The ankle joint is made up of three bones that meet– the tibia, fibula, and talus – and together, they have major responsibilities. They not only support you, but also help you move side-to-side and jump up-and-down. Talk about a stressful job! Sometimes, too much stress is placed upon these bones, causing one or more of them to give way and break. An ankle fracture like this can put an active life on hold and lead to further issues if the injury does not heal correctly. It’s vital for you get the help you need to treat your broken ankle, recover, and return to the lifestyle you love!

What’s to Blame for a Broken Ankle?

The causes of fractured ankle bones are typically blunt forces such as those sustained while playing sports or involvement in car accidents. However, severely sprained ankles that over-extend the ligaments holding the joint together can concurrently cause the bones of the joint to break as well. Regardless of how the bones are fractured, symptoms include severe pain, inability to bear weight, swelling, bruising, and sometimes even deformity if the break is displaced or open, meaning the bones do not line up properly or have broken through the skin. Only an X-ray can confirm the severity of the injury, so it is essential to seek medical help to ensure proper treatment and healing. Bones that heal incorrectly put you at risk for future problems, including chronic instability and recurring injury.

Ankle Fracture First Aid

Although a visit to our office is necessary, there are steps you can take at home to ease your discomfort in the meantime. The RICE regimen -- rest, ice, compression, and elevation -- will reduce inflammation and pain. Anti-inflammatory medications will help ease symptoms as well. Once you visit us and your diagnosis is determined and treatment has begun, you can expect to wear a cast to keep the bones in place while they heal. If the fracture is displaced or open, surgery is likely necessary to set the bones in proper position prior to casting. You will need to keep weight off the injury by using crutches or a scooter. The time it takes to recover from a broken ankle varies depending on a number of factors, including age, lifestyle, severity of the injury, and how closely you follow at-home care instructions. Typically, though, you can expect the injury to take 4 – 8 weeks, followed by physical therapy to restore strength, range of motion, flexibility, and function.

Broken Ankle Busters

While you can’t always avoid injuries, you can take steps to protect yourself as much as possible. Gradually build the intensity and duration of fitness routines. Wear supportive, well-fitting shoes that are appropriate for your activity. Be sure to do a proper warm up and regularly stretch to keep ligaments limber – they are your bones’ best friends! Also, eat a healthy diet rich in vitamin D which helps bone strength. If you have had trouble with sprains or have fractured your ankle in the past, it’s a good idea to wear an ankle brace to support your ankle joint and make it less vulnerable to re-injury.

Help for Proper Healing

If you suspect you have an ankle fracture, come in to see us as soon as possible so we can ensure you get the treatment you need and your injury heals correctly. Call (713) 493-7372 for an appointment at our Houston, TX office, or use our online contact form to reach us.