Causes and treatment options for Foot & Ankle Fractures

Got Foot and Ankle Fractures?

Get Expert Care from Family Foot and Ankle Specialists in Oak Park, MI.

Got Foot and Ankle Fractures?

Ankle fractures and injuries are common and pain caused by these conditions often lead the injured to seek medical care in an emergency situation.

When it comes to ankle fractures your podiatrists share the same concern. Diagnosing a fracture can only be done through an X-ray. This can be done by a foot and ankle doctor in Wyandotte and Oak Park.

The ankle joint consists of three bones:

  • The tibia the major bone of the lower leg. The tibia makes up the medial of the ankle joint.
  • The fibula, a much smaller bone that makes up the outside part or the lateral of the ankle joint and lies parallel to the tibia in the lower leg.
  • The third bone, the malleoli (singular malleolus) resides at the far end of the fibula and the tibia. These three bones unite to form an arch that sits on the superior aspect of the talus, a bone in your foot. It is pertinent to know the structure of the ankle in explaining ankle fractures.

The ankle joint is made up of these three bones and the entire joint structure is surrounded by a joint capsule. The capsule is a fibrous structure which contains a fluid known as synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is produced by the synovium and provides lubrication for movement across joint surfaces. The ankle joint is also held in place by many ligaments. These ligaments are fibers that stabilize and maintain the position of the bones.

What are the causes of Foot and Ankle Fractures?

Ankle fracture occur when the ankle joint is stressed beyond its limits, causing the different elements of the joint to fail.

  • If stress causes wear and tear of the ligaments only, the result is a sprain.
  • However, a fracture occurs when the ankle bone breaks. It is important to note that fractures can happen with simultaneous tears of the ligaments. This can happen:
    • If the ankle rolls in or out.
    • If the ankle twists from side to side.
    • When extending or flexing the joint.
    • When applying extreme force to the joint.

How do I know that my Foot or Ankle is Fractured?

Indications of foot and ankle fractures are fairly obvious. The major symptom is pain. In most cases pain is “referred” meaning it does not come from the exact point of fracture. There may also be associated fractures especially in the knee or on the side of the small toe. When severe, pain from a foot and ankle fracture may deter a patient from walking.

Another symptom of a fracture is swelling around the ankle. Swelling may mean two things – damage to the soft tissue with possible blood around the joint or the presence of fluid within the joint (in many cases, blood). Blood in the joints is known as hemarthrosis.

There may also be bruising around the joint that may not occur immediately. Bruising may course towards the toes or the sole of the foot. In extreme cases, the bones around the ankle may also be deformed. Skin may stretch over underlying fractured bone or bone itself may be visible. Should bone be visible, immediately contact your foot and ankle doctor at Family Foot & Ankle Specialists at Wyandotte, MI or at Oak Park, MI.

Pain may become more severe if injury occurs to the blood vessels and nerves of the foot. If numbness sets in you may be unable to move your toes or feet.

When should you seek the care of a Podiatrist near you?

Here are some things to look for if you have sustained a fracture or injury to your ankle. This list will help you decide if it's time to visit a podiatrist in Wyandotte, MI.

  • You find it difficult to bear weight on your ankle.
  • You experience intolerable pain, even after using pain relievers.
  • Pain persists despite numerous home care treatments.

The Signs and symptoms outlined below require immediate medical attention:

  • Ankle bones are grossly deformed.
  • Bones are exposed to the outside of the skin.
  • Unbearable pain despite using pain relief medications.
  • Unable to move toes.
  • Unable to move ankles.
  • A numbing sensation in the ankles.
  • Cold or blue feet.

Medical treatment options for foot and ankle fractures

Treatment for foot and ankle fracture consists mainly of the use of a splint or cast. The type used and the duration of use is determined by the type of fracture, the stability of your joint, and your doctor.

  • If the bones are not well-aligned, a podiatrist near Oak Park may realign them before a splint or cast is placed.
  • If the bones cannot be realigned correctly, surgical correction may be required.
  • Surgical correction may also be required of the bones have pierced through the skin. A break of this nature is known as a compound fracture and is commonly more serious than a simple fracture where the bone breaks but stays inside where it belongs.
  • After the ankle is injured, and a doctor has been seen, do not attempt weight bearing activities (standing) until your podiatrist near Wyandotte and Oak Park has given approval for activity.
  • After swelling of the injury has reduced the podiatrist will fit a splint or cast on the ankle. You may be fitted with a walking cast, which allows for some mobility, or a traditional non-weight-bearing cast (no mobility for you). The type of cast used depends on the type of fracture and your doctors' judgment.
  • Your podiatrist may also prescribe medication for pain. Pain medication should only be used when needed for pain.

How to prevent foot and ankle fractures

Most fractures happen as slip and fall accidents. Take great care when carrying out your daily activities.

Also:

  • Wear correct shoes when participating in sporting events.
  • Clean spills in a timely manner.
  • Watch where you are going.
  • Put down the cellphone when walking.
  • Watch for obstacles in your path.
  • Use caution when walking in slippery places.
Got Foot and Ankle Fractures? Get Expert Care from Family Foot and Ankle Specialists in Wyandotte and Oak Park, MI.

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