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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Treating Ankle FracturesTratamiento de las fracturas de tobillo

Treating Ankle Fractures

Treatment depends on where and how badly your ankle has been broken. A cast may be used to hold the bone in its proper position for healing. Sometimes the sections of broken bone must first be realigned. This is done by a process known as reduction. The type of reduction is based on how far the bone has moved from its normal position.

Image of ankle bones
Sites of common ankle fractures

Closed Reduction

If you have a clean break with little soft tissue damage, closed reduction will probably be used. Before the procedure, you may be given a light anesthetic to relax your muscles. Then your doctor manually readjusts the position of the broken bone.

Open Reduction

If you have an open fracture (bone sticking out through the skin), badly misaligned sections of bone, or severe tissue injury, open reduction is likely. A general anesthetic may be used during the procedure to let you sleep and relax your muscles. Your doctor then makes one or more incisions to realign the bone and repair soft tissues. Screws or plates may be used to hold the bone in place during healing.

Doctor and patient

Casting the Fracture

To make sure the bone is aligned properly, an x-ray is taken. Then the ankle is put in a cast to hold the bone in place during healing. You'll probably have to wear the cast for 4 to 8 weeks. For less severe fractures, a walking boot, brace, or splint may be all that's needed to hold the bone during healing.

The Road to Healing

Once your fracture has been treated, your doctor will tell you how to help it heal. You may be told to limit ankle use, take medications, and elevate the foot. If you have a cast, remember to keep it dry.

Date Last Reviewed: 2007-01-15T00:00:00-07:00

Date Last Modified: 2002-07-09T00:00:00-06:00

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