How to: Treating a Broken / Fractured Ankle
If you stumble and fall, and feel an unusual pain in your lower extremities, you might have a broken ankle or caused injury to the soft tissues surrounding the ankle. Signs & Symptoms may include Pain, swelling, bruising, and sometimes, deformity caused by misalignment of the bones. It may also be painful to put weight on your foot.
A broken ankle is one of the most common injuries an individual of any age can sustain. It’s usually caused by falling, twisting your ankle, an accident or a sporting injury. The severity of the injury ranges from a simple to a complex fracture, which may cause pain for several months. But don’t panic; there are recognised ways to treat a broken ankle injury.
If you think you might have a broken ankle, go immediately to the hospital and get examined by a doctor. This way, you will know the proper treatment for your injury. Before you get to the hospital however, you can try the following first aid treatments for a broken ankle.
• Avoid putting your weight on the ankle. This might cause more damage to an existing injury.
• Keep the injured ankle elevated. Rest it on a chair. Raising it can help decrease the pain you are experiencing.
• Cold ice packs. May help reduce the swelling of your ankle. Remember not to put the ice directly on the swollen part or skin. (Apply No longer than 10 Minutes)
• Pain relievers. Paracetamol or Ibuprofen* can help reduce the pain and inflammation* of the suspected broken ankle.
Once examined, a doctor can determine whether you need to undergo surgery or not. A splint may be fitted to keep your ankle in the correct position. Depending on the type of your injury, the splint might be in place for a couple of days, or for a few weeks. If the ankle is misaligned, the doctor may manipulate it (to avoid problems with the nerves and the blood supply in your feet) before applying the splint. For days or weeks afterwards, you may need to use crutches to avoid putting too much weight on your healing ankle.
In serious cases where the ankles cannot be realigned, the patient then needs to be operated on. Surgery is needed to fix misaligned or broken bones. Materials such as screws, plates and wires are used to put your bones into their original position. After the surgery, a cast will be used to protect your recovering ankle.
Whether you have surgery or not, you need to undergo regular check-ups to ensure that your ankle is healing correctly. Recovery from a broken ankle may take months depending on the severity of your injury. It will not be as easy to move your ankle and regain its strength in the early days. However, there are recommended exercises to speed up your recovery process.
Prevention, of course, is always better than cure. It is important to wear the proper footwear that suits your activities on any given day. But remember, being careful in whatever you are doing is the best preventative method you can use to avoid having a broken ankle.