Treatment for Ankle Fractures

In many cases, an ankle fracture must be set. To set a broken ankle, the physician requests a series of x-rays to determine the nature and position of the fracture and what corrective actions to take. Uncomplicated simple fractures may require little more than carefully refitting the broken bone's ends together. If the wound is displaced, or open, antibiotics are prescribed to prevent infection.

After the ankle is immobilized with a rigid cast, the patient is given a pair of crutches to keep weight off the injured foot. The broken bone gradually heals, and in most cases, the patient can begin light walking and rehabilitative therapy in 8 to 12 weeks.

Simple fractures may require surgery to reset the bone. Surgery can be extensive if the fracture is comminuted (the bone is broken, splintered, or crushed into a number of pieces). Repositioning the fragments can be like fitting together pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Screws, metal plates, pins, or staples may be used to stabilize the pieces in position so healing can progress. The object is to restore the joint as closely as possible to its original configuration.

Publication Review By: Hai-En Peng, D.P.M.

Published: 31 Dec 1999

Last Modified: 01 Sep 2015