Ankle Fracture Treatment in Frisco & Dallas

Lateral Malleolus, Bimalleolar Ankle, Trimalleolar Ankle, and Pilon Fractures

Dallas & Frisco Ankle Fracture Treatment Specialist

Anyone, at any moment, can suffer a bone fracture in the foot or ankle. Especially if you have ankle pain after running, it’s critical to get treatment for fractures as soon as possible to ensure that they heal as rapidly as possible. A fracture is a break or damage to one or more bones. Fractures can range in severity from minor hairline fractures to catastrophic bone breaks. Minor fractures can heal without surgery, while more severe fractures will require surgery. It’s important to contact a Dallas orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible.

If you have a fracture in your foot or ankle, you should see an orthopedic surgeon who is familiar with the complex workings of the bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the foot and ankle. SPORT Orthopedics + Physical Therapy’s interdisciplinary staff is well-versed in the most up-to-date surgical methods for even the most difficult-to-treat fractures, such as complicated non-union fractures. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 469-200-2832 today.

Ankle Anatomy

The ankle joint, as we know it, is made up of two joints. The true ankle joint (tibiotalar) allows us to move our ankle up and down, whereas the subtalar joint (talar calcaneal) allows us to move our ankle side to side.

The tibiotalar joint consists of three bones:

  • Shin bone (tibia)
  • Other bone of the lower leg (fibula)
  • Ankle bone (talus)

Around the top of the ankle bone, the leg bones form a scooped pouch. The subtalar joint connects the ankle bone to the heel bone just below the ankle joint (calcaneus). Both joints are supported by three sets of ligaments that link the bones and give stability.

The knobby lumps you may feel on either side of your ankle are the lower leg bones’ very ends. The lateral malleolus (outside of the ankle) is made up of the fibula, whereas the medial malleolus (inside of the ankle) is made up of the shin bone.

ankle fracture treatment

What is an Ankle Fracture?

An ankle “fracture” is another term for a broken ankle. This indicates that one or more of the bones of the ankle joint have been fractured. A fractured ankle can range from a single bone break that does not prevent you from walking to several fractures that pull your ankle out of position and may require you to not put weight on it for several months.

Simply said, the more bones fractured in the ankle, the more unstable it gets. It’s possible that ligaments have been injured as well. The ankle ligaments keep the ankle bones and joint in place. People of all ages are affected by broken ankles. Doctors have noticed an uptick in the occurrence of fractured ankles during the last 30 to 40 years, owing in part to a lively, aging population of “baby boomers.”

What’s the Difference Between a Broken Ankle and an Ankle Fracture?

A fracture and a break are both the same thing. Any break in the bone’s continuity is referred to as a fracture. A fracture occurs when the bone loses its integrity, whether it’s a tiny fissure barely visible on an X-ray or the bone breaking into a dozen fragments.

Would you tell someone how long a crack in your vehicle windshield had been there if they inquired how long it had been broken? Would you say it’s a fracture rather than a break? Most likely not. In fact, you’d most likely discuss the highway rock that did the crime. We all use the phrases fracture and break interchangeably on a daily basis. In the medical sector, it’s no different.

Ankle Stress Fracture vs. Ankle Fracture

A stress fracture is a tiny break in the bone that arises as a result of an overuse injury to the bone. It most often affects the lower leg and foot’s weight-bearing bones. When the muscles in the foot become overworked or strained, they are unable to absorb the tension, and the stress is transferred to the bone, resulting in a stress fracture.

A fast increase in the intensity of activity causes stress fractures. Impact on a hard surface, incorrect footwear, and excessive physical activity can also cause them. Athletes who participate in sports like basketball, tennis, or gymnastics are more likely to suffer stress fractures. The repetitive force of a foot strike on a hard surface causes damage and muscular exhaustion in these sports. Athletes who do not get enough rest in between exercises are more likely to suffer stress fractures.

Females are more likely than males to have stress fractures, which may be linked to a syndrome known as “female athlete triad.” Eating disorders, amenorrhea (irregular menstrual cycle), and osteoporosis are all factors (thinning of the bones). Females are more likely to have stress fractures when their bone mass falls.

