Ankle Fracture Fixation
The ankle joint is composed of three bones: the tibia, fibula and talus, which articulate with each other. The ends of the fibula and tibia (lower leg bones) form the inner and outer malleolus, which are the bony protrusions of the ankle joint that you can feel and see on either side of the ankle. The joint is protected by a fibrous membrane called a joint capsule and filled with synovial fluid to enable smooth movement.
An ankle fracture is a painful condition, where there is a break in one or more bones forming the ankle joint. The ankle joint is stabilized by different ligaments and other soft tissues, which may also be injured during an ankle fracture.
Treatments for Ankle Fractures
The treatment of ankle fracture depends upon the type and stability of the fractured bone. Treatment starts with non-surgical methods, and in cases where the fracture is unstable and cannot be realigned, surgical methods are employed.
In non-surgical treatment, the ankle bone is realigned and special splints or a plaster cast is placed around the joint for at least 2-3 weeks.
With surgical treatment, the fractured bone is accessed by making an incision over the ankle area, and then specially designed plates are screwed onto the bone to realign and stabilize the fractured parts. The incision is then sutured closed, and the operated ankle is immobilized with a splint or cast.
Postoperative Care for Ankle Fracture Fixation
After ankle surgery, you will be instructed to avoid putting weight on the ankle by using crutches while walking for at least six weeks.
Physical therapy of the ankle joint will be recommended by your doctor. After 2-3 months of therapy, you may be able to perform your normal daily activities.
Risks and Complications for Ankle Fracture Fixation
Risks and complications that can occur with ankle fractures include improper casting or alignment of the bones, which can cause deformities and eventually arthritis. In some cases, pressure exerted on the nerves can cause nerve damage, resulting in severe pain. Rarely, surgery may result in incomplete healing of the fracture, which requires another surgery to repair.