Foot and ankle fractures can range from small and incomplete to severe, where the bone is completely separated. In a nondisplaced fracture, broken bones remain in their correct position and alignment. In a displaced fracture, the pieces of bone are separated or misaligned.
Fractures may present as a:
This is a break of the lateral malleolus, the knobby bump on the outside of the ankle. It’s the most common ankle fracture.
The second most common type of fracture, a bimalleolar ankle fracture, occurs when there is a break in both the lateral malleolus and the medial malleolus, the knobby bump on the inside of the ankle.
In this type of fracture, there is a break in three sides of the ankle.
This is a fracture through the weight-bearing “roof” of the ankle (the central portion of the lower tibia) and usually occurs due to a fall.
A stress fracture doesn't go all the way across the bone, but it has the potential to do so if you don’t get treatment. Stress fractures are repetitive motion injuries that are common among distance runners.
Stress fractures are most common in the metatarsals, the bones at the top of your foot.
Fractures typically cause pain that can range from mildly annoying to completely debilitating, depending on the type and location of the fracture. If you have a fracture, you'll likely find it hard to bear weight on your foot or ankle. You may have significant swelling and bruising as well.
The symptoms of a fracture can be quite similar to those of a sprained ankle. If you have any of these symptoms, it's important to call our office for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
The sooner you get treatment for a suspected fracture, the better your chance of avoiding future complications, such as ankle arthritis. Fractures, especially trimalleolar and pilon fractures, can lead to arthritis in the future.
In many cases, your provider can treat stress fractures without surgery. You may need a splint, orthotics, or a cast to help your bones heal naturally. Rest is an important part of stress fracture recovery, so don't risk re-injury by trying to exercise before you're fully healed.
If you have a displaced fracture of the foot or ankle, you may need surgery. Your provider expertly resets your bone and then supports it with a splint or cast during your recovery. As with stress fractures, it's important that you adhere to all of your provider's recovery guidelines for optimal healing.
For comprehensive treatment for foot and ankle fractures, call Arizona Foot Health or book an appointment online today.