Go to navigation Go to content
Toll-Free: 888-447-0733
Phone: 916-961-3434
McDowell Podiatry
Call Us 916-961-3434
Toll Free 888-447-0733
Fax 916-961-0540

Ankle Fractures – Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

The ankle is one of the most valuable structures when it comes to your mobility and independence. When you suffer from a broken ankle, it Ankle fracturesis important to recognize the symptoms so you can seek the appropriate treatment from our Carmichael, CA podiatric practice. We also want you to understand the various causes and prevention measures so that you can try to avoid the injury in the first place.

Ankle Anatomy

The ankle is comprised of three bones—the tibia, fibula, and talus bones—and multiple ligaments that are necessary to keep the joint stable. The talus sits on the heel bone and supports the tibia and fibula (the lower leg bones). There are actually two different joints in the ankle – the actual ankle joint which enables you to move your foot up and down, and the subtalar joint, which allows for side-to-side motion.

Types and Causes of Fractures

When you suffer a fractured ankle, there are generally two root causes – your injury resulted from either physical trauma or stress. Physical trauma includes such events as a car accident, tripping or falling, or even a severe twist of the ankle. Stress fractures, on the other hand, develop on account of overuse or repetitive forces, such as those sustained during long-distance runs.

Symptoms of a Broken Ankle

When you break your ankle as the result of a traumatic event, the immediate sign is intense pain. If the fracture was severe, and bone has been displaced, your ankle may appear to be deformed in relation to its normal appearance. The area will be tender to the touch and bruising and swelling will begin to take place. It is highly likely that you will not be able to place weight on the injured area.

If you have suffered from a stress fracture, the pain will have a gradual onset and be particularly prevalent following physical activity. Afterwards, or with rest, the pain will begin to subside. In a similar manner to a traumatic event, there will be tenderness in the area and possibly even difficulty with bearing weight.

Treatment for Ankle Fractures

The nature of the treatment and care for an ankle fracture depends on the extent of the injury. In mild cases, particularly with stress fractures, you may simply need some time off from physical activity. Ice and pain-relievers will also help while your body heals itself. In other cases, the area may need to be immobilized with a cast or brace and weight kept off it for up to 6 weeks. If your ankle is unstable or the fracture forces the bones out of alignment, then surgery may be required.

Prevention Measures

Stress fractures are more easily prevented than those caused by trauma, but there are still measures you can take to help decrease your risk of injury. These include:

  • Wear proper footwear. If you are hiking on rough terrain, choose hiking boots or shoes that fit well. If your job entails moving heavy items, opt for protective footwear.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Your bones rely on getting the proper nutrients for optimal strength. Include calcium-rich foods and vitamin D supplements into your diet. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are great sources for bone health.
  • Be aware of your environment. Use night lights and keep clutter off your floor to decrease your odds of tripping, falling, and breaking your ankle (or any other bones).

Given that stress fractures are often caused by overuse and repetitive forces, ease into any new workout program or gradually increase levels of duration or intensity. Cross-train by using low-impact exercises to decrease stressful forces on your feet and ankles.

Top Podiatric Care in Carmichael, CA

When you experience pain or discomfort in your feet or ankles—whether as the result of a fracture or any of the other possible conditions—you can trust McDowell Podiatry Group to provide the expert care and treatment you need. Our office is staffed with caring professionals who are ready to help restore your feet to a healthy, normal state. Contact us today by calling (916) 961-3434 or using our online form to schedule your appointment with our Carmichael, CA practice.

Photo credit: Ventrilock via freedigitalphotos.net

Dr. Brian McDowell
Dr. Brian McDowell, board-certified podiatrist, provides cutting-edge foot and ankle care in Carmichael, CA.