If you’ve ever had a fractured ankle, you know how painful it is and how long it takes to heal. There are different types of fractures in the ankle, each requiring a different treatment and recovery time. Here is everything you need to know about ankle fractures, from symptoms to when to see a doctor.
If you come down too hard on your ankle, spraining your ankle, your body will let you know. Ankle fractures hurt immediately and quite badly. Often times patients report feeling and even hearing a pop sound. There may also be swelling, bruising, or disfigurement, depending on the types of fractures in the ankle and how you got the injury. Broken ankles are common after ankle sprains, car accidents, jumping off a significant height, or dropping something heavy on your foot.
What is the difference between ankle fractures and sprains? It can be difficult to tell the difference without a medical professional diagnosis. This is why it is important to seek medical care for any type of ankle injury that prevents you from walking.
If the ligaments in your ankle have torn, you have sprained your ankle. This injury has many of the same symptoms as a fractured ankle but does not usually take as long to heal. A break in one of your ankle bones is a fracture. Three bones make up the ankle: the tibia, fibula, and talus. Breaks in different bones cause different injuries. The types of fractures in the ankle are:
Treating your ankle at home for a few days is not an unreasonable response to an injury. Rest, ice, and elevate your foot. If your ankle is not feeling better after a couple of days or if the pain is unbearable even while resting, you probably have a fractured ankle and need to be seen.
When you visit a doctor with a possible fractured ankle, they will check the foot both physically and with x-rays and other scans. Ankle fractures need to be immobilized, which usually involves a cast. Severe ankle fractures, such as those where multiple bones are broken, may require surgery to realign the bones before the cast goes on.
IMPORTANT: If there is any concern that you might have a fracture, it is very important to be seen and evaluated soon after your injury, because in the event that surgical correction must be performed, having surgery within a specific time frame is important to achieve optimal results.
Once your ankle is healed and the cast is removed, you will likely need physical therapy to get the full range of motion back in your ankle. Your doctor may send you to a physical therapist or give you exercises and stretches to do at home.
For all types of fractures in the ankle, turn to Diablo Foot and Ankle for treatment. Call today to schedule an appointment.