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Best Approaches to Broken Ankle Treatment

August 18, 2023

Proper diagnosis is needed to provide accurate, broken ankle treatment to individuals. Ankle injuries are the most prevalent type of bone and joint injury. Often, the degree of discomfort, incapacity to walk, or fear that a bone has been shattered prompts you to seek emergency care. However, it is essential to note that not all ankle injuries require immediate medical attention. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) can help alleviate pain and swelling in some situations. Consulting a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is always advisable. 

broken ankle injury during exercise

Your main concern is the same as the doctor's: Is there a broken bone? Without ankle X-rays, distinguishing between a fracture (broken bone) and a sprain, dislocation, or tendon injury is often impossible. Ankle X-rays are critical for assessing the degree of an injury and making an accurate diagnosis and broken ankle treatment. Depending on the severity of the injury, a healthcare practitioner can prescribe the best course of treatment, which could include immobilization, physical therapy, or surgery. 

Causes of Ankle Fracture

An ankle joint is injured when it is stressed beyond the strength of its parts. Sprained ankle occurs when only the ligaments give way and tear. An ankle fracture occurs when a bone loses way and breaks.

Fractures can develop in conjunction with ligament rips. When too much force is applied to the ankle, it breaks. The most common causes are:

Falls and slips. Losing your equilibrium might cause you to trip and fall, putting too much weight on your ankle. This can happen if you walk on an uneven surface, wear ill-fitting shoes, or wander around in the dark. High-impact exercises or rapid movements can cause excessive stress on the ankle joint, resulting in a break. To limit the incidence of ankle fractures, it is critical to take preventative steps and wear suitable protective gear when participating in strenuous activities. 

Significant impact. A broken ankle treatment might be needed if a situation arise from the force of a jump or fall. Even if you jump from a short height, this can happen. The extremity of a broken ankle depends on the force of the impact. A slight fracture may occur in certain circumstances, while the ankle may be destroyed in others. As a result, it is critical to be vigilant and take the required steps to avoid any potential mishaps or injuries. 

Missteps. If you place your foot incorrectly, you risk breaking your ankle. It may twist or roll to the side as you put weight on your ankle. This can cause your ankle bones to fracture or dislocate. In addition, high-impact activities such as sports or jumping from great heights might increase the likelihood of a mishap and subsequent ankle injury. To reduce the danger of a broken ankle, it is critical to exhibit caution and employ good technique when participating in these sports. 

broken ankle treatment for patients

Sports. High-impact sports involve intense movements that stress the joints, including the ankle. Examples of high-impact sports include soccer, football, and basketball. These sports frequently entail abrupt changes in direction, rapid accelerations, and jumping, which can place undue strain on the ankle joint. To lessen the risk of an ankle injury, it is critical to wear appropriate footwear with excellent ankle support and to warm up properly before indulging in these activities. 

Car accidents. A car accident's sudden, hard impact might result in shattered ankles. These injuries frequently necessitate surgical treatment. To reduce the risk of car accidents, it is vital to practice safe driving behaviors, follow traffic rules, wear appropriate footwear, and warm up correctly. However, if a car accident occurs and an ankle injury is inflicted, it is critical to seek prompt medical assistance to ensure appropriate diagnosis and treatment. 

Overuse. A stress fracture, a microscopic split in the bone, can be caused by repetitive strain or damage to the ankle. This is a common injury among runners and other athletes. Listening to your body and allowing enough rest and recovery time is critical to avoid overuse problems. Wearing supportive footwear and employing orthotics can also help lower the risk of stress fractures in the ankle. 

Trauma. Crush damage and fracture can result from an intense impact on the ankle. A significant object falling on the foot or heavy machinery running over the ankle could cause this. Ankle injuries can occur due to rapid twists or rolls of the ankle and trauma. These injuries can happen when participating in sports such as running, leaping, or even walking on uneven surfaces. 

Direct trauma, such as a fall or impact during sports activities, is another prevalent cause of ankle fractures. Fractures can also occur due to underlying disorders such as osteoporosis, which weakens bones and makes them more prone to breaking. 

Broken Ankle Treatment Diagnosis

Your doctor will inspect your ankle to look for sensitive spots. The particular location of your pain might aid in determining its origin.

Your doctor may move your foot into various positions to assess your range of motion. Your doctor may ask you to walk for a short distance so that he or she can assess your gait. 

Based on the results of these physical examinations, your doctor may also order additional tests such as X-rays or MRI scans to further evaluate the condition of your ankle. These diagnostic tests can provide more detailed information about potential fractures, ligament tears, or other underlying conditions that may be causing your pain and affecting your mobility. 

Your doctor might suggest one or more imaging tests listed below if your symptoms and signs point to a break or fracture.

X-rays. X-rays can show the majority of ankle fractures. The technician may need to take X-rays from several angles to ensure that the bone pictures do not overlap too much. Stress fractures frequently do not show up on X-rays until the break begins to mend.

diagnosis for proper broken ankle treatment

Scan of the bones. A bone scan can assist your doctor in diagnosing fractures that are not visible on X-rays. The doctor will inject a small amount of radioactive material into a vein. The radioactive material is drawn to your bones, particularly the damaged areas of your bones. Damaged areas, such as stress fractures, appear as bright spots in the final image. A bone scan helps detect and diagnose stress fractures that X-rays may miss. In contrast to X-rays, which simply show the structure of the bones, a bone scan can disclose the extent of damage and pinpoint specific locations that require care. The scan shows any abnormalities in your bones by infusing a small amount of radioactive material into your bloodstream, allowing your doctor to accurately identify and treat your illness. 

Computed Tomography Scans. CT scans X-rays from various angles and combines them to create cross-sectional images of your body's internal structures. CT scans can give more information about the injured bone and the surrounding soft tissues. A CT scan may assist your doctor in determining the best course of treatment for your broken ankle.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) creates incredibly detailed images of the ligaments holding your ankle together using radio waves and a strong magnetic field. This imaging aids in identifying fractures and ligaments that are not visible on X-rays.

Conclusion

Ankle fracture treatment is determined by factors such as the number of shattered ankle bones. Although not all broken ankles necessitate surgery, all broken ankles need some level of care to heal.

If you have a stress fracture, you probably won't need surgery. A brace or cast may be required to support your ankle while it heals. More severe ankle fractures necessitate reduction or surgery.

Reduction is how healthcare personnel adjust your ankle to align the ends of your shattered bones. 

© 2024, John Hibbitts, M.D. All Rights Reserved.