Fractured ankle

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A fractured ankle requires immediate treatment. The injury usually takes between 6-12 weeks to fully heal.

What are the indications?

The indications of a fractured ankle include the following:

  • Intense ankle pain and swelling
  • Difficulty moving the foot or placing any weight on it
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Affected ankle appears deformed
  • Grinding or snapping noise at the time of injury
  • Bleeding if bone has damaged the skin
    Fractured ankle
    Control any bleeding by placing pressure on the wound using a clean dressing or pad if possible.

Due to the pain and shock from the injury, the individual might also feel dizzy or faint.

What should I do?

If an individual is suspected with a fractured ankle, the following must be done:

  • Bring the individual to the nearest emergency department or call for emergency assistance if the damage is serious.
  • The individual should avoid moving or placing any weight on the affected leg. It must be elevated and properly supported.
  • Control any bleeding by placing pressure on the wound using a clean dressing or pad if possible.
  • Place an ice pack on the ankle if on hand
  • The individual should not be given anything to eat or drink in case there is a need for surgery to repair the ankle.

Management of a fractured ankle

Upon arrival in a healthcare facility, the individual is given pain medications and a splint is applied to ensure the ankle in a secure position.

An X-ray is carried out whether the ankle is damaged and the severity of the damage.

Care for a minor fracture

  • A splint, supportive boot or plaster cast is fitted, usually a few days after to allow any swelling to settle first.
  • A walking frame or crutches might be suggested to avoid placing any weight on the ankle
  • Pain medications are given to be taken at home

Care for serious fractures

  • The doctor will attempt to realign the fractured ankle. The leg is usually numbed, and medication is given to relax the individual.
  • Surgery might be required to realign the bones which involves the placement of plates, wires, screws or rods.
  • A supportive cast or boot might be fitted before the individual can go home.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on a fractured ankle is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly manage the injury, register for a first aid and CPR course with Mississauga First Aid.

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