Ankle (malleolus) fracture

Updated on 23 May 2024

Ankle (malleolus) fracture

When the foot is twisted significantly inward or outward, it results in an ankle fracture.

This injury not only produces severe pain, but it also has the potential to damage other important portions of the foot and leg.

As a result, it frequently needs more comprehensive medical care.

Let’s look at the many forms of ankle fractures, as well as how to treat them and what first-aid measures to take.

Malleolar fracture symptoms

Many ligaments span the ankle, and they play a crucial role in walking propulsion and balance.

These ligaments, which create a “ring,” are, nevertheless, susceptible to stress that might result in fractures.

These ligament components also play a key role in determining the type of fracture that has to be treated.

Ankle fractures are usually divided into two categories:

  • The stable fracture: This is a type of injury that affects no more than two ligaments and may be treated more conventionally.
  • The unstable fracture: This is an injury in which more than two ligaments are badly damaged or torn. This sort of fracture sometimes needs more extensive treatment, such as foot surgery.

The symptoms of these two categories of ankle fractures are identical, despite the fact that they require distinct treatments.

The following symptoms generally suggest a fractured ankle:

  • Extremely intense pain, particularly in the medial or lateral malleolus (bony growth) region;
  • Putting weight on the foot without discomfort is nearly impossible;
  • The ankle and foot are enlarged significantly;
  • Skin discoloration that progresses from red to purple;
  • The joint appears swollen;
  • The ankle is no longer on its normal axis in more severe instances.

To decrease the risk of problems, it is critical to see a health care provider after identifying symptoms.

Diagnosing an ankle fracture

Because the ankle is such a complex musculoskeletal structure, it’s crucial to figure out what other parts of the foot were involved in the accident.

To do so, the podiatrist usually conducts the following tests:

Causes and aggravating factors

The majority of foot fractures develop as a result of excessive force being applied to the foot.

This guideline applies to ankle fractures as well.

Excessive twisting or forcibly pushing the foot up or down might result in an ankle fracture.

While most people are vulnerable to this sort of damage, there are several variables that might make it more likely.

Here are some examples:

  • Playing a sport such as soccer or basketball;
  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes;
  • Frequent use of high-heeled shoes that do not support the feet properly.

First aid

When signs indicate an ankle fracture and medical treatment isn’t available right away, the R.I.C.E. procedure is the best option.

  • Rest: To minimize more discomfort, it’s best to cease doing anything.
  • Immobilization: Putting weight on the injured area can aggravate the discomfort and perhaps exacerbate the damage.
  • Cold: A cold compress can be given to the foot for 10 minutes every hour to help reduce inflammation.
  • Elevate the foot: To minimize severe swelling, elevate the foot on a chair or cushion above heart level.

Typically, a health expert should manage the fracture to verify that it hasn’t had any additional negative effects on the body.

Medical treatments

The podiatrist will use the proper treatment procedures after determining the nature of the injury to the ankle and foot as a whole.

The following treatments may be available:

  • Casting: This keeps the fractured bones in place and protects the foot in case of an impact. It does, however, need the use of crutches or other walking aids.
  • A splint or walking boot: A splint or walking boot, like a cast, serves to support the foot while it heals.
  • Prescription painkillers: When used in moderation, these drugs can help make foot discomfort manageable.
  • Bone surgery: Bone surgery is the most common treatment option for individuals who have an unstable ankle fracture. It strengthens ligaments, realigns bones, and, if required, eliminates bone shards that might cause additional injury.

PiedReseau – Learn more

Are you interested in learning more about malleolar fractures? We frequently write articles on the many types of fractures that can occur in the foot!

However, while the informational section of our website contains useful information, nothing matches a face-to-face consultation with a podiatrist.

Take care of your feet, they’re precious!

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