What is an Ankle Fracture?

Ankle fractures occur when the ankle joint is stretched beyond limits, and there are one or more breaks in the bone. Your ankle joints are made up of three bones: the tibia, the fibula and the talus which are supported by ligaments to hold them in place. Ankle fractures often resemble ankle sprains so receiving proper diagnosis and treatment is vital to avoid further pain, damage, and instability. If you are experiencing ankle fracture symptoms, schedule a consultation online today with one of our premier podiatrists in South Florida to explore proper ankle fracture treatments.

Types of Ankle Fractures

Talus Fractures: The talus connects the foot and leg to help transfer weight and pressure across the ankle joint. Talus fractures occur when there is a break in the talus bone that forms the ankle.

Pilon Fractures:  Pilon fractures occur when there is a break in the tibia. The tibia, also known as the shin bone, forms the ankle joint with the fibula and tarsus. These fractures usually result in the bone being crushed or split into several pieces.

What Causes Bone Fractures?

Ankle fractures are commonly caused by:

  • Sports injuries
  • Tripping or falling on uneven ground
  • Rolling, twisting or bending your ankle
  • Extreme force or impact during an accident

Signs Of Bone Fractures

Common symptoms of ankle bone fractures include:

  • Blisters
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Inflammation
  • Difficulty walking
  • Bone protruding through the skin
  • Pain and tenderness in the foot and ankle area

Treatments for Ankle Bone Fractures

RICE Method

There is no known cause arthritis but researchers have concluded that an abnormal response in the immune system causes the inflammation and joint damage. More common symptoms of arthritis are:

  • Rest: Avoid walking on the injured ankle to prevent further injury.
  • Ice: Apply ice to the injury for 20-30 minutes continuously three to four times daily throughout the day to reduce swelling.
  • Compression: Apply a dressing, bandage or wrap around the injured ankle to prevent mobility and provide support to the ankle.
  • Elevation: Keep the ankle elevated your heart throughout the first 48 hours of the injury to reduce swelling.


bones and tendons of the foot that can be damaged by bone fractures

Post-Op Physical Therapy for Bone Fractures

A rehabilitation schedule that implements stretches and exercises will catalyze healing and increase mobility. The doctor may recommend that you use crutches or cast-boot to support your ankle and prevent sudden movements that could cause further damage.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can help ease pain and inflammation. Prescription pain killers may be prescribed to provide pain proper relief in severe cases.

Surgical Treatment

Surgical treatment for ankle fractures is reserved for when the fracture has trouble healing after an external reduction (lining up of the bones). Common surgical procedures include: 

  • Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF): Bone fragments are repositioned to their normal alignment and held together by screws, rods or metal plates to prevent abnormal healing.
  • Fixation for ankle syndesmosis: The ends of the tibia and fibula are anchored together with a polyethylene cord to restore original positioning and allow for proper healing.

How to Prevent an Ankle Fracture

Most ankle fractures occur as accidents so there's no immunity from them but preventative measures like proper diet, stretching, footwear and warming up before physical activity can help prevent fractures and improve bone health.

If you are experiencing ankle fracture symptoms, schedule an appointment online or over the phone at 305.853.5151 with one of our premier podiatrists in South Florida to explore the proper ankle fracture treatment for you.

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