Ankle Fractures : Types, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

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An ankle fracture or break results in bone damage. A fractured ankle might result from a direct trauma during an automobile accident, a twisting injury from a minor slip or fall, etc. A fractured ankle can range in severity. Small bone fractures to breaks that puncture the skin are all examples of fractures.

ankle fractures

A fractured ankle can range from:

  • A small fracture in one bone that may not prevent you from walking.
  • Several fractures that may necessitate surgery. These kinds of fractures can be quite painful. In certain situations, you may be unable to bear weight on your ankle for several months, limiting your ability to walk, drive, participate in sports, and work.

Although ankle fractures can occur at any age, they are most prevalent in adults; in fact, they are the fourth most common form of fracture in adults.

Depending on the location and extent of the bone fracture, several treatments are required for fractured ankles. For a badly fractured ankle, surgery may be necessary to implant plates, rods, or screws to keep the damaged bone in the right place while it heals.

Anatomy of Ankle

The ankle joint is made up of three bones:

  • Tibia refers to the shinbone.
  • The fibula is a tiny bone in the lower leg.
  • The talus is a tiny bone that connects the heel bone (calcaneus) to the tibia and fibula.

The tibia and fibula contain distinct ankle components:

  • The medial malleolus is a little conspicuous bone near the end of the tibia on the inside side of the ankle.
  • The posterior malleolus is the tibia’s backbone.
  • Lateral malleolus, the conspicuous bone at the end of the fibula on the outside side of the ankle.

Ankle fractures are classified by the region of the bone that is shattered, according to doctors. A lateral malleolus fracture, for example, is a fracture near the end of the fibula; a bimalleolar fracture is one that breaks both the tibia and the fibula.

Ankle fractures include two joints:

  • Ankle joint, the point at where the tibia, fibula, and talus come together.
  • The syndesmosis joint is the ligament-held joint between the tibia and fibula.

Classification of ankle fractures

Ankle fractures are categorized based on how far the bone fragments have migrated from their natural location.

Nondisplaced fracture

A nondisplaced ankle fracture occurs when the bones are not displaced. These fractures don’t necessitate surgery.

Displaced fracture

The shattered bone pieces are separated in a displaced ankle fracture. Breaks in one, two, or three regions are possible, and the ankle joint may be displaced. The majority of ankle fractures with dislocations necessitate surgical intervention.

Open fracture

An open or complicated fracture occurs when the shattered bones break through the skin. An open fracture is a medical emergency that requires immediate surgical treatment. Because an open incision enables outside material, dirt, and debris to pollute the fracture, the risk of infection increases.

Cause of ankle fractures

A rotational injury, in which the ankle becomes twisted, rotated, or rolled while walking or running, such as during sports activity, is the most common cause of a broken ankle. They can, however, be produced by a high-force impact, such as a fall or a car crash.

Traumatic ankle fractures are breaks that occur suddenly during a specific occurrence or accident. However, a bone in the ankle might shatter over time owing to repetitive stress or contact. These are known as stress fractures.

Symptoms of ankle fractures

The following are common signs of a fractured ankle:

  • Acute and severe pain
  • Swelling \ Bruising
  • Tenderness to touch Impossibility of putting any weight on the damaged foot
  • Deformity, particularly if the ankle joint is displaced.
  • Numbness and tingling in the foot (in some cases)

Diagnosis of ankle fractures

Because ankle sprains and fractures have similar symptoms, X-rays are frequently necessary to verify whether there is a fractured bone as opposed to a soft-tissue injury like a sprain. To identify the entire extent of the damage, further radiological imaging, such as a CT scan or MRI, may be required.

If an individual’s imaging reveals that he or she has a broken ankle, he or she should see an orthopedic surgeon as soon as feasible. There are various sorts of ankle breaks, and not all of them need surgery. When they do, however, it is critical that patients have the right surgery from a knowledgeable foot and ankle expert. An improper or badly done procedure may necessitate repeated corrective operations and/or the development of ankle instability, arthritis, or possibly the necessity for an ankle replacement operation years later. The key to long-term ankle joint preservation is early and proper management.

Treatment of ankle fracture

Medial Malleolus Fracture

A medial malleolus fracture is a fracture of the tibia’s lower portion. Medial malleolus fractures can occur alone, however they are more usually linked with fractures in other areas of the ankle.

Nonsurgical Treatment

A short leg cast or walking boot can be used to treat a medial malleolus fracture that is not out of position (nondisplaced). Your doctor may advise you to avoid placing weight on your ankle for a few weeks. X-rays will be taken throughout this period to ensure that the fracture is healing appropriately.

Surgical Treatment

A displaced medial malleolus fracture can be surgically treated with one or two screws. A plate and screws may be necessary if the fracture is significant and extends into the ankle joint.

Lateral Malleolus Fracture

A lateral malleolus fracture is a fibula fracture at the lower end.

Nonsurgical Treatment

A nondisplaced lateral malleolus fracture, like a nondisplaced medial malleolus fracture, is frequently treated with a short leg cast or walking boot. The majority of isolated lateral malleolus fractures are stable enough to bear weight on the ankle.

Surgical Treatment

When a lateral malleolus fracture becomes displaced, surgical treatment is required. A plate and screws are often used to make the repair. Typically, you will need to avoid using your ankle for several weeks following surgery.

Posterior Malleolus Fracture

A posterior malleolus fracture is a tibial fracture in the rear. The majority of posterior malleolus fractures are linked with another injury, generally a lateral malleolus fracture. This is due to ligament attachments between the two bones.

Nonsurgical Treatment

Many posterior malleolus fractures are minor and may not necessitate surgical intervention. Wearing a brief leg cast or a detachable brace may be part of the treatment.

Surgical Treatment

If the fracture is big and out of position, surgical fixation is indicated. The surgical correction is often performed by inserting screws from front to back into the lower tibia.

Bimalleolar Fracture and Bimalleolar Equivalent Fracture

When both the medial and lateral malleolus are shattered, this is referred to as a bimalleolar fracture. Because both sides of the ankle are injured, bimalleolar fractures are typically unstable, and the ankle is commonly dislocated.

Nonsurgical Treatment

A stable bimalleolar fracture can be managed for many weeks with cast immobilization. You cannot place any weight on your ankle during this period. Your doctor will take X-rays while you are in the cast to ensure that the bones do not fall out of position.

Surgical Treatment

Most bimalleolar fractures require surgical correction since there are damage on both sides of the ankle. This is typically accomplished with a plate and screws.

A bimalleolar equivalent fracture occurs when the ligaments on the inside (medial) region of the ankle are damaged yet only one bone breaks. Torn ligaments can cause the lower bone (talus) to shift and the ankle joint to move partially or completely out of position. The treatment entails repositioning the joint and mending the fractured bone.

Trimalleolar Fracture

A trimalleolar fracture is similar to a bimalleolar injury in that the posterior malleolus is damaged as well. These injuries, like bimalleolar fractures, are frequently unstable, and dislocation can ensue.

In a nutshell

The implant used in fibula fracture surgery impacts how well the procedure goes. Zealmax Ortho produces and sells the most reliable orthopedic implants as a consequence, which are extensively utilized in surgery throughout the globe and have a high success rate.

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