Ankle Fractures (Broken Ankle)
A broken ankle signifies that one or more of the bones that frame the ankle joint is broken.
A fractured ankle may range from a simple break in a bone, which cannot stop you from walking to various fractures, which forces your ankle out of position and can need that you don’t put weight on it for a few months.
Simply put, the more broken bones, the ankle will become more unstable. There can be ligament damage as well. The ankle ligaments hold the ankle bones as well as a joint in their place.
Broken ankles affect persons of all age groups. During the last 30 to 40 years, doctors have noted an increase in the number and seriousness of broken ankles, because of an increase in active older population.
The ankle joint is made up of 3 bones:
- Tibia- shinbone
- Talus- a small bone that sits between the heel bone (calcaneus) and the fibula and tibia
- Fibula-smaller bone of the lower leg
The fibula and tibia have specific parts that make up the ankle:
- Medial malleolus- inside part of the tibia
- Lateral malleolus- end of the fibula
- Posterior malleolus- back part of the tibia
Doctors classify ankle fractures according to the part of the bone that is broken. For example, a fracture at the end of the fibula is known as lateral malleolus fracture, or if both the tibia and fibula are broken, it is known as a bimalleolar fracture.
Two joints are involved in ankle fractures:
- Ankle joint- where the fibula, tibia, and talus meet
- Syndesmosis joint- the joint between the fibula and tibia, which is held together by ligaments
Multiple ligaments facilitate to stabilize the ankle joint.
- Rotating or twisting your ankle
- Impact during a car accident
- Rolling your ankle
- Falling or tripping
Because a severe ankle sprain may feel like a broken ankle, each ankle injury should be evaluated by a physician.
Common symptoms for a broken ankle are:
- Immediate and severe pain
- Tender to touch
- Deformity (“out of place”), specifically if the ankle joint is dislocated as well
- Can’t put any weight on the injured foot
Medical History and Physical Examination
After discussing your symptoms, medical history, and how the injury occurred, your doctor will do a careful examination of your lower leg, foot, and ankle.
If your doctor suspects an ankle fracture, he or she will ask some more tests to offer more information about your injury.
X-rays are the most common as well as broadly available technique of diagnostic imaging. X-rays may show the bone is broken or not and if there is displacement (the gap between broken bones). They may also show how many bone parts there are. X-rays can be taken of the ankle, foot, and leg to ensure nothing else is injured.
Stress test – Depending on the sort of ankle fracture, the doctor can put pressure on the ankle and a special x-ray, known as a stress test. This x-ray is done to see whether certain ankle fractures require surgery. The surgery is done using trauma implants and surgical instruments which are obtained from top orthopedic implants manufacturing company in India.
Computed tomography (CT) scan – This scan may create a cross-section image of the ankle as well as is occasionally done to further assess the ankle injury. It’s especially beneficial when the fracture extends into the ankle joint.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan – These tests offer high-resolution images of both soft tissues such as ligaments and bones. For some ankle fractures, an MRI scan can be done to evaluate the ankle ligaments.