Ankle injuries are among the most common of the bone and joint injuries. Often, the degree of pain, the inability to walk, may indicate that you have a broken ankle. This might cause you to seek care in an emergency situation.
For the most part, your concern is the same as the doctor’s: Is it a broken ankle? It is often impossible to diagnose a broken ankle rather than a sprain, a dislocation, or tendon injury without X-rays of the ankle.
Signs and symptoms of a broken ankle tend to be obvious. Pain is the most common complaint. Swelling frequently occurs around the ankle too. You may see bruising (“black and blue”) about the joint, although not immediately. This bruising can track down toward the sole of your foot or toward the toes. In severe fractures you may see obvious deformities of bones around the ankle.
When you have a broken ankle, there several things you can look for to determine whether or not you need to see your doctor or go to an emergency department. The following situations warrant seeing your doctor as soon as possible:
- You cannot bear weight on the ankle.
- Your pain remains intolerable despite using over-the-counter pain medications.
- Home care fails to reduce your pain.
When a doctor evaluates your broken ankle, the main task is to determine if you have fractured a bone or if the joint has been damaged sufficiently to have become unstable. Joint instability often suggests multiple fractures, a fracture with a ligament injury, or sometimes ligament injury alone. If the doctor suspects a broken bone, he or she will ask for ankle X-rays and MRI. The doctor may also ask for X-rays or MRI of your knee, shin, or foot, depending on where the pain is.
If surgery is not required, the type of fracture and the stability of your joint will determine the type of splint or cast that will be used and how long it will need to be in place. If your bones are not aligned properly, the doctor may realign them before placing the splint or cast. Some minor broken ankle scenarios do not require a splint or cast. In these cases the fracture will be managed as an ankle sprain.
After the swelling decreases and you are reexamined, foot doctor / podiatrist may place a better-fitting cast or splint on the ankle. Depending on the type of broken ankle, you may be placed in a walking cast, which can bear some weight, or you may still need a non-weight-bearing cast that will require the use of crutches to help you walk. Follow-up care for an ankle fracture depends on the severity of the fracture. The average broken ankle requires 4-8 weeks for the bone to heal.
With our experience at St. Augustine Foot and Ankle we will do everything we can to help with your broken Ankle and get you back to your regular activity. If you suspect you have a broken ankle or are feeling pain in your ankle of any kind please give us a call to set an appointment as soon as possible at (904) 824-0869 or feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org