Ankle Fracture (cont.)
What is the recovery time for a broken ankle?
Most simple fractures heal well with immobilization and non-weight-bearing activity. Complex fractures may have good to fair outcomes, depending on the severity of the fracture(s), the effect of rehabilitation on function and the development of arthritis.
- Patients can expect recovery from most ankle fractures, depending on how severe they are, to take 4-8 weeks for the bones to heal completely and up to several months to regain full use and range of motion of the joint.
- More severe fractures, especially those requiring surgical repair, will take longer to heal; some may need implanted supports (metal rod or plate and screws) that may be removed later or left in place.
- Fractures of any type increase the likelihood of developing arthritis in the affected joint. The more severe the fracture, the higher the risk of developing some degree of arthritis.
Can a broken ankle be prevented?
Preventing ankle fractures can be difficult.
- Many occur as "slip and fall" incidents. Being careful in activities is the best prevention.
- Proper footwear when participating in sports also may reduce ankle fracture risk.
- Splints, braces, or taping of a previously injured ankle may decrease the possibility of further injury or fracture.
- Maintenance of strength of the muscles that stabilize ankle is an important part of prevention of ankle injuries.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Ankle Fractures (Broken Ankle). Last Reviewed March 2013.
Broomhead A, Stuart P, Validation of the Ottawa Ankle Rules in Australia. Emerg Med;15(2):126-32, 2003
Iskyan, K., MD. "Ankle Fracture." Medscape. Updated Dec 08, 2014.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/10/2015
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