An ankle fracture is a break of the ankle bones. It is typically diagnosed by X-ray. Treatment is with either casting or surgery.
Symptoms of an ankle fracture can be similar to those of ankle sprains (pain), though typically they are often more severe by comparison. It is exceedingly rare for the ankle joint to dislocate in the presence of ligamentous injury alone. However, in the setting of an ankle fracture the talus can become unstable and subluxate or dislocate. Patients may complain of ecchymosis (bruising), or there may be an abnormal position, abnormal motion, or lack of motion.
Treatment of ankle fractures is dictated by the stability of the ankle joint. Certain fracture patterns are deemed stable, and may be treated similar to ankle sprains. All other types require surgery, most often an open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), which is usually performed with permanently implanted metal hardware that holds the bones in place while the natural healing process occurs. A cast or splint will be required to immobilize the ankle following surgery.
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