What to do when you fracture your ankle​

Ankle fracture is a common type of fracture. It happens when at least one of the bones that make up the ankle joint breaks. An ankle fracture can range from a simple break in one bone, which may not stop you from walking, to multiple fractures that can make your ankle appear deformed or out of place.

A fractured ankle can result from twisting your ankle or can occur after a fall or a car accident. An ankle fracture can also be sustained while practicing sports, most commonly soccer, basketball and running.

Cigarette smoking and a high body mass index (BMI) have been associated with ankle fractures.

What are the symptoms of a fractured ankle?​

The following might indicate an ankle fracture:

  1. Ankle pain and swelling
  2. Inability to walk
  3. A ‘crack’ sound
  4. Change in ankle shape
  5. Bone poking out of the skin

What should I do if I suspect I have fractured my ankle?

You should get a doctor to evaluate your injury as soon as possible. In the meantime, avoid putting any weight on the affected leg and practice the RICE method:

  • Rest to prevent further damage.
  • Ice will help to reduce the pain and swelling. Fill a plastic bag with ice cubes and water, wrap it in a towel and apply it on your ankle for 20 minutes. You can also use a bag of frozen peas, also wrapped in a towel​. Repeat the application every 2 hours if required.
  • Compression will minimise swelling and help to immobilise the ankle. Firmly wrap the ankle with an elastic bandage. If your toes turn blue, get cold or lose sensation, the bandage is wrapped too tightly.
  • Elevating the injured ankle to at least the level of the heart will reduce swelling and pain.
Read on to find out how ankle fractures can be treated.

Ref: R14​​