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Ankle Fracture

(Broken Ankle)

Definition

An ankle fracture is a break of a bone in the ankle joint. The joint is made up of three bones:
The ankle joint is supported by three groups of ligaments. An injury that causes a fracture may also damage one or more of these ligaments.
Ankle Fracture
ankle fracture
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Causes

An ankle fracture can occur when the joint is forced beyond its normal range of motion. It can also be caused by a direct blow to the bone itself. Any form of ankle trauma may cause injury, including:

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chances of getting an ankle fracture include:

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms, physical activity, and how the injury occurred. An examination of the injured area will be done.
Images may be taken of your ankle. This can be done with x-rays. If additional details are needed, other images may be done, such as a CT scan or an MRI scan.

Treatment

Treatment will depend on the severity of the injury. Treatment includes:
Devices that may be used to hold the bone in place while it heals include:
Your doctor may prescribe pain medication. More x-rays will be ordered while the bone heals to ensure that the bones have not shifted position.

Exercises

When your doctor decides you are ready, start range-of-motion and strengthening exercises. You may be referred to a physical therapist to help you with these exercises. Do not return to sports activity until your doctor says your ankle is fully healed. You will need near-normal motion and muscle strength.

Healing Time

It takes at least 6-8 weeks for even a simple ankle fracture to heal. It will be several months before you can return to intense physical activity.

Prevention

To help prevent ankle fractures:

RESOURCES

American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society http://www.aofas.org

Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.aaos.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

British Columbia Podiatric Medical Association http://www.foothealth.ca

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org

References

Ankle fracture. American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society website. Available at: http://www.aofas.org/footcaremd/conditions/ailments-of-the-ankle/Pages/Ankle-Fracture.aspx . Accessed August 20, 2014.

Ankle fractures (broken ankle). Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00391. Updated March 2013. Accessed August 20, 2014.

Chaudhry S, Egol KA. Ankle injuries and fractures in the obese patient. Orthop Clin North Am. 2011;42(1):45-53.

Scott AM. Diagnosis and treatment of ankle fractures. Radiol Technol. 2010;81(5):457-475.

9/10/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Mosher TJ, Kransdorf MJ, et al. ACR Appropriateness Criteria acute trauma to the ankle online publication]. Reston (VA): American College of Radiology (ACR);2014. 10 p. Available at: http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=48284#Section420. Accessed September 10, 2014.

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