Broken Ankle : Symptoms, Prevention, And Treatments


An ankle fracture or break results in bone damage. A broken ankle could result from direct trauma during an automobile accident, a twisting injury from a minor slip or fall, etc.

A broken ankle can range in severity. Fractures can develop from tiny bone cracks as well as from breaks that puncture the skin.

The location and degree of the bone fracture will determine the best course of treatment for a broken ankle. Surgery may be necessary to implant plates, rods, or screws into a severely broken ankle in order to keep the broken bone in the right position while it heals.


A direct hit to the ankle can also result in a broken ankle, however, twisting injuries are more common.

The following are the most typical reasons for a broken ankle:

Auto mishaps. Car accidents frequently result in crushing injuries, which can break bones that need to be surgically fixed.

Falls. Your ankles are susceptible to breaking if you trip and fall or if you land on your feet after a brief jump.

Missteps. Simply putting your foot down incorrectly can occasionally result in a twisting injury that may break a bone.

How to check if you have a Broken Ankle?

Consult a doctor if there is a clear deformity, if pain and swelling do not improve with self-care, or if they worsen over time. See a doctor if the injury makes it difficult for you to walk.

Risk Factors

You can be more vulnerable to getting a broken ankle if you:

Play impact-intensive sports. An ankle fracture can be brought on by strains, direct blows, and twisting accidents sustained while playing sports including basketball, football, gymnastics, tennis, and soccer.

Use sporting equipment or incorrect techniques. Stress fractures and falls can be caused by defective equipment, such as too-worn-out or improperly suited shoes. Ankle injuries can also result from improper training methods, such as skipping a warm-up and a stretching session.

You suddenly become more active. Whether you are a seasoned athlete or someone who has only recently begun to exercise, abruptly increasing the frequency or length of your workouts can raise your chance of developing a stress fracture.

If your house is disorganized or dimly lit. Moving about in a cluttered or dimly lit home increases the risk of falls and ankle injuries.

Different medical conditions. You run the risk of breaking the bones in your ankles if you have osteoporosis, which reduces bone density.

Smoking. Smoking cigarettes can make you more likely to get osteoporosis. Additionally, studies indicate that smokers may require more time to heal from a fracture.


You can experience a few of the following symptoms and warning indications if you have a broken ankle:

  • Constant throbbing ache
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Deformity
  • Pain or difficulty walking or bearing weight


A broken ankle may be avoided by following these fundamental sports safety advice:

Don the right footwear. Put on hiking boots if the terrain is rocky. Select the right athletic footwear for your sport.

Regularly swapping out your running shoes. Throw away shoes as soon as the tread or heel begins to deteriorate or if the wear is uneven. Every 300–400 miles, you should replace your running shoes.

Begin exercise gradually. That holds true for both fresh fitness regimens and every workout.

Cross-train. Alternating your activities can help you avoid stress fractures. Switch between running and cycling.

Boost bone vigour. Get adequate vitamin D and calcium. Foods high in calcium include milk, yoghurt, and cheese. If you require vitamin D pills, ask your doctor.

Clean up your home. Keeping things off the ground can be helpful to prevent falling and tripping.

Make your ankle muscles stronger. Ask your doctor for some strengthening exercises for your ankle's supporting muscles if you frequently twist your ankle.


Depending on which bone was shattered and how severe the damage was, different treatments are available for broken ankles.


Your doctor could advise using an over-the-counter painkiller like acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).


You will likely need to relax tight muscles and ligaments in your ankles and feet after your bone has healed. You can learn exercises from a physical therapist to increase your strength, flexibility, and balance.

Operative or other procedures

Reduction. Your doctor might need to manoeuvre the parts back into their correct locations if you have a fracture that has been dislocated, meaning the two ends of the fracture are not perfectly aligned. This method is known as reduction. You could require a muscle relaxant depending on how much pain and swelling you have.

Before this process, the area will be numbed with a sedative, a local anaesthetic, or both.

Immobilization. In order for a fractured bone to heal, it must be immobilised. This typically necessitates the use of a cast or specialised boot.

Surgery. An orthopaedic surgeon might occasionally need to use pins, plates, or screws to keep your bones in the right positions while they heal. If these materials are noticeable or painful, they may be removed once the fracture has healed.

Complications of Broken Ankle

Despite being rare, complications from a broken ankle could arise.

Arthritis. Joint-extending fractures can result in arthritis years down the road. Visit your doctor for a checkup if your ankle continues to bother you after a break.

infected bones (osteomyelitis). Your bone may be exposed to bacteria that lead to infection if you have an open fracture, which means one end of the bone protrudes through the skin.

Compartment Syndrome. Rarely, this disease may coexist with ankle fractures. The afflicted muscles in the legs experience pain, oedema, and even impairment.

Damage to blood vessels or nerves. Ankle trauma can damage blood vessels and nerves, sometimes even tearing them. If you experience any numbness or circulation issues, get help right once. Blood flow issues can cause a bone to disintegrate and decay.

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Page last reviewed: Mar 10, 2023

Next review due: Mar 10, 2025

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