joint. Sometimes ligaments may also be damaged. Ankle fractures are most often caused by motor vehicle accidents, rolling or twisting of the ankle, tripping or falling or during sports activities.
Common symptoms of an ankle fracture include severe and immediate pain and swelling around the ankle, bruising, tender to the touch, inability to walk on the leg, and deformity if the ankle is dislocated.
Following an ankle injury, it is important to have the ankle evaluated by your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Diagnosis is made based on the history of the injury and physical examination of the ankle. In addition, your doctor may order X-ray, CT scan or MRI scan of the ankle to determine the extent of the injury.
Treatment varies with the type and severity of the injury. Conservative treatment of ankle fractures may include adequate rest, ice application, elevation of the leg, and medications to reduce swelling and pain. Some ankle fractures are treated with a splint, which is placed on the ankle for a few days until the swelling subsides. Once the swelling decreases, a cast may be placed on the ankle to hold the broken bone in a specific place. Surgery may be needed to realign the bones before placing the splint. During surgery, your doctor may place metal screws, plates, or rods to hold the broken bone intact until the healing happens. In some cases, crutches may be advised to discourage weight-bearing on the ankle.
It is important to use proper fitting shoes for the particular sports activity to reduce the chances of injury.