Fractures happen with any bones in the human body. But there are certain areas available which get fracture easily and very often. One such area is the ankle joint. Legs are the main organ which helps us to implement so many activities in the day to day life like sitting, standing, walking, climbing, running, jogging, etc.
Even the whole body’s weight is balanced properly and evenly by the two legs only. Whenever the legs are strained a lot or given extra work load then it will get one or the other problem. One such issue is ankle fracture where the ankle joint bones will get crack partially or totally.
Broken ankle is a severe painful injury. It causes tremendous ankle pain, discomfort to sufferer and restrict his or her mobility totally or partially.
Broken ankle is commonly known as ankle fracture. Even small things like- dropping something on your foot, taking any wrong step, twisting or rolling over onto your ankle can cause ankle to fracture. Even auto accidents can sometimes to lead to broken ankle problem.
All those who are osteoporotic or obese are at greater risk of broken ankle problem. Also people who participate into high impact sporting activities or uses poorly manufactured exercise equipment may suffer from this medical condition in a greater amount.
Knowing About Ankle Fracture Types
The ankle joint is made up of three different bones. These are:
- Tibia, the shin bone,
- Fibula, the smaller lower leg bone, and
- The talus, the small bone which helps in communicating tibia and fibula with the heel bone calcaneus
Around these bones, various ligaments and muscles were present which helps in proper functioning of the ankle joint to move freely according to the anatomical movement of the legs. When heavy stress or unwanted pressure is applied to any of these bones then it may cause fracture of the ankle joint which is normally called as ankle fracture.
Medically the ankle fracture is classified into various types according to the site of fracture. If the fracture happens at the end of the fibular bone then it is termed as lateral malleolus fracture and if the tibia and fibula are broken then it is termed as bimalleolar fracture.
Generally in case of broken ankle two anatomical joints will get involved, one is the ankle joint where the tibia, talus and fibula meets together and the other is the syndesmosis joint which is formed by the tibia and fibula along with tight ligament bands.
Major Causes of Broken Ankle
The term broken ankle explains a simple hairline fracture or even a complicated multiple fracture. In case of simple facture of the ankle joint the management and cure are much easier and the person also will get speedy recovery, whereas in case of multiple fracture the recovery will take much time till then the person should be in bed only.
The broken ankle problem comes with any group regardless of sex. But in the recent decades the incidence of broken ankles is seen higher with the aged community because of calcium and Vitamin-D deficiency due to lack of bodily hormones like sex hormones and thyroid.
- Unnatural twisting or rotation of the ankle joint,
- Fall from a huge height,
- Pressure injury, and
- Impact injury during any accidents, etc.
What are Broken Ankle Symptoms?
Ankle Pain: This is one of the most prominent symptoms of broken ankle. Just like breaking of any bone in body, breaking of bones in ankle is very painful.
Bruising: When after an injury, especially fracture, blood gets collected in the surrounding tissues of affected area it leads to bruising. As blood profuse out from injured area or surrounding soft tissues, it passes towards superficial layers of your skin.
After accumulating outside the vascular system, blood cells lose oxygen and become dark in color. Blood vessels acquire blue or purple hues due to inadequacy of blood in tissue.
Swelling: when the problem of broken ankle occurs, it may also affect the surrounding tissues such as muscles, tendons and ligaments. When these structures get badly affected, they bleed profusely. The blood comes out of bone marrow as well due to injury. It thus, causes noteworthy swelling not only on the affected area but also on the area surrounding the injury.
Deformity: the significant types of injuries can cause some level of deformity in an ankle bone. The ankle is regarded as a stable joint, but when it gets broken from both the sides, it may become de-stabilized and slip from its original position thus causing deformity.
Deformity in any form can badly disrupt blood supply to foot and toe area of body. Keep in mind that restoration of alignment is definitely very important to prevent any kind of permanent vascular damage.
It is very important to keep a note of these broken ankle symptoms so that due medical attention can be taken on time for early healing of broken ankle.
Diagnosis of Ankle Fracture:
Most of the time diagnosing a problem correctly pays perfect way for the management or treatment of the particular problem. Thus diagnosing the ankle fracture gives good results of improvement. For ankle fracture diagnosis the general and major diagnostic modalities used are as follows:
- Taking the complete medical history of the patient gives maximum confirmation regarding the problem. Hence taking proper case history is highly important.
- Followed by the proper case history, the perfect physical examination gives further more confirmation regarding the concerned problem.
- Only after thorough case history and physical examination, the other diagnostic methods and imaging techniques comes in the queue like X-rays, MRI, CT Scan, Stress test, etc.
Management of Broken Ankle and Best Treatment Options
The first aid protocol in case of broken ankle is RICE therapy.
- R – Rice
- I – Ice massage
- C – Compress
- E – Elevation
Followed by the RICE therapy, the patient’s ankle joint will be applied with POP (Plaster of Paris). The POP keeps the joint stable and it provides good rest to the ankle joint without any further movements in it. The POP should be kept for at least 30 to 45 days depends on the grade of fracture.
Physical Therapy For Ankle Fracture: Does It Help?
When you are going with the treatment for ankle fracture, your physician will try to reduce the pain, as this method helps to heal the broken bones and permit normal healing.
If at all, the fracture is severe, then a surgical process known as Open reduction internal fixation procedure is performed to line up the broken bones and place in order with screws and metal rods.
You are advised to learn the way to use helpful devices like a cane, a walker, a fracture boot, crutches, etc by the physical therapist. Besides this, gentle and effective exercises for the muscles of the hip and knee are performed in order to assure that the group of muscles help you to walk properly and do not get too feeble due to lack of exercises.
After the ankle is healed, the physician advises to remove the cast and permits you to walk with a weight on your ankle, but instead you will be using a helpful device like crutches or a quad cane to walk normally.
Here, your experienced physical therapist will complete assess your ankle for further treatment. There is the use of therapeutic modalities like electric stimulation, ice and heat to help you treat the pain or swelling around the fractured ankle.
Additionally, exercise is the main element for ankle rehabilitation, as it improves the motion and strength of the ankle to some range. Make sure to follow the advice of the physical therapist as it helps you slowly to walk independently without any help or support.
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