Ankle fractures (also known as broken ankles) are caused when an excessive force is applied to the ankle to the point where the bone is broken. This can vary from a simple singular break to several breaks. Sometimes one can still walk on a minor fracture but most of the times there is immediate swelling, pain and at times a visible deformity. Some fractures are “stable”, others need surgical intervention.
The integrity of the ankle mortise is crucial to allow full function of the joint. There are different types of ankle fractures and it is relevant to differentiate between stable and unstable fractures. The more severe fractures often need surgical treatment whereas the more simple fractures are often stable and can be treated conservatively.
The aim is to permit weight bearing and mobilisation of the ankle joint as soon as possible to regain good function. In case of a displacement of the fracture, instability of the bones and additional ligament involvement (deltoid or syndesmosis) surgery will be necessary. This means that the bones are reduced in the original position and held with screws or small plates. Recovery will depend on various factors but the focus is on quick mobilisation of the joint to prevent any stiffness. With an experienced support team, full recovery should be achieved in the minimum amount of time.