Ankle Fracture Surgery

What is ankle fracture surgery? This type of surgery is performed to treat ankle fractures or broken bones. A broken ankle is among the most common causes of pain in the ankle or foot. 

Ankle Fracture Anatomy

The ankle anatomy consists of an ankle joint. This particular joint in your foot is made up of fibula, tibia, and talus bones or the ankle bone. The talus plays an integral role in connecting your leg to the rest of your foot. 

Some ligaments form part of your ankle anatomy. The main function of ligaments is to connect bones to other bones to provide that much-needed stability of the ankle joint.

Ligaments also get injured in an ankle sprain or fracture. For example, torn ligaments alongside an ankle fracture can render your ankle unstable,  making it difficult for you to walk around comfortably.

A perfect example of a ligament in your ankle is the deltoid ligament, and it is located in the inner section of your ankle to provide stability. A torn deltoid ligament with an ankle fracture can cause instability in your foot or ankle.

The cartilage is another part of your ankle anatomy. The damage or thinning of this lining or cushion-like structure between the bones can cause inflammation in the ankle joint or, worse still, lead to arthritis.

Causes of Ankle Fracture

Bones of the ankle are broken mainly by a rotational injury. Often, this type of injury causes your ankle to twist, roll, or turn while walking, jumping, or running. A high-force impact from an automobile collision or a fall can also lead to ankle fractures.

 Symptoms of Ankle Fracture

Broken ankle symptoms vary depending on the severity of its condition and the individual patient. 

With that being said, signs of a fractured ankle may include:

  • Varying degrees of pain around the fractured ankle. The pain can extend all the way from the injured foot to the knee
  • Swelling occurs along the length of your injured leg. Sometimes the swelling may become more localized
  • Formation of blisters over the fractured area of your ankle. These blisters should be treated promptly by our ankle and foot surgeon Dr. Christopher L. Dillingham at Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine, to avoid more problems
  • Bruising appears soon after sustaining an injury on your ankle joint

Most Common Types of Ankle Fracture (Broken Ankle)

  1. Lateral malleolus fractures: This injury occurs when the ankle’s bony knob is broken on the outer part of the ankle. 
  2. Medial malleolus fractures: It happens when a bony knob on the inside of the ankle is broken.
  3. Bimalleolar ankle fracture: The fracture happens whenever both the outer and inner bony knobs of your ankle are broken.
  4. Bimalleolar equivalent fracture: This ankle fracture occurs when both bony knobs (on the outside) of your ankle and ligament inside of the ankle are damaged.
  5. Posterior malleolus fracture: The fracture occurs due to damage to the bony section of your tibia.
  6. Trimalleolar fracture: This fracture occurs when all three sections of your ankle are injured or broken.
  7. Pilon fracture: This is the damage on the roof (where the tibia ends)of your ankle.
  8. Syndesmotic injury: This is simply injury to the syndesmosis joint. This joint is located between the tibia and fibula and is anchored by ligaments. Injury to the syndesmosis joint occurs when your fibula or tibia is fractured. Also, a sprained ligament in the syndesmotic joint can lead to syndesmotic injury.

Ankle Fracture Diagnosis

Once you have discussed your medical history, facture ankle symptoms, and how the fracture occurred, your healthcare provider will perform a careful examination of the injured foot, lower leg, and ankle using these imaging tests:

  1. X-ray: X-ray is the most common and widely used form of diagnostic imaging technique for injuries such as ankle fractures. The X-ray will show details of the ankle joint to help point out if there is a broken bone or a displacement gap between the damaged bones.
  2. MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging scan provides high resolution and detailed images of soft tissues and bones. MRI scan will help the surgeon Dr. Christopher L. Dillingham at Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine evaluate the ankle ligaments to determine the severity of your ankle fracture.

Ankle Fracture (Broken Ankle) Treatment

When it comes to treating ankle fractures, your doctor will suggest one or both of these treatment options:

  1. Nonsurgical Treatment: With this treatment option, your doctor will advise you to strictly follow the RICE protocol, restrict the foot and ankle movement, and use prescribed medications. Physical therapy may also be needed.
  1. Surgical Treatment: Surgery comes in when the nonsurgical treatment options don’t show positive results. This treatment option may involve ankle surgery with plates and screws, including pins, to maintain the proper position of your ankle bones during healing.

Post-Operative Care (Recovery) of Ankle Fracture Surgery

Post Op ankle care

After a broken ankle treatment, the next step involves post-operative care. In this case, you are advised to carry out these important post-operative care to speed up the broken ankle recovery time:

  • Keep your fractured ankle elevated for about two weeks following your ankle surgery
  • Do not put weight on your fractured ankle for five or six weeks after your broken ankle treatment
  • Ensure your injured ankle or foot is in a walking boot or cast throughout.
  • Take medication for relieving pain as prescribed by your doctor
  • Do not start driving until your broken ankle bones are healed completely

How can I prevent ankle fractures? 

You can prevent the possibility of ankle fractures from occurring by considering these tips:

  1. Wear nice fitting pair of shoes all the time
  2. Use strength training exercises to keep muscles in your feet, legs, and ankles strong
  3. Find the most appropriate way to work out, jump, dive, or land on your feet to avoid injuring your ankles
  4. Take proper nutrition that can prevent deficiencies like vitamin D, which plays a critical role in making your bones strong and resistant to stress fractures

Find the Best Ankle Fracture Surgery Center Near You in Sarasota, Florida

Are you in need of a medical professional to take care of your broken ankle? If yes, doctors at Sforzo I Dillingham I Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine have you covered. Dr. Christopher L. Dillingham at Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine will expertly take care of your ankle fracture by providing the most appropriate treatment option to get you back in shape. 

Dr. Christopher L. Dillingham at Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine is a Board-certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship-trained in different types of surgeries that involve minimally invasive techniques. For example, the doctors can perform endoscopic carpal tunnel release, arthroscopic elbow and wrist procedures, and arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. 

In particular, Dr. Dllingham is a specialist in arthritis surgery, tendon repair, fracture repair, and foot/ankle disorders repair. In addition, he is considered a leader in carrying out technically challenging total reverse shoulder surgery and arthroscopic surgery of the elbow and wrist. 

Our surgeon Dr. Christopher L. Dillingham at Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine, takes time to analyze your symptoms, perform a diagnosis and choose the best treatment option for your condition. Reach out to our expert orthopedic surgeons and have your broken ankle repaired. 

Final Thought

Ankle fractures may involve broken fibula, trimalleolar fracture, and many others. All these types of ankle fractures need ankle surgery to heal. The fractured ankle recovery time can take a few weeks to months, depending on the severity of your injury and the type of ankle fracture you are being treated. For more information about ankle fractures and treatment, contact Sforzo I Dillingham I Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine today to schedule your appointment with our team of top orthopedic surgeons.