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Ankle and Foot Fractures

Ankle and foot fractures occur when one or more of the bones in the foot or ankle break. Fractures can range from tiny stress fractures to breaks that pierce your skin. The more bones that are broken, the more painful and unstable your foot and ankle will be.

What causes it?

Ankle and foot fractures can happen to anyone at any age. They’re often the result of an injury that happens by:

  • Twisting or rotating your ankle
  • Rolling your ankle
  • Tripping or falling
  • Dropping something on your foot
  • Impact during a car accident

How do you know you have it?

A severe ankle sprain can feel the same as a broken ankle, so every ankle injury should be evaluated by your Orthopedic and Sports Institute. Symptoms include:

  • Immediate and severe pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tender to touch
  • Cannot put any weight on the injured foot
  • Deformity (“out of place”), particularly if the ankle joint is dislocated as well
  • Particularly with foot fractures, pain that increases with activity and decreases with rest

How we fix 

The OSI foot and ankle team is here to listen, discuss your concerns, and examine you for signs and symptoms of an ankle or foot fracture. Our goal is to have you back on your feet, pain free, enjoying the activities you love. While you’re under our expert care, you may undergo the following to determine the best course of care:

  • Physical exam: Your doctor will check for points of tenderness in your foot or ankle. The precise location of your pain can help determine its cause. They may move your foot into different positions, to check your range of motion. You may be asked to walk for a short distance so that your doctor can examine your gait.
  • X-rays: X-rays can show if the bone is broken and whether there is displacement (a gap between broken bones). They can also show how many pieces of broken bone there are. X-rays may be taken of the leg, ankle, and foot to make sure nothing else is injured.

Nonsurgical Treatment

You may not require surgery if your ankle or foot is stable, meaning the broken bone is not out of place or just barely out of place. Several methods are used for protecting the fracture while it heals, including:

  • Supportive, high-top tennis shoes
  • A removable brace, walking boot, or shoe
  • A cast

Surgical Treatment

If your foot or ankle are unstable and out of place, you may need surgery. Our surgical options might include the use of pins, plates, or screws to maintain proper position of your bones during healing. More serious fractures may require bone grafting. Left untreated, a foot or ankle fracture can lead to cartilage damage and the development of arthritis.

Recovery

Because foot and ankle fractures encompass such a wide range of injuries, healing times vary. It will take at least six weeks for the broken bones to heal. It is important to follow your doctor’s orders for rehab so you can eventually resume your normal activities limp free.

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