An ankle fracture is a break of a bone in the ankle joint. The joint is made up of 3 bones. The ligaments that support the ankle may also be damaged.
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The most common cause is when the joint is forced beyond its normal range of motion. It may be also be caused by trauma from:
Things that may raise your risk are:
Problems may be:
You will be asked about your symptoms and past health. You will be asked how the injury happened. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may suspect a break based on exam.
It may take 6 to 8 weeks to heal. The goals of treatment are to ease pain and swelling. This may include:
Some fractures cause pieces of bone to come apart. These pieces will need to be put back into place. This may be done:
Most fractures are due to accidents. Healthy bones and muscles may prevent some falls. This may be done through diet and exercise.
American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
British Columbia Podiatric Medical Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Ankle fracture—emergency management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/ankle-fracture-emergency-management. Accessed December 9, 2020.
Ankle fractures (broken ankle). Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00391. Accessed December 9, 2020.
Chaudhry S, Egol KA. Ankle injuries and fractures in the obese patient. Orthop Clin North Am. 2011;42(1):45-53.
Scott AM. Diagnosis and treatment of ankle fractures. Radiol Technol. 2010;81(5):457-475.
Wedmore I, Young S, et al. Emergency department evaluation and management of foot and ankle pain. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2015 May;33(2):363-396.
9/10/2014 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillancehttps://www.dynamed.com/management/ankle-fracture-emergency-management: Mosher TJ, Kransdorf MJ, et al. ACR Appropriateness Criteria acute trauma to the ankle online publication]. Reston (VA): American College of Radiology (ACR);2014. 10 p. Available at: http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=48284#Section420. Accessed September 10, 2014.
Last reviewed January 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT, GCS Last Updated:1/5/2021