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Ankle Fracture

An ankle fracture is a break in one or more of the three bones in the ankle – the tibia, fibula and talus. There are also two joints in the ankle, which may also be affected – the ankle joint (where the tibia, fibula and talus meet) and the syndesmosis joint (between the tibia and fibula). Ankle fractures are a common injury but, if not treated correctly, ankle fractures can lead to ankle instability, which makes further injuries more likely.

What causes ankle fractures?

Ankle fractures are common because the ankle takes the whole weight of the body and is put under extra strain when taking part in sports, including running and jumping.

What are the signs of ankle fracture?

Signs include a ‘crack’ when the injury happens, severe pain, swelling, bruising, tenderness, a bone sticking out of the fracture (an open or compound injury) and not being able to put weight on the ankle. The ankle may also appear deformed and you may feel sick and dizzy because of the shock of the injury.

How can an ankle fracture be diagnosed?

During your first appointment, you’ll have an opportunity to discuss your symptoms with Mr Heidari, who will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment. He may also arrange X-rays in order to assess the damage. In more complex injuries a CT or MRI scan may be necessary.

What does treatment involve?

Treatment depends on the type of fracture you have. If the ankle is dislocated you may need to have a procedure to realign them (reduction) to avoid problems including the supply of blood to the foot, and damage to nerves. If the ankle is badly broken, or open, you may need to have surgery to repair and realign the bones.

In most cases, the ankle is put into a cast or splint for up to six weeks and you may need to use crutches to keep weight off the joint. Mr Heidari may also suggest that you follow a tailored rehabilitation programme with a member of our physiotherapy team.

This information is written as a guide to your treatment but it is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Please contact us for advice if you are worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.