Broken ankles are one of the most common, worrisome injuries that can occur among active individuals. Broken ankle injuries typically occur when an individual falls, trips or ends up in some form of accident (i.e. bike crash). Most of the damage is generally caused by the initial impact or moving the ankle in an awkward way. On a positive note, a Sacramento podiatrist visit may help resolve ankle fractures and breaks.
Upon arriving to the office, your podiatrist will ask for a recap of what happened and conduct a visual examination of the ankle. He or she will be looking for areas of inflammation, pain, tenderness, bruising, weakness and deformity. Besides the visual exam, your Sacramento foot doctor may also order a stress test, MRI, X-ray or CT scan to help determine the severity of the break.
Afterward, he or she will recommend either a series of surgical or non-surgical treatments that will treat the damaged areas. Both have notable downtime periods attached. For example, posterior, lateral and medial malleolus (bony bulge on either side of the ankle) injuries may be treated non-surgically and generally take up to 10 weeks to heal completely. Oftentimes, the list of non-surgical measures used will include the following:
- Pain medications (OTC or prescription)
- Compression bandages or splints
- Cold compresses or cold therapy
- Removable braces or boots
- Range of motion exercises
- Orthopedic footwear
- Rest and elevation
- Ankle or leg casts
Bi- and tri-malleolar fractures, on the other hand, usually require surgical intervention. If ankle surgery is needed, the podiatrist may either perform it alone or with the assistance of an orthopedic surgeon. In some instances, the surgical procedure involves the insertion of permanent hardware. The list of hardware frequently used to repair broken ankles tends to include pins, wires, plates and screws. Depending on the individual, the post-surgery recovery period could last 12 weeks or more. During that period, return visits to your Sacramento foot clinic are needed to monitor the healing process and make any adjustments to the care plan as needed.