Ankle Fracture

Ankle fractures can be caused by a simple trip and fall or by a more traumatic injury such as a motorbike injury. It can be an isolated injury or part of a multi-trauma situation. There may be an isolated fibular fracture near the tip, or a combination of bony and soft tissue injuries. The higher the level of force through the ankle at the time of the injury, the higher the likelihood of having a more significant injury.

  • Video:

    This surgical procedure is used to correct a fracture of the fibula or tibia in the ankle joint. The procedure involves attachment of a fixation plate made of stainless steel or titanium to the fibula and use of screws or fixation plate on the tibia to stabilize the bones and allow healing.

  • Symptoms:
    • Pain, swelling, bruising, all of which may be severe
    • Inability to weight bear
  • Imaging:

    X-rays are required.
    Sometimes CT scans or MRI scans may be needed.
    If the injury is deemed stable, a trial of non-operative management may be indicated.

  • Non Operative Measures:
    • Pain medications eg NSAIDS such as Mobic (these can be taken for the first 72 hours) or
    • Panadol Osteo. Stronger pain relief may be prescribed before you leave hospital.
    • Initially a plaster or CAM boot may be applied. If it is a plaster, this will be changed to a boot
      10-14 days after the injury.
    • You may need to be Non weight bearing for the full 6 weeks, or may be permitted to commence
      partial weight bearing in the boot, with gentle ankle exercises. This will be discussed with you at
      the time of your consultation.
    • Usually 6-8 weeks after the injury your fracture will be expected to be healed. You will
      commence exercises to improve your fitness and strength via non axial loading exercises e.g. cycling, swimming initially then progress to weight bearing or axial loading exercises e.g. jogging
  • Surgery

    If there is evidence of instability, surgery is usually recommended. This will restore the normal anatomy aiming to give you the best functional outcome after the injury has healed. Fortunately most people have an excellent result and resume most pre-injury activities once the injury has healed.

    Depending on the extent of injury, surgical options may include – arthroscopic procedures of the ankle

    • Bone fixation with plates and/or screws
    • Soft tissue/ligament repair with an anchor
    • Repair of a syndesmosis injury with a screw or suture button

Post Operative Guide

General info: