The ankle is an essential joint in the human body as it supports the balance and movement of the feet. The ankle is a complex joint made up of three bones that come together, the tibia and fibula, both located in the lower leg above the joint, and the talus, located below the joint. A sudden twist of the ankle in an unnatural degree can cause an ankle injury, often times causing an ankle fracture.
Ankle fractures are common injuries that occur around the ankle joint. There are various types of these fractures, characterized by their location on the ankle and the degree of the injury. Typically, a broken ankle refers to a broken tibia or fibula. Experiencing a fracture can be quite painful since the bone may often times become dislocated from the joint and the smallest movement can trigger severe pain along with other symptoms.
A fractured or broken ankle can make movements and normal activities difficult. The common symptoms associated with this injury can help diagnose the severity of the fracture in order to follow up with treatment. The first indication of an ankle fracture is severe ankle pain. The affected area may be painful to the touch and sometimes, the pain of the injury can be so severe, the individual will be unable to stand up. Other symptoms indicating a broken ankle include swelling on the surrounding area along with the appearance of bruises. Due to a break in the ankle bones, the ankle may appear deformed and out of place.
Once diagnosed, it is essential to allow the ankle bone to heal completely after a fracture to avoid further complications. Treatments for an ankle fracture include an immediate ice compress to help reduce the swelling around the injury and control the pain. After minimizing the swelling, a doctor may suggest the application of a cast to help hold the bone in place as it heals. But, most importantly, treatment for a broken ankle should include plenty of rest.
The process of healing for a bone fracture cannot be sped up, the bone will take its own time to heal. If the bone doesn’t heal properly, it may lead to permanent injury and may require corrective surgery to restore the ankle joint.
By Dr. Alex Jimenez