San Francisco Podiatry – Ankle Fracture
Ankle fractures are common injuries involving a full or partial bone break in the ankle, tibia or fibula. Rolling the ankle is the most common cause, and the injury can be as small as a little piece of bone chipping off or as large as a shattering break. Fractures are often accompanied by pain and swelling anywhere from the knee to the foot, bruising, blisters, significant change in the ankle’s appearance and inability to walk. With especially bad breaks the bone may protrude through the skin and requires immediate attention to both prevent infection and reset the bone.
Until the ankle can be examined by a specialist or by Emergency Room personnel, this injury should be cared for with rest, ice, compression and elevation – or the R.I.C.E. method. Ice should not rest directly on skin, an elastic bandage can provide pressure and the ankle should be elevated at or above hip level. A doctor will examine the injury, possibly order X-rays and then determine the level of intervention necessary for repair. Possible treatments include splinting or casting for immobilization, pain or anti-inflammatory medication or surgery to repair the break and other affected areas. Full recovery requires following physician instructions carefully. Neglecting this injury can lead to serious infection, chronic pain, arthritis and deformity.