The most frequent symptom is foot discomfort, which becomes worse during exercise and goes away when you relax. Swelling, bruising, and discomfort can all happen at the same time. After discussing symptoms and risk factors with you, your doctor will examine your foot and ankle to make a diagnosis. To confirm the fracture, diagnostic procedures such as an X-ray, an MRI scan, or a bone scan may be necessary.

What Does a Fractured Ankle Feel Like?

A fall, a vehicle accident, or other trauma to the ankle can cause any of the three bones that make up the ankle joint to shatter. Ligament injury is possible with a fractured ankle. Every injury to the ankle should be checked by a physician since a severe sprain can frequently disguise the signs of a fractured ankle. Below, we list the symptoms of a broken ankle. 

  • Severe and immediate foot pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness when touching the area
  • Inability to put weight on the affected ankle, or severe pain while doing so
  • Deformity, particularly in cases of dislocation

In the event of a break, it is imperative to seek ankle fracture treatment as soon as possible. A visit with a sports medicine doctor is the best choice for your diagnosis, as they see countless cases just like these each year.

How Long Does an Ankle Fracture Take to Heal?

A fractured ankle might take anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks to heal. You’ll probably need to wear a cast, splint, or walking boot for the first six weeks, whether you undergo surgery or not. Once your doctor has given you the green light, you can begin applying pressure to your foot and gradually build up to walking again over a few weeks. A walking boot will be worn to support you as you take your first steps.

After your fractured ankle has healed, you should work on moving your ankle in all directions on a regular basis. This helps to prevent contractures and stiffness. When it’s safe to return to sports or high-impact activities, see your doctor. It’s possible that you’ll have some swelling for up to a year later.

Can You Walk on a Fractured Ankle?

A small ankle fracture will usually not prohibit you from walking. It’s possible that you’ll be able to walk again soon after your accident. You should avoid walking for a few months if you have a severe break. You can gradually resume normal activities while your ankle heals.

What is the Best Treatment for a Fractured Ankle?

Personalized ankle fracture treatment is the best way to go, as each patient has different needs for their injuries. Physical therapy in Dallas may be able to repair a fracture that is minor and non-displaced (meaning the bone hasn’t shifted out of position). We usually use the RICE technique to treat foot and ankle fractures without surgery.

  • Rest 
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Other options include ankle fracture surgery. Below, we list some of the most common forms of ankle surgery.

  • Ankle Fracture Fixation Surgery: For fractures in which the foot or ankle gets displaced, or caused bone misalignment, we must put the bones back into the correct position. These are called displaced fractures. We use the appropriate surgical hardware, like plates, screws, and pins. Sometimes, we also perform bone grafting and reconstruct the surrounding soft tissue.
  • Non-Union Ankle Fracture Surgery: A fractured bone that has not healed properly is referred to as a non-union. Surgery to remove an infection, better stabilize the fracture, or encourage bone development with a bone transplant are all options for treatment. Complex non-union surgical repair with vascularized bone grafting is performed by our specialists. Living bone tissue can be implanted to replace damaged bone tissue with vascularized bone grafts.
  • Foot and Ankle Reduction Surgery: Closed reduction is when the surgeon puts the bones back into position without the need for surgery. To allow the bones to heal properly, the surgeon may align them back in place during surgery under general anesthesia. This is referred to as reduction. To hold the bones in place, the surgeon may use specific plates and screws. Internal fixation is the term for this. The surgeon generally repairs the damaged ligaments at the same time to hold the bone in place.
  • Ankle replacement: If all else fails and the condition of the ankle continues to worsen, it may be necessary to replace the joint completely.

Ankle Fracture Treatment in Dallas, TX

At SPORT, we understand that ankle fracture treatment can sometimes be a stressful and complicated process. We work diligently to ensure that our patients have as smooth a recovery as possible. Utilizing the latest in orthopedic techniques and technology, we work alongside our patients every step of the way. For more information on ankle fracture treatment, or to schedule an appointment with us, please call 469-200-2832 today.