An ankle fracture is a break of a bone in the ankle joint. The joint is made up of three bones:
- Tibia (shin bone) — The main bone of the lower leg that runs along the inside of the leg
- Fibula — The smaller bone of the lower leg that runs along the outside of the leg
- Talus — The bone that provides the connection between the leg and the foot
Ankle fracture locations
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Any form of ankle trauma may cause injury, including:
Broken Ankle Symptoms
Symptoms of a fractured ankle include:
- Immediate pain
- Bruising around the injured area
- Inability to put weight on the injured foot without pain, although some people are able to walk with minor fractures
Treating a Broken Ankle
Treatment will depend on the severity of the injury. Treatment includes:
- Putting the pieces of the bone back into position, which may require anesthesia and/or surgery
- Holding the pieces together while the bone heals itself
Devices that may be used to hold the bone in place while it heals include:
- A cast (may be used with or without surgery)
- A metal plate with screws (requires surgery)
- Screws alone (requires surgery)
- A rod down the middle of the bone (requires surgery)
Your doctor may prescribe pain medication.
Exercises to Strengthen Your Ankle
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 has fully healed.
How Long Does it Take a Broken Ankle to Heal?
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.
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Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.