Fractured Ankle: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment, Recovery

A broken or fractured ankle is a serious debilitating injury and one that can leave you unable to walk without the assistance of some type of aid for up to three months or possibly more.

Making sure you know enough about your injury ensures that you are receiving the best treatment and it is a good way of making sure you make a swift and full recovery having suffered a fractured ankle.

This guide to broken ankle injuries provides details on how these injuries are commonly caused with detailed information on how a fractured ankle is diagnosed and treated. To find out more and to see if you would qualify for free private broken ankle treatment and free physiotherapy fractured ankle aftercare, please click on the Select a Section below.

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What is a Fractured Ankle?

Fractured ankle

Fractured ankle

Fractured ankle symptoms vary on the seriousness and complexity of the injury. Minor fractures or avulsion injuries affect only smaller bones in the ankle. Whilst more serious broken ankle injuries involve a fracture of the fibula, tibia or even both.

If you have suffered a fractured ankle and would like to know whether you qualify for treatment and aftercare in your area, please get in touch today.

Fractured Ankle Key Facts

If you look at a number of broken ankle pictures, one thing you notice is that some fractures look far worse than others. This is because this kind of injury can be minor, sometimes going unnoticed, to extremely severe. With this said, a fractured ankle is a very common injury and each year, approximately 5 million visits to a hospital are recorded as being related to ankle injuries, and of these, around 700,000 are full-blown ankle fractures.

As you walk, you place up to one and a half times your body weight on each foot. Even a person who leads a fairly sedentary lifestyle walks around 1000 miles every year. A sportsman’s ankles absorbs up to a million pounds of pressure during a single hour of intensive exercise. No other joint in the human body works as hard as the ankle.

The ankle bone or talus joins with the two bones of the lower leg, the fibula and tibia, and this joint is supported by three separate sets of ligaments. A very simple joint, and one which as we have seen, works very hard. This makes it a very easy for you to suffer a fractured ankle.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Fractured Ankle?

Fractured ankle symptoms vary greatly depending on the severity of the injury. Furthermore, there can be some confusion over broken ankle symptoms vs sprain injury symptoms, as some symptoms are common to both types of injuries. Typical symptoms of a broken ankle are as follows:

  • Significant pain on or close to the ankle joint, and tenderness of the surrounding area
  • Heavy discolouration and bruising of the ankle or the surrounding tissue, as well as swelling from mild to extreme
  • Extreme discomfort when moving the foot, or when trying to put weight on it
  • The ankle is bent at an odd angle, for example, the foot is twisted to the left or right, or tilted too far down
  • There was a snapping noise, or a grinding sensation when the injury occurred
  • There may be bleeding close to the ankle if the fracture was serious enough to force a bone out through the skin
  • Many people will exhibit some or all of the symptoms of shock including feeling faint, dizziness and nausea

Because it can be so easy to confuse a minor ankle fracture with a sprain, it is always best to seek medical attention even if you feel you are sure you have only sprained your ankle.

What Are the Most Common Causes of a Fractured Ankle?

As previously mentioned, fractured ankle injuries are common. They are caused by a wide range of accidents with the most common being as follows:

  • Road traffic accidents – especially those which involve a motorcyclist or cyclist
  • Slips, trips and falls –the ankle takes all the strain while walking and is extremely vulnerable when you slip, trip and fall
  • High impact – usually the result of a heavy weight being dropped onto your foot
  • Missed steps – even something as simple as getting your footing wrong, without falling can cause an ankle fracture
  • Stress – consistently stress on your ankle can lead to a serious injury including a fractured ankle

On top of the accidental causes that result in a fractured ankle, some people put themselves at a far greater risk as follows:

  • Suddenly increasing your level of exercise – a harder exercise regime after long periods of very little exercise, can result in damage being done to your ankle
  • Participating in hard contact sports – football, rugby, tennis or hockey are all sporting activities that put you more at risk of suffering a fractured ankle
  • Using improper or badly maintained sports equipment – using faulty or even improper sports equipment can result in serious injury which includes fracturing your ankle
  • Accidents in the workplace – some working environments like an industrial facility, a factory or a construction site puts you at greater risk of sustaining an injury to your ankle

These are just a few ways that you could sustain a fractured ankle, but there are many more. If you have suffered an injury to your ankle and would like to know if you qualify for a free medical assessment of your broken bone report, please get in touch today.

How to Get a Free Expert Orthopaedic Assessment for Your Broken Bone Report

If you have suffered a fractured ankle, it is important to know you are receiving the very best treatment with the end goal being to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.

Ankle joint

Ankle joint

You would receive a broken bone report from the hospital or medical facility that treated you, but you may be entitled to a free expert orthopaedic assessment of the report. In many cases, we can help this for you, just give us a call and we can tell you whether you qualify for this service in your area.

How is a Fractured Ankle Treated?

Once you receive an ankle fracture classification of your injury, a doctor would then assess the damage and complexity of the injury before deciding on a treatment. A minor fracture would be treated differently to a more serious and complex break.

Initial ankle fracture treatment is as follows:

  • You will be administered painkillers
  • Your injury would be immobilised to prevent further damage
  • X-rays would determine the extent and severity of your ankle fracture
  • CT scan and a MRI scan may be needed to establish which bones are fractured

Treatment for minor ankle fractures is detailed below:

  • If the swelling around the ankle is not too severe, a supportive boot, splint or cast will be fitted. If the swelling is extensive, the doctor may decide to wait and let the swelling go down before they fit the cast. The cast itself may be the older style plaster cast, but more commonly it will be a modern fibreglass type
  • If your doctor believes it is safe for you to put a little weight on your ankle once it is protected by a cast, you may be given crutches or a walking frame to help you get around

You will be given enough painkillers to see you through until your follow-up visit to the hospital and instructions on how to care for your cast.

