A broken ankle is a very common injury and is usually treated in A&E after a traumatic injury.
But broken ankles can be more complex than a simple break, affecting other structures and potentially causing displacement of bones, leading to ongoing problems such as arthritis.
At Capital Orthopaedics, our consultant orthopaedic surgeons specialise in providing a thorough assessment of your ankle condition, using state of the art diagnostic equipment. We offer physiotherapy and minimally invasive treatments to ensure a fast recovery with resilience against future injuries.
Contact us to make an appointment for fast, effective treatment of a fractured ankle or any other ankle conditions.
Your ankle joint is made up of the tibia (shin bone), the fibula (slim calf bone that connects to the outside of your ankle joint) and the talus (bone in the middle of your ankle).
Ankle bones are usually fractured as a result of a traumatic injury, causing immediate pain and swelling, often accompanied by bruising and instability.
The most common cause of an ankle fracture is a twisting injury – rolling over on your ankle can cause a break at the base of the fibular or the tibia.
An ankle fracture can also be the result of an impact, often seen in contact sports or in a car accident.
Fractured ankle symptoms may include any of the following:
The type and severity of an ankle break depends on the amount of force that caused it. Displaced fractures – where the bones have been forced out of place – usually require immediate surgical intervention, while undisplaced fractures may often be treated non-surgically. Other factors, such as damage to ligaments and tendons, can impact your treatment.
Most ankle breaks involve damage to other structures, particularly ligaments, which can get stretched, torn or pulled out of their anchor points in the bone.
Many simple ankle breaks can be treated conservatively, using a cast for 4-6 weeks, followed by physiotherapy to build up strength and support damaged ligaments, tendons and other soft tissue as they heal.
More complex fractures and those with related ankle damage, such as a ruptured ligament, may require surgery. Surgery is almost always required in the following cases:
Ankle fractures are not always straightforward, especially if you have been involved in a collision or fall from height. Even a rolled ankle can lead to ongoing ankle pain if not treated properly.
Our team, led by orthopaedic surgeon Simon Moyes, has decades of experience in diagnosing and treating all types of ankle fracture and ankle injury.
Contact us to book an appointment and get on the road to recovery after an ankle fracture.
Repetitive impact, injury or ageing can lead to damage to the surfaces of your bones. The smooth cartilage coating can wear away or get torn – and the exposed bones begin to degenerate. As your bones try to heal, they can also form lumps called bone spurs. Osteoarthritis in your ankle leads to soft tissue damage, pain, swelling and instability as the muscles around it weaken.
Pain in the back of your ankle may be caused by soft tissue getting pinched between the bones as you point your toes. It’s common in ballet dancers, footballers, gymnasts and fast bowlers, but can also be the result of a sprain or chronic ankle instability. In some cases, it can be treated conservatively; bone spurs and thickened tissues may require surgery.
The tendon that runs under the bony lump on the outside of your ankle can get displaced – particularly after a sprain. This can lead to pain and swelling, along with instability. Physiotherapy to build up the muscles and improve stability can solve the problem. Arthroscopic surgery is often needed to fix the tendon back in place.
A sprained ankle can usually be treated with physiotherapy to build up strength while the torn ligament heals. Serious tears, chronic ankle instability, or those associated with other conditions may need surgery to repair ligaments, the smooth damaged bone and stabilise your ankle.
The tendon that attaches your calf muscle to your heel bone (calcaneus) can get torn as a result of a forceful action – such as sprinting from standing, or jumping without warming up – or suffer microtears as a result of repeated stress. Some Achilles tendon injuries can be treated non-surgically, while complete ruptures can be repaired using minimally invasive surgery.
All ankle fractures require some sort of treatment – whether a cast or walking boot to support it while the bones heal (usually 6 week), or surgical treatment to realign bones and repair damaged tissue in your broken ankle. Physiotherapy is vital for regaining strength, flexibility and resistance to further injuries.
The rule of thumb is usually: if you can’t weight bear after an ankle injury, you should seek medical advice. However, it is possible to weight bear after a break, and it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis to prevent further damage to your ankle – which may involve an x-ray, CT scan and/or MRI scan. If you have rolled your ankle and are worried about symptoms of severe pain, bruising and swelling, you should always consult a doctor.
Surgery is only recommended for treating an ankle fracture if there are complications, such as torn ligaments, multiple fractures or displaced bones.
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