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Ankle Fractures (Broken Ankle)

A broken ankle is also known as an ankle "fracture." This means that one or more of the bones that make up the ankle joint are broken.

General Information:

 A fractured ankle can range from a single break in one bone, which may not stop you from walking to several fractures, which forces your ankle out of place and may require that you not put weight on it for a few months.  Simply put, the more bones that are broken, the more unstable the ankle becomes.  There may be ligaments damaged as well.  The ligaments of the ankle hold the ankle bones and joint in position.

 

 Rehabilitation:

Rehabilitation is very important regardless of how an ankle fracture is treated.  When your physician allows you to start moving your ankle, physical therapy and home exercise programs are very important.  During your exercises regularly is key.  Eventually, you will also start doing strengthening exercises.  It may take several months for the muscles around your ankle to get strong enough for you to walk without a limp and to return to your regular activities.  Again, exercises only make a difference if you actually do them.

When can I start putting weight bearing on the ankle?

Your specific fracture determines when you can start putting weight on your ankle.  Your physician will allow you to start putting weight on your ankle when he or she feels your injury is stable enough to do so.  It is very important to not put weight on your ankle until your physician says you can.  If you put weight on the injured ankle too early, the fracture fragments may move or your surgery may fail and you may have to start over.

What is the recommended support during rehabilitation?

It is very common to have several different kinds of things to wear on the injured ankle, depending on the injury.  Initially, most ankle fractures are placed in a splint to protect your ankle and allow for the swelling to go down.  After that, you may be put into a cast or removable brace.  Even after the fracture has healed, your physician may recommend wearing an ankle brace for several months while you are doing sporting activities.