Ankle Fracture Treatment in Glendale, CA
The ankle joint is comprised of the tibia, the fibula, and the talus. Ankle fractures can involve the end of the fibula, and in some cases, the end of the tibia as well. The ends of the fibula and tibia are the bony bumps you feel on either side of the ankle. The technical term for these bony bumps are the medial and lateral malleoli. Fractures are described as involving the lateral malleolus (fibula only) or bimalleolar (tibia and fibula). The most common injury mechanism is a slip and fall where the ankle turns inward
and twists. The degree of injury is based on the force of the trauma the ankle is subjected to.
In medical terminology, we use the term fracture to describe a broken bone. Fractures can be displaced, meaning the bone has shifted or moved, or non-displaced. They can be simple, meaning one fracture line (commonly referred to as a ‘clean break’), or comminuted, meaning multiple pieces. Fractures can be closed, meaning the skin is intact, or open, meaning the bone breaks through the skin (commonly referred to as compound fractures).
Ankle fractures that involve only one bone, and are non-displaced, may do well with non-operative management. A splint is applied for the first week or so to allow for swelling to subside. Then, the ankle is placed in a cast or removable boot. Bone healing takes about 6 weeks.
If the fracture involves both bones, or the fracture has displaced, surgery may be required. Surgery involves aligning the bone and fixing it with either a plate and screws or small rod. Surgery is done as an outpatient. After surgery the ankle is placed into a splint for 2 weeks and then a removable boot is used for 4-6 weeks. In most cases, full weightbearing is allowed around 6 weeks after surgery. Full recovery, including return to sports, may take 4-6 months.