Treatment for serious ankle fractures is detailed below:

  • For a serious fractured ankle, the bones may need to be put back into place so that they mend correctly which would be done under local anaesthetic
  • You may need to undergo surgery to put displaced bones back into position which would be done under general anaesthetic. Plates, screws and rods are used to keep bones in place during the healing process

What Free Private Treatment Can I Qualify For?

You may qualify for free private fractured ankle treatment depending on where you live. This free private treatment can help you recover sooner and ensures you receive the best treatment possible. Call us today to find out if you are eligible for free private treatment for your fractured ankle.

Is There Any Other Good Treatment I Can Get for Free?

You may be entitled to claim a number of free medical aids to assist in your recovery from a fractured ankle. For example, a free fractured ankle brace or free crutches to help you get about. Contact us today and we can tell you in minutes whether you qualify for any free medical aids that would help you get back on your feet sooner rather than later.

How Long Does a Fractured Ankle Take to Heal?

Fractured ankle recovery time depends on the complexity and severity of your injury. Typically, it takes around six weeks before the cast is ready to come off, but it can be longer, sometimes up to 12 weeks or even more. Below, we have given some broken ankle recovery tips which if followed, will help to speed up your recovery.

  • Make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions with regard to how much weight you can put on your ankle. If you are on crutches, a doctor will usually advise that you don’t attempt to walk unless you really have to
  • Keep walking and moving around to a minimum.
  • To shorten your fractured ankle recovery time don’t do anything which could further damage your ankle. This includes putting any heavy weight on your damaged leg
  • Take care of your cast, especially if it is the older plaster type. Keep your cast dry at all times and make sure your leg is supported whenever you can
  • An ankle brace or cast will partially immobilise your whole leg. Be sure to exercise that leg gently and regularly. Stretching the upper leg muscles and wiggling the toes will stop your leg from stiffening up
  • For serious fractures, especially those that required broken ankle surgery, be sure to keep an eye on your ankle. If the skin starts to change colour, or you experience strange sensations such as pins and needles, or if the flesh becomes red and inflamed hinting at infection, you must contact your doctor without delay
  • Once you are well on the road to recovery, ask your doctor if you can walk on a fractured ankle? It is likely that after several weeks, your doctor will encourage you to start walking a little more each day
  • When your cast is finally cut off, your leg will be much weaker than it was before the injury with muscle wastage being an issue. It may take several more weeks to build up the strength in your leg again

How Can I Recover Safer and Possibly Faster?

You may find that you qualify for free private physio aftercare for a fractured ankle in your area which would speed up your recovery safely. You may also be entitled to other treatments and medical aids, call us today to find in minutes what you may be entitled to receive in your area.

What are the Possible Complications with a Fractured Ankle?

With a broken ankle in cast there is always a risk, however minor, that complications might occur. Although your broken ankle x-ray should have shown the doctor everything about your injury, something may have been missed that leads to a complication further down the line. Pain and swelling are the most common complications with a broken ankle during the healing process. As are general stiffness in the foot and the ankle once the injury has healed.

More serious complications include the following:

  • Incorrect healing – when the ankle bones knit back together in the wrong Although doctors do try resetting the bones before they apply a cast, sometimes they shift afterwards, leading to a badly mended break
  • Infection – especially common with ankle fractures that required corrective surgery or injuries caused by trauma that resulted in an open cut or gash
  • Nerve injuries – sometimes long-lasting nerve damage is caused by the fracture which can lead to a loss of feeling and numbness, or other sensation such as pins and needles and tingling in the foot or toes
  • Lack of blood flow – this is called Compartment Syndrome and is caused by a cast or brace being too tight and restricting blood flow to the leg, ankle and foot. This can cause a significant level of pain, it can also result in long-term damage to your foot

Do You Think Your Doctor Might Have Missed Something About Your Injury?

Although a break in ankle bones should be easy to spot in a fractured ankle x-ray, sometimes doctors miss things. NHS doctors are overworked in a stressful environment and mistakes are often made despite their best intentions. The more you know about your injury and the way it should be treated, the better equipped you are to make sure you are receiving the correct treatment. The links at the bottom of the page provide essential information on fractured ankles.

However, if you are unhappy with a diagnosis and treatment for your fractured ankle, you may qualify for a free orthopaedic assessment of your broken bone report. To find out in minutes whether you are entitled to a free report, please contact us today.

Are There Any Long-Term Health Issues Caused by a Fractured Ankle?

The major long-term health issues associated with a fractured ankle are as follows:

  • Arthritis in later life
  • A weaker ankle
  • Osteoarthritis

Contact Us to Find Out if You Qualify for Free Private Treatment

You may be eligible to claim free private medical treatment or support for your fractured ankle. This could be a pair of crutches, or access to the professional opinion of a private doctor who would assess your orthopaedic broken bone report. You may qualify for free private physiotherapy broken ankle aftercare. To find out in minutes, please get in touch today.

Useful links

To find out more about fractured ankles please follow the link below:

NHS – Fracture Ankle Information

If you are unsure where the closest Accident and Emergency department is, please click on the link below:

Find Your Closest Accident & Emergency Department

To find out more about physiotherapy for a fractured ankle and how it can aid a speedy recovery, please follow the link below:

A Guide to Physiotherapy