Broken ankle

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A broken ankle is considered one of the most common bone and joint injuries. In most cases, the degree of pain, concern over a broken bone or inability to walk is what urges individuals to seek care once an ankle injury is suspected.

broken ankle
Rolling the ankle in or out can cause tears on the ligaments.

Causes of a broken ankle

Once an individual stresses the ankle joint beyond its normal limits, there is a tendency that the joint will become damaged either minimally or severe.

In case the ligaments tear, the damage is called as a sprained ankle. If the bone is damaged, the injury is known as a fracture. Always remember that fractures can develop together with tears on the ligaments that can occur in various ways:

  • Twisting of the ankle side to side
  • Rolling in the ankle in or out
  • Application of severe force to the joint such as jumping from an elevated place
  • Excessive extension or flexion placed on the affected joint

Symptoms of an ankle fracture

The following are the common symptoms of an ankle fracture

  • Pain that does not originate from the specific area of the fracture or in the ankle that disrupts normal walking.
  • Swelling around the affected ankle which indicates that there is soft tissue damage with possible blood surrounding the joint or fluid within the joint
  • Bruising around the joint that develops later on. It can develop down toward the sole of the foot or toward the toes.
  • In severe cases of fractures, there are obvious deformities on bones surrounding the ankle.
  • If the nerves or blood vessels that supply the foot are injured, there is pain accompanied by pale skin, inability to move the foot and numbness.

When to seek medical care

Once an individual damaged the ankle, it is best to contact a doctor or go to the emergency department. If the following situations are present, it is important to seek medical treatment right away.

  • Individual could not bear weight on the affected ankle
  • Pain persists even if over-the-counter medications for pain are given
  • Any of the home treatments provided did not minimize the pain
  • Foot or ankle becomes partially numb, completely numb or pale
  • Deformity of the ankle bones is evident
  • Bone fragments pierces out of the skin
  • Cold or blue-colored foot
  • Inability to move the ankle
  • Inability to move the toes

Treatment for a broken ankle

A broken ankle must be checked by a health care professional. Until the individual can receive medical care, you can provide first aid measures at home by instructing the individual to limit using the affected joint, keep the ankle raised and place ice wrapped in towel or cold packs for the initial 24-48 hours. Additionally, you can provide over-the-counter medications for pain and inflammation can be given. As for the medical treatment, it includes taping, casting, wrapping or even surgery. It all depends on the severity and type of the damage sustained.

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