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Treating Ankle Fractures

Casting the fracture

To make sure the bone is lined up the right way, an X-ray is taken. Then the ankle is put in a cast to hold the bone in place during healing. You’ll likely have to wear the cast for several weeks. For less severe fractures, a walking boot, brace, or splint may be all that’s needed to hold the bone in place during healing.

Healthcare provider examining cast on woman's leg.

The road to healing

Once your fracture has been treated, your healthcare provider will tell you how to help it heal. You may be told to limit ankle use or weight-bearing activities. You may have to take medicines and elevate the foot. If you have a cast, remember to keep it dry.

Closed reduction

If you have a clean break with little soft tissue damage, closed reduction  may be used. Before the procedure, you may be given medicine to relax your muscles. Then your healthcare provider manually readjusts the position of the broken bone.

Open reduction

An open fracture means the bone is sticking out through the skin. For this type of fracture you may need an open reduction . You may also need this treatment if there are badly misaligned parts of bone or severe tissue injury. You may be given medicine during the procedure to let you sleep and relax your muscles. Your surgeon makes one or more cuts (incisions) to realign the bone and fix soft tissue. Screws or plates may be used to hold the bone in place during healing.

Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Thomas N Joseph MD
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2021
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