Merck Manual

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Quick Facts

Broken Ankle

(Ankle Fracture)

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Apr 2019
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What is a broken ankle?

Your ankle joint is where the 2 long bones in your lower leg meet the small bones at the top of your foot. A break in any of these bones can be considered a broken ankle. But doctors usually say "broken ankle" when you've broken one of the long bones. All broken bones are considered fractures. For more information, see Overview of Broken Bones.

  • Ankle fractures are common

  • Your ankle will be painful and swollen

  • You'll need a splint, cast, or sometimes surgery depending on how bad the fracture is

What are the symptoms of a broken ankle?

Symptoms include:

  • Pain and swelling in your ankle

  • An inability to put weight on your foot

How can doctors tell if my ankle is broken?

Doctors do:

How do doctors treat a broken ankle?

Doctors will:

  • Push your bones back into place if they're not lined up properly

  • Have you wear a splint or a cast for about 6 weeks, until your bones heal

  • If needed, do surgery to put the bones back into place and hold them there with metal pins, rods, screws, or plates

You may need physical therapy after the splint or cast comes off.

If the bones stay in place, the ankle usually heals well. If the bones come out of position, you may get arthritis and have a higher chance of getting another ankle fracture.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version

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