Different Types of Ankle Fractures and Treatment Options

Ankle Fractures

Consider the size of your feet in relation to the rest of your body, and you realize that your entire support and mobility rests on a pair of very small appendages. And making the connection are your ankles, which facilitate your every step, allowing you to walk, run, jump, and pivot. It’s no wonder that ankle fractures are fairly common, occurring just as frequently simply walking down the steps as they do during a heroic sports moment.

At Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers, our team of podiatrists is dedicated to helping our patients in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, stay on their feet. So when an ankle fracture strikes, we bring the latest treatments to bear to get you back up and moving again.

To familiarize yourself with the many different types of fractures, we’ve pulled together the following primer on both the problem and our treatment options.

Ankles 101

To better understand the many ways you can fracture your ankle, it’s helpful to take a quick look at the anatomy of this important joint. Your ankle is where three bones meet:

But this is simplifying matters because your ankles involve only certain sections of two of these bones, including your:

These distinctions are important because ankle fractures involve these areas of your bones.

A matter of location

Ankle fractures may involve just one bone, or several, and the most common ankle fractures are distinguished by the location of the break:

Lateral malleolus fractures

This is the most common ankle fracture, and it involves your fibula alone. This type of fracture is on the outside of your ankle, which is the area that’s under the most stress, whether you’re just walking or running and pivoting.

Medial malleolus fractures

This fracture occurs in your tibia on the inside of your foot, and it isn’t terribly common.

Bimalleolar ankle fractures

When both the inner and outer areas of your ankles are involved, with fractures in both your fibula and tibia, this is what we call a bimalleolar fracture, which is, understandably, more serious.

But more serious still is a trimalleolar ankle fracture, which affects the back and front of your tibia and your fibula.

There are even more types of ankle fractures, but these represent the most common kinds.

Fracture solutions

While the types of fractures we listed above are largely defined by location, which dictates our treatment options to some extent, the severity of your fracture has the final say.

Ankle damage can range from small, hairline fractures to more complex fractures that also involve your ligaments. What this means is that there’s no single treatment option to match each fracture, as each case has so many different variables.

After a thorough assessment of your fracture, which includes advanced imaging, we’re better able to come up with a plan that not only addresses your fracture, but your unique considerations. For example, if you’re on the younger side and your bones are healthy, your treatment plan is different than if you fall into an older group, and your ankles already have considerable wear and tear.

We do like to start out conservatively, giving your body space to heal itself. With a little support on our end through bracing, splinting, and other walking aids, we can sometimes help your ankle along, getting you back on your feet with a little rest and patience. If your ankle fracture is moderate to severe, however, you may benefit from surgical intervention, which we offer at our practice.

Rest assured that our goal is to help you find a solution for your ankle fracture that will have you up and moving as soon as possible. But ankle fractures require patience so that they heal properly, and this effort on your part will pay off down the road when you’re back to your favorite activities with an ankle that can hold up.

To learn more about our ankle fracture care, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Or you can use the online scheduling tool to make an appointment at one of our two offices.

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