Ankle Fracture

(Broken Ankle)

Definition

An ankle fracture is a break of a bone in the ankle joint. The joint is made up of three bones:
  • Tibia (shin bone)—The main bone of the lower leg that runs along the inside of the leg
  • Fibula—The smaller bone of the lower leg that runs along the outside of the leg
  • Talus—The bone that provides the connection between the leg and the foot, and is less often fractured than the others
The ankle joint is supported by three groups of ligaments. An injury that causes a fracture may also damage one or more of these ligaments.
Ankle Fracture
ankle fracture
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

An ankle fracture can occur when the joint is forced beyond its normal range of motion. It can also be caused by a direct blow to the bone itself. Any form of ankle trauma may cause injury, including:
  • Falls
  • Twists
  • Blows
  • Collisions

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chances of getting an ankle fracture include:
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Osteoporosis —common in women after menopause and in older, less active people
  • Any condition that increases the risk of falls, such as poor muscle control or poor balance
  • Participation in certain sports, such as basketball, football, soccer, and skiing
  • Being overweight

Symptoms

Symptoms include:
  • Immediate pain—can be severe, but sometimes with fibula injuries, is surprisingly minor
  • Swelling
  • Bruising around the injured area
  • Tenderness when touching the injured bone in the ankle area
  • Inability to put weight on the injured foot without pain, although some people are able to walk with minor fractures

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