A category of sports medicine is ankle fracture surgery. A fracture is defined as a “complete or partial break in the bone”. The purpose of ankle fracture surgery is to get the ankle bone set and healed into the normal shape it was before the fracture.
Symptoms of a fractured ankle:
- Severe pain when moving or standing
- Unable to put any weight on injured ankle
- Ankle looks deformed or out of place
- Tender when it is touched
Signs of needing surgery to a fractured ankle: When the fractured ankle is in a bad or unstable position, causing symptoms of a fracture, surgery is needed to re-position the ankle back to the normal location. There are other instances where it is an open fracture, when the bone is sticking out of the skin, and it does require surgery to readjust the bone back to it’s normal position.
What is the procedure of ankle fracture surgery? An incision is made where the ankle is fractured, and the fractured parts are re-positioned back to its normal location. After it is re-positioned, a metal implant, or screw, is placed in the ankle to keep it in place. Once the metal implant is placed and the incision is closed, the ankle is placed in a splint to keep it straight while it heals.
What is the healing process after surgery? For a few weeks after surgery, the ankle will be in a splint and immobile while it heals. Once the wounds are healed, your doctor will fit either a boot or a cast to use and slowly make the ankle more mobile. When the ankle heals more, some weight can be put on the ankle while in the boot or mobile cast. It typically takes up to a year for the ankle to get back to feeling normal, and being able to use it while doing normal activities.
While the ankle is healing, it is best to take movement slow so that there is no over-straining or possible damage to the fixed ankle. It is very important to speak with your doctor to make sure the activities you are doing will not re-fracture or permanently damage the ankle while it is healing. Once the ankle is fully healed, normal activities can be done without the boot or cast. Some people may need physical therapy after surgery is done to be able to get back to normal activities. Any problems you experience after surgery is best to discuss with your doctor to help find the best healing plan for you.