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Fractured Ankle

Partial and completely broken bones are also known as fractures. Ankle fractures, like other fractures, range in severity from minor fractures such as when small pieces of the bones are chipped away, to severely shattered bones.

Causes of Ankle Fractures

Most ankle fractures are the result of rolling an ankle, and are commonly mistaken for a sprain. Some fractures occur along with an ankle sprain. Of course, fractures require a different type of treatment, so identifying a fracture is important so that treatment may begin and healing may occur.

Symptoms of Ankle Fractures

Fractured ankles may come with pain at the source, radiating pain up to the knee, swelling in the foot or leg, difficulty or inability to walk, or changes in the structure of the ankle. Some fractures are so severe that the bone may pierce the skin, in which case immediate medical care is necessary to prevent infection and reset the leg. Other symptoms include bruising around the ankle and blisters that appear over the injured area.

What to Do if You Fracture Your Ankle

If you injure your ankle, have it examined by a physician as soon as possible and visit the emergency room if necessary. Stay off of the injured ankle as much as you can, and ice the area to reduce swelling and pain; avoid applying ice directly to the skin. Wrap the ankle and raise the foot slightly above the hip to keep swelling down.

Diagnosis of Ankle Fractures

In evaluating ankle injuries, the physician will examine the ankle, foot, and the rest of the leg. He or she may press on areas of the foot or ankle to determine the type of injury. X-rays and other imaging techniques are used to further evaluate the injury or to confirm diagnosis.

Treatment of Ankle Fractures

Depending on the severity of the fracture, treatment will vary. Some fractures may require a cast or splint, as well as crutches or a wheelchair to immobilize and keep weight off of the ankle. Medication may relieve the pain, and in some cases surgery is required to set the leg and correct any damage.