What is an Ankle Fracture?
An Ankle Fracture is a form of injury to the bone. It occurs when one or more bones in the ankle joint break (the tibia, the fibula or the talus). This kind of injury can happen for many reasons, including falling, sports injuries or various types of accidents e.g. a biking crash. Even if jumping from a low height, the impact can still cause a fracture. The severity of the fracture can vary greatly, which then defines the treatments and symptoms of the fracture.
Symptoms of an Ankle Fracture
The main symptoms of ankle fracture include immediate and severe pain, swelling, deformity, difficulty in walking and reduced pain when resting. A person suffering may also become dizzy from the pain, and in severe cases the fractured bone may protrude from the leg. It is possible to sometimes be able to hear the break when it happens, but not every time. You should go and see a doctor when the pain increases along with swelling.
Prevention of an Ankle Fracture
To prevent an ankle fracture, make sure you take proper precaution on uneven surfaces or when walking across areas with a risk of falling. If taking park in sport, make sure you complete a warm up before beginning. If you choose to run on hills, make sure the surface is not too slippery, and to avoid running to fast downhill. Additionally, take time to ensure all your clothing/wearables are suited for your body i.e. your running shoes. You can also strengthen your bones by maintaining calcium rich foods in your diet.
Risk factors of an Ankle Fracture
High risk factor sports such as football, tennis and gymnastics all can cause twisting or direct blows to your ankle. Additionally, sudden increases in activity levels such as boosting duration or stress can cause a fracture. Low lighting levels can cause missteps around the home resulting in painful falls; make sure to declutter and to keep your light levels appropriate. If you suffer from decreased bone density, this is also a major risk factor, so be sure to take extra precaution with sporting activities.
Why might Ankle Fracture Surgery be needed?
You will need surgery on your ankle because the severity and location of your fracture requires you to do so by a healthcare professional. Surgery will repair the bone in a better position to reduce the risk of a deformity or loss of function.
What are the risks with Ankle Fracture Surgery?
As with any surgery, there can be risks with ankle surgery. Whilst small, they can include:
- Residual weakness in the ankle
- Reduced function which may cause a difficulty in walking
- Possible further surgery if the bone doesn’t’ heal properly
- Possible nerve damage
- Our leading expert orthopaedic consultants will be able to help with any concerns you may have.
How to prepare for Ankle Fracture Surgery
Your consultant will provide you with all the relevant information before your procedure along with any preparation you may need to do in the days leading up to your surgery. It is important to tell your consultant about any medicines you may be taking, including any over the counter pain medicines such as paracetamol or aspirin.
You may need imaging tests before your surgery, including ultrasound, X-ray or an MRI.
Do not eat or drink 6 hours before you are due to have surgery otherwise your surgery may be delayed.
Please ensure you have a companion available to take you home after you leave OneWelbeck Orthopaedics.
What will happen during my surgery?
An anaesthetist will discuss with you the type of anaesthetic used and the process they will follow so you don’t feel anything. You will be given the opportunity to ask any questions and raise any concerns you may have.
Once you are safely anaesthetised, incisions are made through the skin where the ankle bones are broken. The bones will be repositioned and held in place with implants. Once the bones are repaired, your surgeon will stitch up where the incision has been made and you will be taken back to your room.
What happens after Ankle Fracture Surgery?
After your operation, you will be watched by your dedicated nurse at OneWelbeck Orthopaedics for the few hours after your surgery. To stop your leg from moving, you will need to wear a cast or brace on your leg which will help the ankle to heal. You will likely be in this case for at least six weeks depending on the severity of your injury. Once you have seen your Consultant you will be able to go home the same day.
Make sure you follow any advice given to you by your consultant orthopaedic surgeon including any advice on pain relief, wound dressing and any exercises you may be given.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does recovery from ankle surgery take?
The recovery time depends on the type of surgery and the extent of the injury. Recovery from a minor procedure might take as few as 6-8 weeks; major surgery could require months for recovery.
What is the best way to speed up recovery?
Making sure you get enough rest, eating a nutritious diet, and avoiding smoking all contribute to faster healing after ankle surgery. Another effective way to accelerate the healing process is cold compression therapy.
If your ankle fracture is severe or in a certain location, it could require surgery. Surgery will repair the bone in a better position to reduce the risk of a deformity or loss of function.
Get In Touch
To speak with a specialist about Ankle Fracture, contact our team today.
We are available from Monday to Friday: 8am – 8pm.