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
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.